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Submission of Significant New Activity Notifications for Substances Listed on the Domestic Substances List in the Context of the Chemicals Management Plan
In the coming years, as part of the Chemicals Management Plan, the Domestic Substances List (DSL) may be amended from time to time to indicate that the new activity provisions of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 apply to some existing substances. This Fact Sheet outlines possible new responsibilities of persons or companies with respect to these substances.
What is a Significant New Activity (SNAc)?
As set out in section 80 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (the Act), a Significant New Activity includes, in respect of a substance, any activity that results in or may result in:
- The entry or release of the substance into the environment in a quantity or concentration that, in the Minister of the Environment’s or in the Minister of Health’s opinion, is significantly greater than the quantity or concentration of the substance that previously entered or was released into the environment ; or
- The entry or release of the substance into the environment or the exposure or potential exposure of the environment to the substance in a manner and circumstances that, in the Ministers’ opinion, are significantly different from the manner and circumstances in which the substance previously entered or was released into the environment or potential exposure of the environment to the substance.
If the Minister of the Environment or the Minister of Health is concerned that a Significant New Activity in relation to a substance on the DSL may result in the substance becoming toxic as set out in the Act, the Minister of the Environment may impose notification requirements of the Significant New Activity. Under subsection 87(3) of the Act, this is done through an order amending the DSL, indicating that subsection 81(3) of the Act applies to the substance in certain circumstances.
What is required for the submission of a Significant New Activity notification?
Where a substance is listed on the DSL with an indication that the Significant New Activity provisions of the Act apply, any person planning to manufacture, import or use the substance for a Significant New Activity indicated in the SNAc order must:
- provide the Minister of the Environment (through the New Substances Program) with the prescribed information on or before the date specified; and
- wait until the period for assessing the information has expired before starting to manufacture, import or use the substance for a Significant New Activity.
The order amending the DSL that is published in Canada Gazette, Part II:
- defines (either through inclusion or exclusion) what a Significant New Activity would be for that particular substance;
- specifies the information to be provided by the notifier in the Significant New Activity notification;
- specifies when it is to be provided before the new activity is undertaken; and
- states the period within which the Government will conduct the assessment.
There is currently no regulatory fee associated with a Significant New Activity notification.
Can the requirement to provide some information be waived?
The Minister of the Environment may waive any of the requirements to provide information, on the request of any person to whom subsection 81(3) of the Act applies, if:
- in the opinion of the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health, the information is not needed in order to determine whether the substance is toxic or capable of becoming toxic;
- the substance is to be used for a prescribed purpose or manufactured at a location where, in the opinion of the Ministers, the person requesting the waiver is able to contain the substance so as to satisfactorily protect the environment and human health; or
- it is not, in the opinion of the Ministers, practicable or feasible to obtain the test data necessary to generate the information.
Waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis. Following acceptance of a waiver request, the Minister will publish in the Canada Gazette, Part I, a notice stating the name of any person to whom a waiver is granted and the type of information to which it relates.
How does the Government inform stakeholders that Significant New Activity provisions of the Act apply to a substance on the DSL?
Notices of intent are published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, to inform stakeholders of the Minister’s intent to apply the Significant New Activity provisions of the Act (subsection 81(3)) to substances listed on the DSL. There is a 60-day public comment period following the publication of these notices.
In addition, information on all proposals and decisions with respect to substances in the context of the Chemicals Management Plan is provided on the Chemical Substances Website. Web links to all modifications to the DSL are also posted on the New Substances Website. These web links points to the CEPAEnvironmental Registry Website, whose main goal is to make it easier to access current information related to the Act.
After considering the comments received, the Minister of the Environment may make a final order amending the DSL in the Canada Gazette, Part II, to indicate that the Significant New Activity provisions of the Act apply to the substance. On the DSL, these substances are marked by the indicator " S' " (S prime) after the substance identifier.
The New Substances web site search engine for Chemicals and Polymers indicates, for each substance on the DSL, whether Significant New Activity provisions of the Act apply, and if applicable, provides a hyperlink to the Significant New Activity order published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The Substances List Search engine for Chemicals and Polymers is available on the New Substances website.
What happens after a Significant New Activity Notification has been provided?
The Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health assess the information notified, as required by sections 83 of the Act, to determine whether the proposed Significant New Activity may result in the substance being toxic or capable of becoming toxic as set out in section 64 of the Act. The Ministers make a decision on the proposed Significant New Activity on or before the expiry of the assessment period specified in the order. Where the Ministers believe that further time is necessary to assess any information, they may, before the expiry of the assessment period, extend the assessment period. By law, the duration of the extension may not exceed the number of days of the initial assessment period.
The outcome of an assessment of a Significant New Activity notification can either be that the substance is 1) suspected of being toxic or capable of becoming toxic for the proposed activities or 2) not suspected of being toxic or capable of becoming toxic for the proposed activities.
Where the Ministers suspect that a substance is toxic or capable of becoming toxic for the proposed Significant New Activity, the Ministers may, as outlined in sections 84 of the Act:.
- permit any person to manufacture or import the substance in relation to the Significant New Activity, subject to any conditions that the Ministers may specify;
- prohibit any person from importing or manufacturing the substance in relation to the Significant New Activity; or
- request any person to provide any additional information or submit the results of any testing that the Ministers consider necessary for assessing whether the substance is toxic or capable of becoming toxic, as a result of the Significant New Activity.
Toxic substances can also be added to the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 as set out in section 90 of the Act.
If the substance is not suspected of being toxic or capable of becoming toxic for the proposed Significant New Activity, the Significant New Activity could be undertaken with no restriction.
Following the assessment of a Significant New Activity notification or at any other time, the Minister of the Environment may vary the Significant New Activity or indicate that subsection 81(3) no longer applies to the substance by publishing an order amending the DSL in the Canada Gazette, Part II.
Who can help me with the submission of a Significant New Activity notification?
The New Substances Program can provide you with information on significant new activities. The New Substances Program is also responsible for the assessment of information provided in Significant New Activity notifications.
New Substances Notification Information Line
Fontaine Building, 8th Floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3
Telephone: 1-800-567-1999 (toll-free in Canada); 1-819-953-7156 (outside Canada)
New Substances Website
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