Canadian Water and Wastewater Association eBulletin

Bill C-28 Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act

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This Bill will revise and update the exiting Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). This is an important initiative for our members as many of the provisions of CEPA impact the water and wastewater sector, either indirectly through the protection of the environment and pollution prevention provisions.

The Act seeks to strengthen environmental protection in Canada by:

  • Recognizing a right to a healthy environment for every individual in Canada
  • Assessing real life exposure based on the cumulative effects of a substance in combination with exposure to other substances, and better-protecting populations most at risk due to greater susceptibility or potential exposure to harmful substances.
  • Implementing a new regime for toxic substances that pose the highest risk. 
    The new regime will prioritize the prohibition of uses and releases of substances toxic under CEPA that meet criteria set out in regulations to be considered of the highest risk.
  • Supporting the shift to less harmful chemicals through the establishment of a Watch List of substances capable of meeting the criteria in CEPA to be considered at risk if, for example, there should be an increase in exposure. The amendments would require the Ministers to publish and maintain a list of substances that are capable of becoming toxic.
  • Creating a new Plan of Chemicals Management Priorities. The Bill provides for public input on the development of a Plan of Chemicals Management Priorities, which will set out an integrated plan for the assessment and management of substances as well as supporting activities such as research, monitoring, information-gathering and risk communication.
  • Amending the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) to provide the ability to develop a regulatory framework under the FDA to assess and manage the environmental risks of new drugs. This would remove the requirement to notify and assess new drugs under both the FDA and CEPA, providing a more efficient and effective approach to managing the risks of drugs in Canada.  

In addition to these amendments to CEPA, the Government will take action to improve information for supply chain managers and to enhance mandatory labelling for certain consumer products, giving Canadians greater access to information about the substances to which they are exposed.

CWWA will be working with our technical committees to review these changes more in depth and provide comments on the legislation during the consultation phase.

 Access the backgrounder on the proposed amendments: