Within Environment Canada and Health Canada, the Existing Substances Program represents the Government of Canada's expertise for the risk assessment of existing substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act,1999 (CEPA 1999). Specifically, the program identifies, prioritizes, and assesses substances that have been or are currently used in Canada as commercial substances or products, or are released into the Canadian environment on their own or as effluents, mixtures or contaminants and that pose risks to the health of Canadians and the environment. Risk managers within Environment Canada and Health Canada use the results generated by risk assessments to develop suitable responses under CEPA 1999 to manage the risks posed by substances that are considered toxic.
This document is the first in a series of guidance documents that will describe both generally and specifically, the mandate and activities of the Existing Substances Program. The purpose of these technical or general guides is to help the public and stakeholders review risk assessments conducted by the program. They will thus be better informed to include this information in their decision-making processes and to plan safer alternatives to chemicals harmful to human health and the environment.
This document provides an overview of legislation, policies, and guiding principles for the assessment and management of chemical substances in Canada.
George M. Enei
Existing Substances Division
Bureau of Risk and Impact Assessment