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Canada’s Chemical Management Plan (the “CMP”) continues to expand the scope of its investigation into substances already in commercial use in Canada.  The newest target for CMP scrutiny and industry reporting are nanomaterials – substances that are manufactured and/or have internal or surface structures measured in nanometers.

Aren’t These Substances Already Approved?

While many of the 206 substances are on the CMP’s Domestic Substance List as approved for use and distribution in Canada, Environment Canada asserts that these same substances, at nanoscale, “exhibit unique properties which may give rise to new exposures and effects which need to be assessed for their potential risk to human health and the environment” for which a separate assessment process is necessary. The target list was developed under the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council Nanotechnology Initiative, which was launched in 2011 with a mandated goal of gathering knowledge of commercial uses of nanomaterials.  The Notice with respect to certain nanomaterials in Canadian commerce is part of this initiative. 

Which Nanomaterials Are Caught?

Companies should be aware that the manufacture/import threshold of 100kg (for calendar year 2014) applies to nanoscale substances:

  • alone;
  • in a mixture; or
  • in a product

Reportable nanoscale substances are any which, under the Notice, have at least 10% particles in the nanoscale range (or 1-100 nanometers).

What Items Are Generally Caught By This Reporting Obligation?

While companies will need assess all of the nanomaterials contained in the target list, reporting obligations have been found to apply to certain items such as:

  • paints and coatings
  • ink toners and colorants
  • cosmetics and personal care products such as lipstick, mascara, eye shadow
  • creams, and lotions
  • cleaning liquids, gels or sprays

The Notice does provide for some limited reporting exemptions.   

Still Time To Comply

The Notice reporting deadline is February 23 rd , 2016, but extensions are available from CMP only if requested by this date.


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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