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July 25, 2016

Canadian Parliament Holds First Reading of Bill to Create Framework to Regulate Nanotechnology

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On June 8, 2016, the House of Commons held its first reading of an Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) (nanotechnology) (C-287).  The bill would add Part 6.1 to CEPA primarily to implement procedures for the investigation and assessment of nanomaterials.  Member Peter Julian, New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP) House Leader, issued a June 8, 2016, press release stating that he first introduced the bill in 2010 and is “pleased to see that some of the aspects of this Bill are being considered by Health Canada and Environment Canada, such as the development of a registry for nanomaterials in commerce and use in Canada.”  According to the press release, the bill would establish a “balanced approach ensuring the responsible development of nanotechnology and the safe use off [sic] nanomaterials in Canada.”  The bill would define nanomaterial as any manufactured substance or product or any component material, ingredient, device or structure that:  (a) is within the nanoscale (one nanometer (nm) up to and including 100 nm), in at least one external dimension; or (b) if it is not within the nanoscale, exhibits one or more properties that are attributable to the size of a substance and size effects.  The bill mandates a risk assessment process to identify the potential benefits and possible risks of nanotechnologies before nanoproducts enter the market.  It would also create a national inventory regarding nanotechnology, including nanomaterials and nanoparticles, using information collected under CEPA Sections 46 and 71 and “any other information to which the Ministers have access.”  As reported in our July 27, 2015, blog item, on July 25, 2015, Canada published a notice announcing a mandatory survey under CEPA Section 71(1)(b) with respect to certain nanomaterials in Canadian commerce.  Julian first introduced similar legislation in 2010.  Previous versions of the bill did not make it past the first reading in the House of Commons.