A focus on Canadian guidelines and guidance for contaminated sites management

April 1, 2020

The Canadian government has been involved in developing regulations and guidance for certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) since the early 2000s. Several federal departments are involved in different aspects of this work. Significant PFAS work is carried out under the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP), which provides a structure for the dozens of departments that are implicated in federal contaminated sites management in Canada. The work carried out under FCSAP is largely related to the PFAS resulting from aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) use. The Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) is another program with significant involvement in the assessment and management of certain PFAS. This work includes the publication of screening assessments on perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids (LC-PFCAs) which led to their regulation. Risk assessments identify whether a chemical substance poses a risk, and if so, risk managers determine how best to minimise or eliminate the risk to protect the public and the environment. Highlights of work carried out under FCSAP, CMP, and existing regulations are discussed herein.

Environmental quality guidelines and drinking water quality guidelines provide benchmarks for the quality of the ambient environment. Canadian federal guidelines or screening values to protect human health are now available for eleven (11) PFAS, while values to protect ecological receptors are available for PFOS. Development of our understanding, including the review of new information on PFAS (those for which guidelines exist and additional substances) is ongoing.

Ongoing scientific research and risk management at contaminated sites in Canada have also been part of efforts by multiple federal departments in Canada. In this report, we will outline some of these projects and how they inform the development of additional environmental quality guidelines and advance contaminated sites risk management.


Read the full report here