The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA)

In 1999, Canada enacted the Environmental Protection Act, which aims to prevent pollution and protect the environment and human health. It is the legal basis for a number of federal programmes on environmental and health protection.

These include the following measures:

  • Assessment and management of risks posed by chemicals, polymers and living organisms,
  • Programmes relating to air and water pollution, hazardous waste, air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions,
  • Marine Waste Management and
  • Environmental emergencies.

There are two lists of substances classified as hazardous:

Examples of listed substances: chromium, cadmium, aluminium, formaldehydes,...

In 2015 the Environmental Protection Act has been extended by a paragraph on nanomaterials. Since then, 206 substances with a particle size between 1 and 100 nanometers have to be reported to the Canadian authorities.

The Chemicals Management Plan (CMP), an initiative of the Canadian government, was created to evaluate the chemicals. Since May 2016, experts have been working on the remaining 1550 of the original 4300 chemicals that were identified as priority chemicals for categorization. This assessment was supposed to be completed by 2020.

In fact, the impact of the Act should be reviewed every 5 years. However, the only review to date took place in 2017 and the results were published under the title "Healthy Environment, Healthy Canadians, Healthy Economy: Strengthening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act".


Further information and sources:


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