The Government of Canada intends to propose actions on the labelling of toxic substances in certain products including cosmetics, cleaning products, and toxic flame retardants in upholstered furniture – and it wants to hear your comments and feedback.

The Notice of Intent Consultation opened Oct. 29, 2022 and will close on Jan. 12, 2023. After which, the Government will release its product labelling strategy sometime in 2023.

The purpose of the Notice is to strengthen the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, which supports the mandatory labelling of substances in consumer products with the goals of enhancing supply chain transparency and making sure that consumers are aware of which substances are in the products that they buy and use – especially if these substances can have impacts on the environment or human health.

Topics up for consideration include:

  • whether ingredients lists or risk communications would be most appropriate.
  • implementing a scientific approach to defining the scope of any labelling requirements.
  • considering data standardization and interoperability.
  • achieving alignment between different jurisdictions.
  • leveraging digital technology and tools to transmit label information digitally in addition to traditional physical labels.

The Government will develop criteria and best practices to guide decision making. Labelling of substances may be required in the following situations:

  1. the substance could pose risks to the environment or human health at any stage of its life cycle
  2. labelling can help in achieving the risk management objective
  3. the substance is subject to a phase-down and will continue to be found in products for a period of time before being fully restricted or eliminated
  4. there are substance concentration limits for products
  5. consumers need to be aware of safe disposal methods for the substance

Groups or classes of substances that have environment and/or human health concerns will be considered for labelling requirements. One such example is flame retardants. Chemical flame retardants are added to some manufactured materials, such as plastics, foams, rubbers, textiles, and surface finishes and coatings in order to slow the ignition and the spread of fire. The Government of Canada has assessed 34 substances under Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan, 14 of which have been found to be harmful to the environment and/or human health and for which risk management measures have been implemented or are being developed. The Government is also currently assessing 14 additional flame retardant substances.

The Government would like to hear from:

  • Indigenous peoples
  • manufacturers and formulators
  • importers, distributors, purchasers and retailers
  • disposers and recyclers
  • consumer advocacy groups
  • non-governmental organizations
  • general public

Read the full notice and learn how to provide feedback on it here.

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