April 13, 2021, Ottawa: Today, the federal government tabled proposed amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA 1999) and the coatings industry looks forward to providing its views on those amendments for the benefit of human health and the environment.
Companies in the Canadian paint and coatings industry continue to fully comply with all requirements under CEPA via the comprehensive Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). The CMP has been lauded and copied by other countries for its comprehensive risk-based approach to chemical assessment. “Canada’s evidence-based focus on chemical assessment over the past 20 years has ensured that all chemicals in commerce in Canada are safe for both the health of Canadians and the environment because it has been based on scientific, risk-based assessment,” commented Gary LeRoux, President of the Canadian Paint and Coatings Association.
The comprehensive risk-based chemical assessment approach in Canada, while very challenging for industry at times, has included bans on certain chemicals of concern and greatly restricted use levels of others based on comprehensive science-based assessments. Overall this has ensured a fair and level playing field for businesses in Canada, achieved via a comprehensive and collaborative approach between industry and government with industry providing all the mandatory data needed for more informed assessments. Any new approach under CEPA must ensure these and other key elements are continued especially as it relates to prioritization of chemicals.
Current CEPA requirements already consider important issues such as cumulative effects, available alternatives, and the protection of vulnerable populations. There is widespread industry support to continue in this vein, but again based on the available science. Industry has always supported continued vigilance on chemicals of highest concern and many CPCA member companies continue to monitor those based on how they are used over time. However, many of those coatings have critical uses such as fire-retardants used for many airplane components that are critical for safe air travel.
To date Canada’s science-based chemical assessment protocols have ensured Canadians have access to a wide range of fully compliant products at their disposal, at reasonable prices and that address many of their unique requirements. In the case of paint and coatings it has ensured consumers can access fully compliant products to help them protect their most valuable assets such as homes and automobiles. These products have also helped all levels of government to cost-effectively extend the life-cycle of public assets by protecting them from things like corrosion and general degradation. More recently, antiviral and antimicrobial coatings, widely used in hospitals, on PPE and even critical ventilators, used throughout the pandemic to help address various Coronavirus challenges. “Critical chemicals of various kinds, not only in coatings, ensures Canadians continue to have a right to a healthy environment and the coatings industry will continue to support science-based efforts to do so in the years ahead,” commented Mr. LeRoux.