I’ve been tracking down information about Canada’s manomaterials reporting plan/inventory/scheme since January 2009 when it was first announced publicly, i.e. somewhere other than a government report or government website. Here’s my most recent posting where I detail information found in a Feb. 2010 OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) report. In my searches I also found a notice of a a request for comments (closing date: Aug. 31, 2010) about an Interim Policy Statement for Health Canada’s Working Definition for Nanomaterials . I gather this request for feedback/public consultation is being held prior to developing the ‘nanomaterials reporting plan’ for Canadian businesses to provide information about the nanomaterials in their products circa 2008.
The whole endeavour has been a bit puzzling so I emailed Health Canada with some questions which Christelle Legault, Media Relations Officer | Agente des relations avec les médias, Regulatory Communications and Media Relations Division | Division des communications réglementaires et des relations avec les médias, Public Affairs, Consultation and Communications Branch | Direction générale des affaires publiques, de la consultation et des communication, Health Canada | Santé Canada, very kindly answered. (Her business card must be very crowded.)
Q1 – Is information about this reporting plan/inventory/scheme publicly available other than in OECD documents? Where would the average Canadian be able to locate this info?
Plans to develop an information gathering initiative for nanomaterials were discussed as part of a previous multi-stakeholder workshop. Background information on this initiative is provided in the document entitled “Proposed Regulatory Framework for Nanomaterials under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999” available under “Nanomaterials” on Environment Canada’s New Substances Website at:
The New Substances Website is used to communicate information to stakeholders on the regulatory program for nanomaterials under the Canadian Environment Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999).
Q2 – When is the projected date for the proposed reporting plan/inventory/scheme to take place? Will it be 2011?
Information gathering initiatives for nanomaterials are currently under consideration by the Government. At this time, there are no confirmed timelines.
Q3 – How did you promote this ‘Interim statement’ consultation so there’d be some response?
The Policy Statement on Health Canada’s Working Definition for Nanomaterials was distributed to over 3,000 stakeholders in Canada and internationally via e-mail, as well as being posted on Health Canada’s website:
Q4 – Were you aware that your adopted definition for nanomaterials is not harmonious with the 2007 definition being used by Environment Canada where nano titanium dioxide (a very commonly used nanoparticle in many products) is explicitly excluded.
The New Substances Advisory Note that was published in 2007, entitled: Requirements for Nanomaterials under the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers), relates to existing legislation for nanomaterials under CEPA 1999. The Advisory Note does not define nanomaterials, rather it describes the requirements of existing legislation to notify new nanomaterials to the Government for assessment prior to import or manufacture.
Whereas, the Interim Policy Statement on Health Canada’s Working Definition for Nanomaterials is intended to provide guidance to stakeholders on the broad scope of what is considered a nanomaterial. The working definition establishes a working means of identifying nanomaterials that will support the administration of the various laws and regulations (including CEPA 1999) that the Government uses to regulate nanomaterials. The scope of the working definition is intended to be broad so that all Government legislative and regulatory programs are captured. In some cases, the scope of nanomaterials for specific regulatory programs may be narrower than that of Health Canada’s Working Definition.
Q5 – Are there plans for public outreach/dialogue/engagement events on the topic of nanomaterials and other nanotechnology issues?
HC will be providing feedback to stakeholders after the Interim Policy Statement consultation period is completed. Depending on the result of the consultation, HC will decide on the need to further engage the stakeholders.
Q6 – Is there going to be another multi-stakeholder meeting as there was in 2007, as per the OECD report?
There are currently no scheduled multi-stakeholder meeting concerning the Environment Canada-Health Canada nanomaterial regulatory program. However, the Government is committed to holding meaningful consultations with interested stakeholders as it further develops its nanomaterial regulatory program.
Q7 – If there will be another multi-stakholder meeting, do you have details about which civil society groups, academics, business interests, policy watchdogs, and other interested parties will be invited and when it will take place?
The consultation workshop held in 2007 had representation from a wide range of stakeholders including several industry associations and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), environmental and health NGOs as well as Canadian university researchers. Regulatory authorities from other jurisdictions and other Canadian federal government departments were also part of the consultative process. For future consultations, stakeholder participation will consist of similar representation and will also include other identified interested parties as nanotechnology activity in Canada increases.
Q8 – Is there a launch date (as opposed to the vague Spring 2010) for the proposed NanoPortal mentioned in the OECD report (no. 20, Feb. 2010) of the Working Party on Nanomaterials?
Health Canada’s NanoPortal is at the last stage of development. Health Canada is now working on the final details and will provide a launch date in the near future.
Thank you Ms. Legault for providing answers to my questions.
Plot to bomb IBM nanotech facility in Switzerland
There aren’t many details so I’m not sure how solid this information is but it seems that a small group of one woman and two men were arrested. April 15, 2010, in an apparent plot to bomb an IBM nanotech facility being built in Rueschlikon (near Zurich). You can read slightly more here. The news seems to have been broken just hours ago.