Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), the Government of Canada uses a preventative approach to managing the risks new substances may pose to humans or to the Canadian environment.
Under the New Substances Program, Health Canada and Environment Canada examine the potential risks to Canadians and their environment before the substances enter the Canadian marketplace.
The New Substances Program is responsible for administrating the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers) and the New Substances Notification Regulations (Organisms) of CEPA 1999. These regulations were created to ensure that no new substances (chemicals, polymers or organisms) are introduced into the Canadian marketplace before undergoing ecological and human health assessments. A substance is considered to be new to Canada if it is not listed on the Domestic Substances List (DSL).
Any company or individual who intends to import or manufacture a new or flagged substance in Canada is required to notify under the New Substances Notification Regulations (NSNR).
Any substance not included on the DSL or that appears on the DSL and is flagged with a Significant New Activity Notice (SNAc) or a Reduced Regulatory Requirement (RRR) is subject to the NSNR. These regulations apply to chemicals, polymers, biochemicals, biopolymers and biotechnology (living organisms). View the Comprehensive Listing of Substances that are Subject to a Significant New Activity Notice. View the Policy on the Use of Significant New Activity Provisions of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
The NSNR require that any person who intends to import or manufacture a substance subject to notification under the regulations must submit a New Substances Notification (NSN) package to Environment Canada, containing all information prescribed in the regulations, prior to import or manufacture of the substance.
For guidelines relating to notification and testing of new substances, please consult:
Advisory notes are available to clarify certain aspects of the NSN Program for the benefit of individuals responsible for complying with the NSNR:
For information regarding the preparation of NSN packages, please consult:
Additional information and forms required for the notification process can be acquired from the New Substances Notification Web page.
When Environment Canada and Health Canada suspect that a new substance may meet one or more of the criteria of section 64 of CEPA 1999, control measures are imposed to minimize any risks to the environment or human health. Additionally, when it is suspected that a SNAc in relation to a substance may result in the substance meeting one or more of the criteria of section 64 of CEPA 1999, a notice is issued to ensure that adequate additional information is provided by the notifier or any other proponent who wishes to manufacture, import or use the substance for activities not specified by the notice. These Orders are published in the Canada Gazette.
Consult the CEPA Environmental Registry to view details on published Orders.
New substances risk assessment summaries are published regularly for:
Search the DSL for substances using:
Other good sources for information regarding the regulation of New Substances in Canada:
For further information on chemicals and polymers or biotechnology (living organisms) subject to the NSNR and determining the need to notify, please consult Environment Canada's New Substances Notification webpage.
For all other information on the notification and assessment of new substances under CEPA 1999, please contact the Substances Management Information Line.