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Canada consults on informed substitution study

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The Canadian government is seeking input on informed substitution within its chemicals programme, as part of its ongoing effort to determine the future of chemicals management in the country.

Informed substitution – or "the considered transition from a chemical of concern to safer chemicals or non-chemical alternatives" – is among the policy options Canada is considering incorporating in its next phase of chemicals management, once work planned under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) ends in March 2021.

The government commissioned the US-based Lowell Center for Sustainable Production to examine how Canada can advance alternatives assessments in its future approaches. And it has now opened a consultation to solicit feedback on the proposed activities outlined in the resulting study, released last year.

Among the recommendations made in the Lowell study is "establishing a solutions-oriented, interdepartmental umbrella policy/programme that links traditional regulatory approaches with non-regulatory incentives and supportive actions that drive innovation in, and adoption of, safer chemistry".

A post-2020 plan would not just seek to address ‘bad actors’, but would also encourage the "development, adoption, and use of chemicals and chemical products that are safer and more sustainable, promoting the goals of green chemistry," it adds.

As part of the consultation, the government has posed several questions it is seeking to be addressed. These are:

  • who should be involved in informed substitution considerations, and what role does each play?;
  • are there elements missing from the study?; and
  • what are the potential costs, benefits and impacts of informed substitution?.

Comments will be accepted through 18 March.

A consultation on defining vulnerable populations is ongoing. Comments are due by 21 January.

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