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Environment Canada’s Chemical Management Plan (the “CMP”) continues its investigation into substances which have previously been listed on the expansion into substances previously listed on the CMP’s Domestic Substances List as approved for use in Canada. While the CMP might be described as a “kinder and gentler” (and administratively less challenging) version of the European Union’s REACH, its phased reassessment of chemical substances in Canada continues to generate new reporting obligations for manufacturers and importers into Canada.

Polymers Inventory Reporting by December 3rd

One such obligation arises under the CMP’ “Polymers Approach”, which is targeting 600 polymeric substances under a specialized program which recognizes that polymers may not always be individually identified using distinct Chemical Abstracts Registry Numbers (CAS RN). A final list of 302 polymers have been identified as priorities for further assessment and inventory reporting for their manufacture or importation in calendar year 2014 has been mandated under the CMP by December 3, 2015.    Companies should be aware that manufacture/import thresholds of 100kg and 1000kg (for 2014) divide the targeted 302 polymers as they are present:

  • alone;
  • in a mixture; or
  • in a product
  • Further, polymers occurring in manufactured items are covered where they fall into one of the following categories:

Further, polymers occurring in manufactured items are covered where they fall into one of the following categories:

  • intended for dermal or mucosa (other then eyes) contact or otherwise inhaled;
  • residential cookware/utensils that contacts heated food;
  • reusable food or beverage containers; or
  • food packaging;

Items made of glass, stainless steel or porcelain are general excluded, as well as certain material regulated under other federal law.

What if I Voluntarily Reported Earlier This Year

The CMP conducted a voluntary information gathering on stakeholders in February 2015 as part of its risk screening process.  If you submitted information on your 2014 practices regarding any target polymer at that time you will not be required to resubmit for that polymer. 

What Items Are Generally Caught By This Reporting Obligation

While companies will need assess all of the polymers contained in the target list, including those found alone, in mixtures or products, reporting obligations have been found to apply to certain manufactured items:

  • personal hygiene products such as toothbrushes and floss, mouth guards, and pacifiers;
  • pots, pans, woks, griddles, plates, bowls and serving spoons;
  • plastic food wrap, coatings on metal cans, plastic food containers, and jar lids;
  • water bottles, travel mugs, jugs, cups, and storage containers;
  • scented candles, air freshener so, scented markers, dryer sheets and cleaning wipes.

Still Time To Comply

Companies should be aware that, while compliance with the polymers survey is a requirement under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, there is still time to meet the December 3rd, 2015 deadline.


Jonathan Cocker heads Baker McKenzie’s Environment & Environmental Markets Practice Group in Toronto, where he also serves as chair of the Pro Bono Committee. He authored the Global Climate Change Law Guide, and has worked with the Management Board Secretariat of the Government of Ontario. Mr. Cocker has represented a wide range of clients before various administrative boards, the Superior Court of Justice and the Federal Court of Canada, among others.

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