Overview of the Existing Substances Program

5. Stakeholder involvement and public participation

The federal government recognizes that consulting with all types of stakeholders and cooperating with other jurisdictions are essential processes. Canada is committed to a clear, open and accountable assessment process.

5.1 Role of stakeholders

The Existing Substances Program further recognizes that efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of program activities is in large part due to involvement of stakeholders at key milestones in the assessment process, especially during (i) assessment framework development, (ii) prioritization, (iii) scoping/problem formulation/issue identification, (iv) expert peer review, and (v) the public comment period. Stakeholders include representatives of industries and industry associations, non-governmental organizations, environmental and health groups, and labour and consumer organizations.

The Existing Substances Program has identified roles and in some cases responsibilities for stakeholders. Some examples include:

  • Sharing of data, information and expertise that is critical to ensuring that correct decisions are made;
  • Reviewing the way in which information was used in making those decisions;
  • Promoting effective communication between the different stakeholder communities;
  • Facilitating coordination between the Government and specific industrial sectors during planning and assessment phases;
  • Participating in discussions concerning modifications to the framework of the program or to development of new approaches to apply within the program;
  • Bringing forward issues or identifying substances for consideration by the Government;
  • Supporting general proactive good stewardship practices in the handling and management of chemicals.

When an assessment report has been drafted, and prior to its approval by senior managers, it is sent for science review to a variety of Canadian and international experts, selected from academia, government, industry and/or environmental groups. A revised report is subsequently prepared, taking into account the comments of these expert reviewers.

Final copies of the assessment reports, as well as other communication material, are made readily available to interested stakeholders.

5.2 Communicating Results of Assessments

Risk assessment reports are subject to a 60-day public comment period following publication of a notice in the Canada Gazette, Part I, in which the public is invited to comment on the scientific findings and the proposed measures in the draft assessment reports.

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