Under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP), ECCC and HC assess, manage and aim to reduce risks posed by chemical substances. The CMP was launched in 2006, and most recently renewed in Budget 2021 ($476.7 million over three years). The Green Budget Coalition recommends that funding for CMP be renewed on a permanent basis at the earliest opportunity.
With renewal, additional resources will be needed to implement recent amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Bill S-590 became law in June 2023, updating the legislative framework for chemicals management for the first time in more than two decades. Among other changes, the amendments recognize the right to a healthy environment and require chemical assessments to consider cumulative effects and effects on vulnerable populations. The Green Budget Coalition recommends that CMP renewal invest in building science and capacity for these important new approaches, including:
- Identifying and prioritizing prohibition of carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxicants and other chemicals of highest risk;
- Cumulative effects and class assessment;
- New mechanisms to monitor and manage exposure to toxic chemicals in consumer products;
- A full review of measures required to protect Indigenous peoples’ rights and nature from the risks of genetic engineering of animals;
- Addressing data gaps to identify and protect populations that are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of pollution;
- Requests for information regarding releases, specifically hydraulic fracturing and tailings ponds; and
- Developing and applying the required framework to implement the right to a healthy environment in the administration of CEPA, including action on air pollution.
The Green Budget Coalition also recommends moving the CMP budget to A-base to build and maintain scientific capacity for this important, legally mandated work. While the program was focused on assessing an initial batch of 4,300 “high priority” substances, Health Canada and ECCC must retain capacity to assess new substances and update assessments in light of new science and approaches, and to develop and implement control measures for the increasing number of substances assessed as toxic under CEPA. The ongoing task of chemicals management requires permanent capacity.
$200 million in 2024-25, then $300 million per year, ongoing, starting in 2025-26 to renew the Chemicals Management Plan and implement new legislative requirements. [ECCC, HC]