Peter Julian, MP for Burnaby-New Westminster, today tabled Bill C-494 in the House of Commons that will include nanotechnology in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and require the Health and Environment Ministers to act.
“There is a need for public policy governed by the precautionary principle,” said Julian. “We need a proper balance between protecting Canadians from potential harmful consequences and allowing us to reap the benefits of nanotechnologies. This Bill fulfills that need for sound legislative guidance.”
The proposed amendments to the Act will help implement a national strategy to guide the development of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the application of science and engineering to the design and manipulation of materials at the atomic, molecular or macromolecular scale with the view of enhancing its performance or quality.
The bill, which was seconded by New Democrat Environment Critic Linda Duncan, includes risk assessment procedures prior to a nanomaterial or nanoproduct release into the marketplace, the environment, or Canadians. A public inventory of nanotechnology and nanomaterials in Canada will be established. The bill complements regulatory initiatives underway in the EU, Australia, the UK and the US as well as proactive provinces like Québec and Alberta.
“By making simple updates to the current Act, we can quickly bring Canada’s legislation into the 21st century and protect Canadians and our environment,” said Julian.
Since 2005, Canadian and International scientific organizations have been calling for legislation and leadership that responsibly assesses all stages of the nanotechnology life cycle, including research and development, manufacturing, distribution, and disposal or recycling. As hundreds of new nanoproducts enter the global marketplace, Canada`s New Democrats can wait no longer for this government to listen, lead or act with precaution.