Bringing the Canadian Environmental Protection Act into the 21st century and creating a just, healthy environment for all Canadians in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: a discussion on the webinar series offered by the Canadian Env'l Law Assoc.

Bringing the Canadian Environmental Protection Act into the 21st century and creating a just, healthy environment for all Canadians in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: a discussion on the webinar series offered by the Canadian Environmental Law Association in 2020-2021

By Angela Dittrich[1] and David McRobert[2]


Summary

 

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) serves as a foundational piece of federal legislation for pollution prevention, toxic substance management, and the protection of both human health and the environment.[3]

 

While CEPA provides for a review of the Act every five years, the governing Canadian Conservative Party decided not to undertake reviews of the law in 2010 or 2015.[4] Consequently CEPA has not been significantly amended since 1999, despite growing scientific evidence that amendments to this foundational law are long overdue, posing a generational challenge for Canadians who are burdened with the health and environmental impacts of a lagging regulatory framework and a lack of federal leadership on toxic chemicals.

 

In March 2016, the new federal Liberal government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development with undertaking a 15-month comprehensive review of CEPA. In June 2017, the Standing Committee submitted its

final report to the House of Commons, which included 87 recommendations such as: recognizing a right to a healthy environment, enhancing considerations of vulnerable populations, addressing cumulative impacts of substances, banning carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), strengthening transparency and public participation, improving the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), establishing a more transparent assessment process for new living modified organisms, adopting a reverse-burden approach for substances of very high concern, adding definitions including of “vulnerable populations” and “weight of evidence” in scientific assessments, and requiring investigations into effects on vulnerable populations as well as cumulative and synergistic effects.[5] In June 2018, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change published a complete response, with the federal government committing to “work towards legislative amendments as soon as possible in future Parliamentary sessions.”[6] Mandate letters from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to both the Minister of Health and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in December 2019 included the expectation “to better protect people and the environment from toxins and other pollution, including by strengthening the Canadian Environmental Act, 1999.”[7],[8]

 

The Trudeau government’s December 2019 commitment to modernize CEPA, reaffirmed in its September 2020 Speech from the Throne,[9] and the Prime Minister’s revised mandate letter issued in January 2021 raises numerous questions. What amendments must be made to CEPA to align this legislation with 21st century knowledge about toxic chemicals and priorities and the special health problems faced by Indigenous communities in Canada? How can CEPA protect the health of vulnerable populations and ensure environmental justice for all Canadians? These topics were explored in the Canadian Environmental Law Association’s four-part webinar series, entitled “Changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to Protect Vulnerable Populations from Hazardous Chemicals”[10] held in late 2020 and early 2021. In this blog, we review the discussions and key points raised in each of these webinars in the text below and offer some concluding observations.[11]

 

The speakers at this webinar series made many recommendations that we believe should be considered when amending CEPA in the (hopefully) near future. We commend Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and the various presenters for the work they undertook on this series, as well as CELA’s longstanding history of advocating for generational and fundamental changes to CEPA.[12]

 

Presentations made as part of the CELA series make clear that vulnerable populations of Canadians are not adequately protected by CEPA. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted these gaps, and in some cases, increased risks of occupational exposures, as discussed in the case of nail salon workers through the increased and frequent use of potentially toxic disinfectants, such as quaternary ammonium compounds. However, workers are only one of the vulnerable groups disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. Recent studies have linked PFAS exposure to reduced vaccine response,[13] and PBFA (a PFAS that replaced CFCs) is being linked to more severe COVID infection outcomes.[14]

 

Proactive approaches such as prioritizing need and safety should be used whenever possible rather than the current retroactive, exposure-based approaches, and the burden of proof must be shifted from individuals to industry. The scientific evidence on the health impacts of many chemicals and other regulated substances, including chronic diseases and impacted child development, is growing and cannot be ignored.

 

The authors conclude that the federal government must be held accountable to its 2019 commitment to reform CEPA. For example, CEPA amendments should consider a classes approach to substances to prevent regrettable substitutes and ensure that only the least-toxic options are on the market. The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the need for change. It is time that CEPA is brought into the 21st century to create a just, healthy environment for all Canadians.

 

 

History of CEPA

 

The federal government enacted CEPA in 1988 and the law was substantially implemented by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada beginning in the early 1990s. In 1994, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development (SCESD) of the House of Commons undertook a comprehensive review of CEPA. The SCESD’s goals in reviewing CEPA included incorporating best management practices and sustainability concepts developed for and presented at the 1992 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (“The UN Rio Conference”). Following a comprehensive SCESD report issued in late 1995, the federal government began to study how to implement the SCESD’s report. In 1999, the federal government enacted significant CEPA amendments.[15]

 

The SCESD of the House of Commons undertook its next review of CEPA in 2006 and presented its report in May 2007. The report outlined 31 recommendations such as: improving reporting, researching the impacts of substances on vulnerable populations, increasing precautionary measures, revising the preamble to include the need to protect vulnerable populations, and improving public involvement.[16] In addition, the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources undertook its own report in late 2007. The Senate Committee submitted its report in March 2008, outlining 24 recommendations such as: striving for virtual elimination of mercury exposures, improving transparency and reporting processes, requiring assessments on the cumulative impact of substances, and reviewing all CEPA regulations every five years to ensure continuous improvement.[17] No amendments were proposed or made to CEPA by the governing Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper following these 2007 and 2008 reports.[18] As noted previously, the governing Canadian Conservative Party also decided not to undertake parliamentary committee reviews of the law in 2010 or 2015.[19]

 

In March 2016, the new federal Liberal government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fulfilled an election commitment by delegating to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development the task of undertaking a 15-month comprehensive review of CEPA. In June 2017, the Standing Committee submitted its final report to the House of Commons; the report included 87 recommendations such as: recognizing a right to a healthy environment, enhancing considerations of vulnerable populations, addressing cumulative impacts of substances, banning carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), strengthening transparency and public participation, improving the National Pollutant Release Inventory, establishing a more transparent assessment process for new living modified organisms, adopting a reverse-burden approach for substances of very high concern, adding a definition of “vulnerable populations”, and requiring investigations into effects on vulnerable populations as well as cumulative or synergistic effects.[20] A complete response was published in June 2018, with the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change committing to “work towards legislative amendments as soon as possible in future Parliamentary sessions.”[21] Mandate letters from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to both the Minister of Health and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in December 2019 included the expectation “to better protect people and the environment from toxins and other pollution, including by strengthening the Canadian Environmental Act, 1999.”[22],[23]

 

The Trudeau government’s December 2019 commitment to modernize CEPA, reaffirmed in its September 2020 Speech from the Throne,[24] raises numerous questions. What amendments must be made to CEPA to align this legislation with 21st century knowledge about toxic chemicals and priorities and the special health problems faced by indigenous communities in Canada? How can CEPA protect the health of vulnerable populations and ensure environmental justice for all Canadians? As noted above, the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA)’s four-part webinar series explored these topics in 2020-2021.[25] In this blog, we review the discussions and key points raised in each of these webinars in the text below and offer some concluding observations.


Webinar 1: “Timely and Needed Change: Justifying and Adopting Environmental Rights in Canadian Environmental Law” - Speakers: Ryan Chawner (CELA), Elaine MacDonald (EcoJustice) and Lisa Gue (David Suzuki Foundation)

 

Discussions about environmental rights (ERs) have been underway in the United States, Canada and elsewhere for more than 50 years and first emerged in the wake of key cases in the United States and the passage of environmental rights legislation by the state of Michigan in 1970.[26] The first webinar in the CELA series offered three perspectives on why the federal government should incorporate ERs into the fabric of CEPA.

 

The right to a healthy environment is legally recognized, to one degree or another, in 156 countries, but Canada currently does not recognize this right in any federal legislation.[27] As explained by Elaine MacDonald, “although CEPA is designed to protect the environment and human health, the Act does not currently recognize the interplay between a healthy environment and the fulfilment of human rights.”[28] In 2019, United Nations Special Rapporteur and Canadian environmental lawyer David Boyd presented a report highlighting best practices for implementing the right to a healthy environment, which are categorized by legal recognition, procedural rights, and substantive rights. In terms of legal recognition, this right is typically recognized within national constitutions, environmental legislation, or a bill of rights. The procedural elements of this right include public participation, access to information, as well as access to justice. Substantive elements include healthy and sustainably produced food, access to safe water and sanitation, non-toxic environments, clean air, healthy ecosystems, and a safe climate.[29]

 

At the international level, ER supporters argue that the recognition of environmental rights has led to stronger laws and policies, as well as better environmental outcomes (e.g. cleaner air and water, reduced toxic exposures, better environmental governance). As Ryan Chawner of CELA explained, Quebec, Ontario, and the Yukon Territories currently recognize the right to a healthy environment to a certain degree through Quebec’s Environmental Quality Act,[30] Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993,[31] and Yukon’s Environment Act,[32] respectively. National recognition would ensure a Canadian’s right to a healthy environment is not dependent upon the province or territory in which they reside. While the practical versus symbolic elements of recognizing this right have been debated, international examples have shown this legal recognition, when implemented using best practices, provides many important benefits. The primary difference is that recognition would address the environmental rights gap currently present in CEPA, as there is no requirement to systematically assess or prevent adverse impacts to human rights. A right to a healthy environment can aid Canada in better fulfilling its international human rights and environmental obligations, while also providing tools for Canadians to seek environmental justice. Many environmental impacts, such as pollution and environmental contamination, disproportionally impact vulnerable, racialized, and marginalized communities. For example, more than one million Canadians in lower socioeconomic categories live within one kilometre of a pollution-emitting facility. In contrast, only 350,000 Canadians in the highest socioeconomic and income categories live within one kilometre of a pollution-emitting facility. This proximity-based exposure has been linked to higher rates of cancer and hospitalizations in vulnerable, racialized, and marginalized communities due, in part, to respiratory or circulatory diseases.[33]

 

ER advocates argue that ERs also would support necessary changes at structural levels to promote the goals of the circular economy and reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint. For example, the federal government’s recent discussion paper on plastics management mentions the need for waste reduction and the transition to a more circular low-carbon economy.[34] Environmental and civil society organizations argue that the right to a healthy environment would aid in this transition and strengthen this waste reduction strategy. In addition, ERs could also have significant economic impacts. Pollution costs the Canadian economy tens of billions of dollars each year,[35] with pollution-related healthcare costs being valued at $114 billion per year.[36]

 

How could the right to a healthy environment be recognized in CEPA? As explained by Lisa Gue, the precautionary principle provides a useful parallel. The federal government incorporated precautionary concepts and requirements into the 1999 CEPA amendments with references t9o precaution in the Act’s updated preamble, duties of the Ministers and delegated staff, and new and amended provisions in Part 5 of CEPA.[37] Environmental organizations, many government officials and other experts generally agree that this multifaceted approach has been influential in managing toxic substances in Canada since the early 2000s. The mirrored amendments to these various CEPA provisions signalled a clear commitment to precaution and enabled government officials, experts and lawyers to argue that the provisions should operate together and underlie CEPA’s implementation framework. This approach can be applied to the right to a healthy environment in several ways: a clear, general statement added to the preamble and the Ministerial duties; a requirement parallel to the precautionary principle included in Part 5 to identify human rights impacts from substances; vulnerable populations explicitly addressed through provisions; and implementation guidelines not only developed, but frequently updated to ensure best practices.

 

In summary, advocates such as Ryan Chawner of CELA argue that “the right to a healthy environment will lead to better decisions about environmental matters that affect the daily lives of Canadians.”[38] However, many questions remain. While the right to a healthy environment would help protect vulnerable populations, as highlighted throughout this webinar series, vulnerable populations will still face a myriad of disproportionate impacts related to environmental toxins and exposures that must also be addressed. In the absence of sufficient funding and support, we would argue that it will be extremely difficult for economically disadvantaged, vulnerable populations such as Indigenous communities to ensure they are better protected from facilities discharging toxic pollutants in their communities.

 


Webinar 2: “Are Vulnerable Populations Protected from Hazardous Chemicals in Canada? Why a New Approach is Needed” – Speakers: Anne Rochon Ford (Nail Salon Workers Project) and Beverley Thorpe (Consultant to Clean Production Action)

 

Vulnerable populations face disproportionate environmental and health risks, particularly through occupational exposure to hazardous substances. Health Canada has defined ‘vulnerable populations’ as “a group of individuals within the general Canadian population who, due to either greater susceptibility and/or greater exposure, may be at greater risk than the general population of experiencing adverse health effects from exposure to chemicals.”[39] CELA has defined ‘vulnerable populations’ in a more comprehensive manner, with one identified group being “workers that work with a toxic substance.”[40] In 2006, the federal government launched its Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) initiative, which aims to “reduce the risks posed by chemicals to Canadians and their environment” through categorizing 4,300 prioritized chemicals by 2020, and is the primary regulator for toxics exposures.[41] The CMP has only recently begun to consider vulnerable populations, but still does not consider occupational exposures in assessments.

 

Nail salon workers in the Greater Toronto Area are one of many examples of vulnerable workers. The majority of nail salon workers are women, racialized, new immigrants, or foreign students, and often face language barriers, employment standards violations, are trained on the job, and are not protected by city-based inspections. Nail salon workers are not unionized and have very little legal protection as many are not covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Nail salons use many products that are known carcinogens, reproductive toxins, or endocrine disruptors, and focus groups have revealed a wide range of health impacts faced by salon workers, including skin rashes, allergies, respiratory or gastrointestinal irritation, reproductive concerns, eye and throat irritation, and musculoskeletal concerns.[42] There are several regulatory and legislative gaps that further threaten the health of nail salon workers. For example, the federal government does not require product labels on products for professional use, limiting the information available to workers about exposures. Furthermore, because the CMP only assesses substances in isolation, the potential combined impacts faced by health care workers exposed to multiple chemicals a day are not understood or considered when classifying and restricting substances. Finally, it is very difficult for nail salon owners to address concerns as all three orders of government oversees various aspects of the nail salon industry.

 

Input from organizations and workers is vital to ensuring CEPA amendments are appropriately addressing the needs of vulnerable groups. Amendments also need to consider occupational exposures in assessments, prioritize the protection of vulnerable populations, and implement the safe substitution principle. The substitution principle prioritizes substance substitution, rather than the current exposure control approach of CEPA, as the primary response to hazardous chemicals. Whereas the precautionary principle determines when to take action, the substitution principle is one such pathway for taking action. Thus, the substitution principle can operationalize the precautionary principle, and can create strengthened, proactive policies when applied in combination.[43] When implementing the substitution principle, the substituted or alternate substance should reduce or eliminate the hazard while maintaining equivalent functionality; this may be achieved through the use of a different substance, or indirectly through improved product design. However, in order for this approach to be successful, informed substitution must ensure the substitute is actually less hazardous. An alternatives assessment examines trade-offs, feasibility, as well as health and safety hazards to determine which alternatives (if any) could be used. It is important that the voices of vulnerable populations are recognized, involved, and given greater weight throughout the assessment process due to their disproportionate exposures and cumulative impacts.[44]

 

Beverley Thorpe illustrated how the substitution principle could be applied to three groups of toxic substances: PBDEs, PFAS, and PERC. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been labelled ‘toxic’ in Canada, but they are still widely used for their flame retardant properties in carpets, electronics, foam, furniture, and building materials.[45] PBDEs have been linked to lower IQ, obesity, and intellectual disabilities.[46] Populations at heightened risk from exposures to PBDEs include infants, children, pregnant women, e-waste recycling workers, Arctic Indigenous communities (due to global transport and bioaccumulation in northern foods), communities located near landfills, and workers in factories making products that contain PBDEs.[47] Safer alternatives do exist, and California has introduced labels on furniture clearly stating whether the item contains flame retardant chemicals, but PBDEs continue to be widely used.

 

Similarly, per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are found in hundreds of products, including waterproof items, food packaging, carpets, footwear, and firefighting foam, with main exposure routes being ingestion of food, drinking water, and dust.[48] Firefighters, factory workers, and recycling workers are exposed to high levels of this family of carcinogens.[49] Recycling industry workers in particular would be exposed to higher levels of PFAS if efforts to reduce waste, to re-use items, and to recycle materials were increased, highlighting the importance of public engagement and involvement of vulnerable populations when amending or proposing environmental legislation. Individuals living near landfills have higher exposures to PFAS through the air, land, and water; however, there is a lack of data on the location of Canadian ‘PFAS hot spots’.[50] Individuals in Northern Indigenous communities, particularly pregnant women, are exposed to PFAS levels far higher than other Canadians.[51] Safer alternatives do exist, particularly for firefighting foam and food packaging, but substitution is minimal and regrettable substitutes remain on the market.

 

Another compound that poses serious health concerns is perchloroethylene (PERC). PERC is used as a degreaser and commonly used in dry-cleaning.[52] PERC-contaminated water, found in fenceline communities, is also linked to various cancers including leukemia, pancreatic, bladder, and cervical cancer.[53] The US EPA determined that dry-cleaning workers faced serious neurological impacts, and higher miscarriage rates linked to skin exposure to PERC in dry cleaning solvents.[54] In the absence of federal regulation in Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment began to study the need for regulation of PERC in the early 1990s and enacted regulations under the Ontario Environmental Protection Act (EPA) in 1994. The dry-cleaning regulations required dry-cleaning operations using PERC to employ an individual trained in environmental contaminant management for perchloroethylene.[55] In January 2020, the Ontario government revoked this regulation due to overlaps with federal regulations enacted in 2003[56] and to reduce administrative burdens. No public comments were submitted on the Ontario government’s decision to revoke this regulation.[57] It is not yet clear what impacts this revocation will have on dry-cleaning workers, though it does further highlight the need for CEPA to address occupational exposures.

 

Unfortunately, there were missed opportunities to promote informed substitution in the Canadian dry-cleaning sector in the 1990s. In 2003, PERC was designated as ‘toxic’ under CEPA’s regulations and Environment Canada compiled an extensive report to identify alternatives. Many dry-cleaners, particularly in larger Canadian cities, began to adopt greener, PERC-free “wet” cleaning processes. However, by the late 1990s outreach by provincial and municipal officials to educate dry-cleaners and promote informed substitution began to decline. Ontario also relaxed enforcement of its regulatory regime, undermining the reduced-exposure approach established by Ontario’s 1994 regulations.

 

Overall, substitution principles must be prioritized to encourage industry innovation and protect vulnerable populations. Safer alternatives do exist, and many organizations in the United States support dry cleaners through grants, training, and support for switching to safer alternatives and informed substitution. Legislative changes at all levels of government are required, as well as NGO support to fund on-the-ground work, research and understand stakeholder views, and aid in the transition to safer substances.

 


Webinar 3: “How can modern science intercept environmental contributors to chronic diseases? Gaps and solutions for chemical regulation” - Speaker: Meg Sears, Ph.D., (Chairperson, Prevent Cancer Now)

 

In recent decades, environmental and occupational health researchers and scientists have developed several theories and proposed dose response models to calculate proposed safe levels of toxic substance exposures. The linear threshold model, in which chemical exposures only trigger a physiological response after passing a threshold dose, is commonly referenced by industries when addressing toxins exposure. A linear no threshold model may be more accurate for many chemicals that the human body does not physiologically require, suggesting there is no safe dose.[58] Non-linear dose response curves are often observed where the lowest doses can have the greatest marginal effects.[59],[60] The applicability and validity of these models are further complicated by the fact that humans are not exposed to chemicals in isolation, and certain substances can have an impact on a wide range of body systems. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) mimic or interfere with hormones, act at very low doses, and can affect a wide range of systems including reproduction, mental health, aging, behaviour, and development. There is no safe dose of EDCs. Examples of EDCs include PFAS and PAHs. Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are found in flame retardants, stain repellents, ski wax, food packaging, electronics, and non-stick cookware. Infants are particularly susceptible due to the bioaccumulative effects of EDCs and their known accumulation in breastmilk. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) mimic various hormones and are commonly found in asphalt and bitumen, posing a greater risk to workers in the petrochemical industries.

 

Occupational exposures are not considered within CEPA, despite the fact that each year scientists attribute between 7,600 to 21,200 cancer diagnoses in Canada to occupational exposures.[61] Chemicals currently present in the environment must be addressed under CEPA, as chronic diseases linked to environmental exposures are beginning to impact younger demographics. Early and ongoing adverse exposure to various chemicals impact hormone signalling, early development, immune systems, and can contribute to various diseases. Several cancers and obesity have common underlying mechanisms such as inflammation and obesogens.[62] Hallmarks of cancer have been identified that are acquired during the development of cancer, and there are substances that have been linked to the development of each hallmark. While a ‘complete carcinogen’ would contribute to each hallmark, the majority of substances are not labelled carcinogenic but nevertheless contribute to one or more hallmarks. The Low-Dose Carcinogenesis Hypothesis posits the existence of ‘virtual carcinogens’ – a mixture of chemicals labelled non-carcinogenic in isolation, but low-dose exposures to these chemicals could collectively cover all hallmarks of cancer and thus enable carcinogenesis.[63] While there are limitations in testing this hypothesis, such as the applicability of animal studies to humans, there is scientific support for this theory. It is critical that the single-substance approach of CEPA reflects the possibility of virtual carcinogens, and that further research on relevant environmental chemical mixtures is conducted to inform policy decisions.[64]

 

Similar to carcinogens, ten key characteristics (KCs) of EDCs have been identified.[65] These KCs can identify and categorize mechanistic data and identify hazards of chemicals without understanding the full mechanistic pathway of the substance. Currently, CEPA takes a business-as-usual approach without proof of harm, but this system must change to protect human health and the environment. The safety, resilience, sustainability, and most importantly, the need for these substances (“essentiality”) must be critically assessed. If a substance is deemed to be necessary, regulators should implement and operationalize the precautionary principle through informed substitution. The health and environmental effects of persistent, hazardous chemicals are extremely difficult to manage, making elimination and substitution a top priority.

 

In terms of addressing EDCs, many organizations and governments have developed frameworks for managing these substances that could be adapted and implemented into CEPA. One approach proposed by the Green Science Policy Institute is the Six Classes approach, where entire groups of chemicals are targeted rather than replacing one problematic chemical with a similarly concerning chemical often from the same class of substances. The six proposed classes are PFAS, antimicrobials, flame retardants, bisphenols and phthalates, certain solvents (as seen in nail salon and dry cleaning products) and certain metals (e.g. mercury).[66] The need for the class approach is particularly apparent in phthalates, where out of over 5000 known phthalates, all of which break down into the same EDC, only one phthalate is listed on Schedule 1 in CEPA.[67] Toxicity is determined according to the weight of evidence, which should be the result of multistep, transparent systematic scientific reviews. Dr. Sears argues Canadian environmental regulators lack the tools, resources, and data to link exposures to outcomes, making it vitally important to re-evaluate existing substances through the CEPA CMP process. Moreover, she argues that screening of new substances should be based on richer data provided by proponents to ECCC and Health Canada.

 


Webinar 4: “Are Canada’s Environmental Laws up to the Challenge? Protecting Communities, their Rights and the Environment from the Threats of Biotechnology” - Speakers: Lucy Sharratt (Canadian Biotechnology Action Network - CBAN), Charlie Greg Sark (University of Prince Edward Island), Hugh Benevides (Nature Canada), and Elaine MacDonald (Ecojustice)

 

Part 6 of CEPA regulates animate products of biotechnology. Over the last two decades, there have been significant advances in both genetic engineering (e.g., CRISPR) and knowledge surrounding environmental impacts. Thus, significant amendments are needed to bring CEPA up to date with current scientific knowledge and best practices, followed by frequent reviews in the future. There are several genetically modified (GM) foods currently on the Canadian market, including corn, soy, canola, sugar beet, alfalfa, papaya, squash, and apples.[68] Unlike GM crops and plants, Health Canada and ECCC regulate animals and animal products using provisions in CEPA.[69] In 2013, Health Canada and ECCC approved the first GM animal product, AquaBounty’s AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon, and these GM-modified salmon has been sold in Canadian markets since 2017.[70] The Ecology Action Centre challenged this approval in Federal Court, and though the applicants were unsuccessful, several limitations and issues within Parts 5 of 6 of CEPA were revealed through the litigation process, particularly the lack of public consultation and the waivers of information requirements process.[71] Prior to AquaBounty, a genetically modified pig (Enviropig) was slated to become the first GM food animal on the market, but the University of Guelph ended its Enviropig research in 2012.[72] A memorandum of understanding between Health Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) outlines the implementation of the New Substances Notification Regulations (Organisms) under CEPA whereby DFO will conduct risk assessments of the use of biotechnology in fish aquaculture and provide advice to Health Canada and ECCC.[73] This MOU outlines a process that seems to be more transparent and collaborative than what would have been in place for Enviropig, but several concerns regarding GM salmon and future GM animals remain.

 

CEPA currently has no requirements for public notification, consultation, or a comment period on GM organisms, and there is no consultation process to obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples. One reason commonly cited for this lack of public participation is the 120-day turnaround time for these applications, which places a false sense of urgency on projects which benefit producers and can pose great environmental risks. The seriousness of these impacts should be reflected in CEPA through lengthened application periods and adequate public consultation. These application processes also heavily protect confidential business information, which could hinder the ability of individuals or organizations to provide informed comments and recommendations, or to detect problems in the real world following development, deployment or release (intentional or accidental) of the GMO.

 

Another serious deficiency that undermines the protections within CEPA is the lack of transparency and rushed timelines in the waiver process. Under CEPA subsections 81(8) and 106(8), companies can request waivers of information requirements if Environment and Climate Change Canada determines that certain requirements have been met.[74] AquaBounty was granted a waiver for “data from a test conducted to determine its pathogenicity, toxicity, or invasiveness” as the government stated, “the person requesting the waiver is able to contain the living organism so as to satisfactorily protect the environment and human health.”[75] This waiver was not published in the Canada Gazette in a timely or intelligible manner, making this information inaccessible to the public. Lucy Sharrat argues that information on new GM applications should be shared with the public in a timely, complete, transparent, and accessible manner. Moreover, she contends the requirements for approving a waiver should be more stringent and that proponents and the federal government should provide all the information needed for a complete assessment of the potential impacts of proposed waivers by the public and stakeholders. We support this argument, noting it will serve to reinforce a precautionary approach in the face of increasingly challenging regulatory trends faced by Health Canada and ECCC such as extreme weather events (e.g. warming of coastal waters that may facilitate parasite growth on farmed fish and marine products) linked to ongoing global climate change.

 

Similar issues seen in the waiver process are also found in the publication of significant new activity notices (SNAc). SNAcs are required if a substance or organism previously approved under CEPA is to be used in a different way than was specified under the initial approval, but this process does not have requirements for public consultation. Similar to the waivers process, SNAcs should automatically trigger a new round of public notification and consultation periods in a timely manner. Clear rules also need to be present within CEPA regarding the circumstances under which approval of a new substance or organism is transferrable (e.g., if the AquAdvantage salmon approval could be transferred to another company without a SNAc).

 

A 2019 CBAN report notes that in Canada, GM crops such as canola, flax, and wheat have contaminated the natural environment. There have also been two separate contamination incidents of GM pigs in Canada entering the food system.[76] AquaBounty was able to waive various data requirements due to their proposed containment plan, but this does not eliminate the potential for human error and escape from containment as seen with other approved GM crops and animals. It is likely that new GM animals will be proposed for assessment in the future due to new and improved genome editing techniques. These techniques are said to lower risk, but as explained in a 2020 CBAN report, even new genetic engineering techniques can be imprecise, resulting in unintended and unpredictable on- or off-target impacts.[77] These techniques have also made “gene drives” possible, which aim to alter an entire population’s genetic composition, or eradicate a species altogether. The US Department of Agriculture is considering an application to plant GM American chestnut trees in the wild, which could spread to Canadian forests. The spread of this species will be virtually impossible to track, and the impacts on forest ecosystems will not be known until decades following this approval.[78]

 

GM organisms also pose several concerns in relation to Indigenous rights. These GM applications are an anthropogenic push to intervene in processes that occur over the long term in natural world, and to create abrupt, immediate genetic changes without understanding the potential impacts or obtaining consent. Many Indigenous nations have had relationships with salmon and other species for thousands of years. Indigenous peoples also have inherent Treaty rights to hunt and fish protected under the Constitution. Charlie Greg Sark, an Indigenous webinar presenter, suggested that AquaBounty is applying settler colonial legal principles by claiming they “own” the salmon and other animals and plants they’ve genetically modified. The risk of contamination or escape of GM animals poses several critical questions. What happens if a GM fish that escaped into the wild is caught by an Indigenous fisherman? Does this genetic pollution infringe upon Indigenous rights? Can a settler company alter the genetic identity of animals without the consideration of Indigenous and animal rights? Should companies have the ability to patent and own the genetic makeup of a living organism? As explained by Charlie Greg Sark, these are not just legal questions, but raise important ethical and legal questions regarding the honour of the Crown and the ethics of private businesses.

 

Food security is also an indirect but vital concern. Commercial salmon is typically consumed in food-secure and higher socioeconomic status areas. Rather than using GM faster-growing fish to address caloric inequities in society, farmed salmon are fed large quantities of smaller, wild, edible fish and the salmon is subsequently shipped to already over-nourished areas for consumption. The concepts of need, environmental justice, and Indigenous rights should be guiding principles when making approval decisions for new substances or biotechnology. It is clear that Part 6 of CEPA must be modernized to address scientific advances. The current exposure- and risk-based notion of harm is often incomplete due to granted waivers and a lack of scientific or public perspectives, and the 120-day timeline benefits corporate interests over the protection of human health and the environment. CEPA amendments must address these concerns to ensure this approvals process is transparent, just, and takes all steps needed to minimize risks to environmental and human health.

 

Conclusion

This webinar series posed many critical questions and recommendations to be considered when amending CEPA in the (hopefully) near future. We commend CELA and the various presenters for the work they undertook on this series, as well as CELA’s longstanding history of advocating for generational and fundamental changes to CEPA.[79]

 

It is clear that vulnerable populations of Canadians are not adequately protected by or considered within the Act. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted these gaps. COVID-19 has only increased risks of occupational exposures, as discussed in the case of nail salon workers through the increased and frequent use of potentially toxic disinfectants, such as quaternary ammonium compounds. The relative lack of information around best disinfecting practices and products for businesses during the pandemic has left many nail salon owners struggling to choose which products are both effective for disinfecting and safe for their employees. Workers are not the only vulnerable group disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. Recent studies have linked PFAS exposure to reduced vaccine response,[80] and PBFA (a PFAS that replaced CFCs) is being linked to more severe COVID infection outcomes.[81]

 

In January 2021, Prime Minister Trudeau released supplementary mandate for Cabinet ministers to address challenges posed by COVID-19. While these letters do not replace previous commitments, including the commitment to strengthen CEPA, these letters do not acknowledge the importance of CEPA reform, particularly to address the gaps that have been highlighted by COVID-19. For instance, the letters to the Ministers of Health,[82] Innovation, Science and Industry,[83] and Environment and Climate Change[84] mention the need to protect both vulnerable populations and the natural environment, but the outlined initiatives fail to make the connection that CEPA reform could assist in achieving both of these goals.

 

COVID-19 has only emphasized the need to reform CEPA, to enhance protections for vulnerable individuals and communities, and to improve Canada’s resilience by addressing the chronic diseases that are associated with hospitalizations and deaths; however, any amendments to CEPA may be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, it is crucial that individuals, environmental and health organizations and networks, unions and other civil society organizations continue to advocate for changes to CEPA. For example, environmental and health organizations such as CELA,[85] the Environmental Defence Fund,[86] Ecojustice,[87] Prevent Cancer Now,[88] and the David Suzuki Foundation[89], among others, continue to fight for CEPA reform and strengthening protections for vulnerable communities. CELA, Prevent Cancer Now and DSF in particular have made CEPA reform a priority for 2021.[90]

 

Enshrining the right to a healthy environment in CEPA, and ensuring this recognition includes a specific implementation framework rather than mere symbolic statements and vague promises, is one of many important and needed steps. In theory, these provisions could protect the rights of all Canadians and prevent the future erosion of vital federal environmental laws, policies and programs on issues such as climate change, clean air, environmental assessment and energy conservation. In addition, occupational and cumulative community exposures to toxic chemicals are glaring gaps in CEPA and must be addressed through informed substitution and alternatives assessments to better protect and support vulnerable populations.

 

Part 6 of CEPA has been neglected relative to other sections, but biotechnology poses some of the most unpredictable, long-term risks. The process for considering new GM organisms needs to be more transparent, and the approvals timeline should be lengthened allowing for substantial public involvement, a full assessment of risks, and seeking the necessary consent of Indigenous peoples while upholding Indigenous rights.

 

Proactive approaches such as prioritizing need and safety need to be used whenever possible rather than the current retroactive, exposure-based approaches, and the burden of proof must be shifted from individuals to industry. The scientific evidence on the health impacts of many of these substances, including chronic diseases and impacted child development, is growing and cannot be ignored. CEPA amendments should consider a classes approach to substances to prevent regrettable substitutes and ensure that only the least-toxic options are on the market. It is imperative that the federal government is held accountable to the commitments made regarding CEPA reform. The pandemic has only emphasized the need for change, and it is time that CEPA is brought into the 21st century to create a just, healthy environment for all Canadians.

 

 

[1] Angela Dittrich is a first year Masters in Environmental Studies and law (MES/JD) student at York University and Osgoode Hall Law School. She is also completing a Business and the Environment graduate diploma from the Schulich School of Business. Angela has a B.Sc. in Integrated Science from McMaster University. Her current research examines the potential impacts of waste management legislation and corporate social responsibility strategies on the transition to a more circular, low-carbon economy.

[2] David McRobert is an environmental lawyer based in southern Ontario, and retired Adjunct Professor. He has worked with numerous clients on a range of topics including wireless radiation safety, air pollution, water pollution and chemical sensitivity. David served for sixteen years as In-House Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor at the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. David has a B.Sc. in Biology and a Masters in Environmental Studies in Biological Conservation from York U. He graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School, undertook graduate law studies and was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 1990. David taught law to undergraduate and graduate students at York University, Osgoode Hall Law School, the University of Toronto and Humber College between 1988 and 2011. He has published more than 30 books and reports and dozens of journal articles and articles. Book titles include Risky Business: A Guide to the Use, Handling and Transportation of Asbestos (2012) and My Municipal Recycling System Made Me Fat and Sick (2012).

[3] Health Canada, “The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999)” (last modified 6 April 2017), online: Government of Canada <www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/chemical-substances/canada-appro...

[4] Government of Canada, “Canadian Environmental Protection Act review” (last modified 29 November 2018) online: Government of Canada <www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/canadian-environmen...

[5] Canada, Parliament, House of Commons, Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, Healthy Environment, Healthy Canadians, Healthy Economy: Strengthening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, 42nd Parl, 1st Sess, (June 2017) (Chair: Deborah Schulte)

[6] Minister of Environment and Climate Change & Minister of Health, “Follow-Up Report to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999” (29 June 2018), online: Government of Canada <www.canada.ca/content/dam/eccc/documents/pdf/cepa/FollowUpCepaReport-eng...

[7] Letter from Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau to Hon. Patty Hajdu (13 December 2019) online: Office of the Prime Minister <https://pm.gc.ca/en/mandate-letters/2019/12/13/minister-health-mandate-l...

[8]Letter from Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau to Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson (13 December 2019) online: Office of the Prime Minister < https://pm.gc.ca/en/mandate-letters/2019/12/13/minister-environment-and-...

[9] Privy Council Office, “Speech from the Throne” (last modified 2 October 2020), online: Government of Canada <https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/campaigns/speech-throne/2020/spee...

[10]The full webinar recordings, along with the slide decks from each presenter, can be found at https://cela.ca/changes_to_cepa/.

[11] CELA also sponsored a webinar session on December 12, 2019 titled “Where Science Meets the Law”. This 2019 session was a prelude to the 2020-2021 webinars and focused on the impacts of low dose exposure to toxic chemicals including endocrine disrupting chemicals on vulnerable communities and highlights opportunities to address changes to Canada’s chemical management approach and CEPA. The 2019 webinar was part of CELA’s work to protect human health and the environment from toxic chemicals through a preventive strategy. CELA has coordinated consultation meetings and webinars with community collaborators on Canada’s chemicals management regime and the CEPA since the mid 1990s. Scientists presented their research, and how chemical accumulation and effects are the consequences of shortcomings in current chemical assessment and management practices. An overview of potential amendments to the CEPA was summarized, followed by discussion to advance understanding of the science by legal experts, and of law and regulation by scientists; https://cela.ca/where-science-meets-the-law-webinar/

[12] “Law Reform: Reforming the Canadian Environmental Protection Act”, online: Canadian Environmental Law Association <https://cela.ca/law-reform-reforming-the-canadian-environmental-protecti...

[13] Philippe Grandjean et al, “Estimated exposures to perfluorinated compounds in infancy predict attenuated vaccine antibody concentrations at age 5-years” (2017) 14:1 J Immunotoxicol 188

[14] Philippe Grandjean et al, “Severity of COVID-19 at elevated exposure to perfluorinated alkylates” (2020) 15:12 PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0244815

[15] Environment and Climate Change Canada, “The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999: Issues” (last modified 12 May 2017), online: Government of Canada <https://ec.gc.ca/lcpe-cepa/default.asp?lang=En&n=DE459DD7-1&offset=2&toc...

[16] Canada, Parliament, House of Commons, Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 – Five-year Review: Closing the Gap, 39th Parl, 1st Sess (April 2007) (Chair: Bob Mills)

[17] Canada, Parliament, Senate, Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment, and Natural Resources, The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (1999, c. 33) Rx: Strengthen and Apply Diligently, (March 2008) (Chair: Tommy Banks)

[18] Government of Canada, “Canadian Environmental Protection Act review” (last modified 29 November 2018) online: Government of Canada <www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/canadian-environmen...

[19] Government of Canada, “Canadian Environmental Protection Act review” (last modified 29 November 2018) online: Government of Canada <www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/canadian-environmen...

[20] Canada, Parliament, House of Commons, Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, Healthy Environment, Healthy Canadians, Healthy Economy: Strengthening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, 42nd Parl, 1st Sess, (June 2017) (Chair: Deborah Schulte)

[21] Minister of Environment and Climate Change & Minister of Health, “Follow-Up Report to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999” (29 June 2018), online: Government of Canada <www.canada.ca/content/dam/eccc/documents/pdf/cepa/FollowUpCepaReport-eng...

[22] Letter from Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau to Hon. Patty Hajdu (13 December 2019) online: Office of the Prime Minister <https://pm.gc.ca/en/mandate-letters/2019/12/13/minister-health-mandate-l...

[23]Letter from Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau to Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson (13 December 2019) online: Office of the Prime Minister < https://pm.gc.ca/en/mandate-letters/2019/12/13/minister-environment-and-...

[24] Privy Council Office, “Speech from the Throne” (last modified 2 October 2020), online: Government of Canada <https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/campaigns/speech-throne/2020/spee...

[25]The full webinar recordings, along with the slide decks from each presenter, can be found at https://cela.ca/changes_to_cepa/.

[26] David McRobert and Biacana Salive, Granting Lake Erie Environmental Rights: Will it work?, Ontario Bar Association Newsletter, April 2019, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332514476_Granting_Lake_Erie_Environmental_Rights_Will_it_work

This paper examines the controversy about the environmental bill of rights enacted for Lake Erie by the City of Toledo. In February 2019, the world’s 11th largest lake, Lake Erie, was granted its own environmental bill of rights by the City of Toledo. Even though the residents of urban Toledo only represent a small part of the lake’s population and industrial, tourist and agricultural base, the city happens to be situated on the most ecologically fragile, biologically dynamic part of the lake due to its waterfront’s shallow depth and resulting warm temperatures. The bill was modeled after the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund’s proposal establishes that Lake Erie has the right to “exist, flourish, and naturally evolve”. Supporters were hoping the bill will allow them to bring lawsuits against polluters on the lake’s behalf. Under most applicable environmental statutes and the common law, the U.S. and Canadian courts generally require those residents and environmental groups filing law suits to prove they have “standing” in order to bring suit. In order to be granted standing, the plaintiff usually must prove they have suffered a direct injury that can be remedied by courts. Therefore, representatives had hoped to be able to bring suit on behalf of Lake Erie, without having to prove there have been injuries to humans. This paper outlines some of the problems and concerns that have arisen with the proposal and what alternatives might work. To date the U.S. courts have upheld lawsuits brought by farmers and other stakeholders striking down this ER law.

[27] UNGA, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, HRC, 43rd Sess, UN Doc A/HRC/43/53 (30 December 2019).

[28]April Weppler, “Changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act – CEPA Webinar Series 2020-21” (6 Jan 2021), online: Canadian Environmental Law Association <https://cela.ca/changes_to_cepa/>

[29] UNGA, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, HRC, 43rd Sess, UN Doc A/HRC/43/53 (30 December 2019).

[30] Environment Quality Act, CQLR c Q-2, s 19.1

[31] Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993, S.O. 1993, c. 28

[32] Environment Act, RSY 2002, c 76, s. 6

[33] Canadian Population Health Initiative, “Urban Physical Environments and Health Inequalities” (3 March 2011), online (pdf): Canadian Institute for Health Information <https://www.cihi.ca/sites/default/files/cphi_upe_summary_rep_en_0.pdf>

[34] Environment and Climate Change Canada, “A proposed integrated management approach to plastic products to prevent waste and pollution” (10 December 2020), online (pdf): Government of Canada < https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/eccc/documents/pdf/cepa/proposed-appro...

[35] Robert Smith & Kieran McDougal, “Costs of Pollution in Canada: Measuring the impacts on families, businesses and governments” (31 May 2017), online (pdf): International Institute for Sustainable Development < https://www.iisd.org/publications/costs-pollution-canada-measuring-impac...>

[36] Health Canada, “Health Effects of Air Pollution: (last modified 7 January 2021), online: Government of Canada <https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/air-quality/health-effects-indoor-air-pollution.html>

[37] Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, SC 1999, c 33

[38] April Weppler, “Changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act – CEPA Webinar Series 2020-21” (6 Jan 2021), online: Canadian Environmental Law Association <https://cela.ca/changes_to_cepa/>

[39] Health Canada, “Defining vulnerable populations” (last modified 22 January 2019), online: Government of Canada <www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/chemical-substances/consulting-f...

[40] Letter from Theresa McClenaghan to Ministers Catherina McKenna and Ginette C Petitpas Taylor (15 October 2018) at 12, online (pdf): Canadian Environmental Law Association <www.cela.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Ltr-to-Ministers-and-proposed-CEP...

[41] Health Canada, “Chemicals Management Plan” (last modified 2 June 2016), online: Government of Canada <www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/chemical-substances/chemicals-ma...

[42] Linor David, “Focus Group Results: How training and employment conditions impact on

Toronto nail technicians’ ability to protect themselves at work” (20 August 2014), online (pdf): Parkdale Queen West Community Healthy Centre <www.pqwchc.org/wp-content/uploads/Focus-Group-Summary.pdf>

[43] Swedish Chemicals Agency, “Report 8/07: The Substitution Principle” (2007), online (pdf): KEMI <https://www.kemi.se/en/publications/reports/2007/report-8-07-the-substit...>

[44] Veena Singla, “Selecting Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals and Ensuring the Protection of the Most Vulnerable” (15 June 2017), online: <www.nrdc.org/resources/selecting-safer-alternatives-toxic-chemicals-and-...

[45] Health Canada, “Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) – information sheet” (last modified 28 July 2020), online: Government of Canada <www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/chemical-substances/fact-sheets/...

[46]Martine Bellanger et al, “Neurobehavioral Deficits, Diseases, and Associated Costs of Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in the European Union” (2015) 100:4 J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1256, DOI: 10.1210/jc.2014-4323

[47]Huguette Turgeon O’Brien et al, “Exposure to Toxic Metals and Persistent Organic Pollutants in Inuit Children Attending Childcare Centers in Nunavik, Canada” (2012) 46:8 Environ Sci Technol 4614, DOI: 10.1021/es203622v

[48] Health Canada, “Second Report on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canada” (April 2013), online (pdf): Government of Canada < https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/hc-sc/migration/hc-sc/ewh-semt/alt_for...

[49]Robert Preidt, “Female Firefighters Face Higher Exposure to Carcinogens” (26 February 2020), online: US News < www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-02-26/female-firefighters-...

[50]Elsie M Sutherland et al, “A Review of the Pathways of Human Exposure to Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) and Present Understanding of Health Effects” (2018) 29:2 J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 131, DOI: 10.1038/s41370-018-0094-1

[51] Jean-Benoit Legault, “Pregnant Inuit women more exposed to ‘the new PCBs’ than other Canadians: study” (25 October 2020), online: Montreal Gazette < www.montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/pregnant-inuit-women-more-expose...

[52] For further reading: Bonnie Rice & Jack Weinberg, Dressed to kill: The dangers of dry cleaning and the case for chlorine-free alternatives (Washington: Greenpeace, 1994).

[53] Jane Caldwell, Ruth Lunn & Avima Ruder, “Tetrachloroethylene (perc, tetra, PCE)” (2010), online: <publications.iarc.fr/_publications/media/download/3809/4153ce0d3ba2613b00bce21372cbd3525dc25362.pdf>

[54] Britt E Erickson, “Dry cleaning solvent poses health risks to workers and consumers” (28 April 2020), online: Chemical & Engineering News <www.cen.acs.org/policy/chemical-regulation/Dry-cleaning-solvent-poses-he...

[55] O. Reg. 323/94

[56] Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations, P.C. 2003-262, 27 February 2003, SOR/2003-79, Canada Gazette, Part II, vol.137, no. 6, p. 886, March 12, 2003.

[57] Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, “Revocation of Ontario Regulation 323/94 (Dry Cleaners) under the Environmental Protection Act” (last modified 20 December 2019), online: Environmental Registry of Ontario <https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-0716>

[58] “Where Science Meets the Law – Webinar” (12 December 2019). online: Canadian Environmental Law Association <https://cela.ca/where-science-meets-the-law-webinar/>

[59]Jelle Vlaanderen et al, “Flexible Meta-Regression to Assess the Shape of the Benzene–Leukemia Exposure–Response Curve” (2010) 118:4 Environ Health Perspect, DOI: 10.1289/ehp.0901127

[60]Bruce P Lanphear, “The Conquest of Lead Poisoning: A Pyrrhic Victory” (2007) 115:10 Environ Health Perspect, DOI: 10.1289/ehp.10871

[61] France Labrèche et al, “The current burden of cancer attributable to occupational exposures in Canada” (2019) 122 Prev Med, DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.03.016

[62] National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, “Obesity and the Environment” (September 2015), online (pdf): U.S. Department of Health and Health Services <www.niehs.nih.gov/health/materials/obesity_and_the_environment_508.pdf>

[63] William H Goosdon et al, “Testing the low dose mixtures hypothesis from the Halifax project” (2020) 35:4 Rev Environ Health 333, DOI: 10.1515/reveh-2020-0033

[64] Mark F Miller et al, “Low-Dose Mixture Hypothesis of Carcinogenesis Workshop: Scientific Underpinnings and Research Recommendations” (2017) 125:2 Environ Health Perspect 163, DOI: 10.1289/EHP411

[65] Michele A. La Merrill et al, “Consensus on the key characteristics of endocrine-disrupting chemicals as a basis for hazard identification” (2020) 16 Nat Rev Endocrinol 45, DOI: 10.1038/s41574-019-0273-8

[66] “Class Concept” online, Green Science Policy Institute <https://greensciencepolicy.org/topics/six-classes/>

[67] Environment and Climate Change Canada, “Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate” (last modified 28 June 2016), online: Government of Canada <www.ec.gc.ca/toxiques-toxics/Default.asp?lang=En&n=98E80CC6-1&xml=7F6CF8...

[68] “GM crops and foods on the market in Canada”, online: Canadian Biotechnology Action Network <https://cban.ca/gmos/products/on-the-market/>

[69] Canadian Food Inspection Agency, “Regulating agricultural biotechnology in Canada” (last modified 19 July 2016), online: Government of Canada <www.inspection.gc.ca/plant-varieties/plants-with-novel-traits/general-pu...

[70] Health Canada, “About novel and genetically-modified (GM) foods” (last modified 30 October 2020), online: Government of Canada <www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/genetically-modif...

[71] Ecology Action Centre v. Canada (Environment), 2015 FC 1412

[72] Lucy Sharratt, “Genetically Modified Pig Shelved” (2 April 2012), online: Canadian Biotechnology Action Network <www.cban.ca/genetically-modified-pig-shelved/>

[73] Fisheries and Oceans Canada, “Assessment of the acceptance of data submitted under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act New Substances Notification Regulations (Organisms) to determine invasiveness of the AquAdvantage™ salmon” (last modified 23 January 2019), online: Government of Canada <www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/Schedule-Horraire/2018/11_02-eng.html>

[74] Environment and Climate Change Canada, “New substances: chemicals and polymers waivers” (last modified 9 July 2019), online: Government of Canada <www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/managing-pollution/...

[75] Ministerial Condition No. 19882, Department of the Environment, (2019) C Gaz I, 1203 (Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999)

[76] Lucy Sharratt & Taarini Chopra, “GM Contamination in Canada” (March 2019), online (pdf): < https://cban.ca/wp-content/uploads/GM-contamination-in-canada-2019.pdf>

[77] “Genome Editing in Food and Farming: Risks and Unexpected Consequences” (7 July 2020), online (pdf): Canadian Biotechnology Action Network <https://cban.ca/wp-content/uploads/Genome-Editing-Report-2020.pdf>

[78] “Proposed Release of Genetically Engineered American Chestnut Trees in US and Canada” (September 2020), online (pdf): <https://cban.ca/wp-content/uploads/alert-GE-american-chestnut-factsheet....

[79] “Law Reform: Reforming the Canadian Environmental Protection Act”, online: Canadian Environmental Law Association <https://cela.ca/law-reform-reforming-the-canadian-environmental-protecti...

[80]Philippe Grandjean et al, “Estimated exposures to perfluorinated compounds in infancy predict attenuated vaccine antibody concentrations at age 5-years” (2017) 14:1 J Immunotoxicol 188

[81] Philippe Grandjean et al, “Severity of COVID-19 at elevated exposure to perfluorinated alkylates” (2020) 15:12 PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0244815

[82] Letter from Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau to Hon. Patty Hajdu (15 January 2021) online: Office of the Prime Minister < https://pm.gc.ca/en/mandate-letters/2021/01/15/minister-health-supplemen...

[83] Letter from Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau to Hon. François-Philippe Champagne (15 January 2021) online: Office of the Prime Minister <https://pm.gc.ca/en/mandate-letters/2021/01/15/minister-innovation-scien...

[84] Letter from Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau to Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson (15 January 2021) online: Office of the Prime Minister <https://pm.gc.ca/en/mandate-letters/2021/01/15/minister-environment-and-... >

[85] Fe de Leon, “Significant Reform of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act Critical to Protecting our Most Vulnerable Communities” (28 January 2021), online: Canadian Environmental Law Association <https://cela.ca/significant-reform-of-the-canadian-environmental-protect...

[86] “Coalition for Action on Toxics” online: Environmental Defence <https://environmentaldefence.ca/coalition-actiontoxics/#:~:text=The%20Ca...(CEPA)%20is%20the%20law%20that,through%20bans%2C%20restrictions%20and%20regulations>

[87] Elaine MacDonald, “CEPA turns 20: It’s time to modernize Canada’s cornerstone environmental law” (13 February 2020), online: Ecojustice <https://ecojustice.ca/cepa-turns-20-its-time-to-modernize-canadas-corner...

[88] “PCN Cancer Prevention Submissions” (2 March 2016), online: Prevent Cancer Now < http://www.preventcancernow.ca/main/resources/cancer-prevention-submissi...

[89] “Help Strengthen CEPA”, online: David Suzuki Foundation <https://davidsuzuki.org/action/canadian-environmental-protection-act/>

[90] Fe de Leon, “Significant Reform of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act Critical to Protecting our Most Vulnerable Communities” (28 January 2021), online: Canadian Environmental Law Association <https://cela.ca/significant-reform-of-the-canadian-environmental-protect...

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