Overhauling Canada’s toxic chemicals law should be priority: advocate

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OTTAWA — A new report says retailers in Canada are lagging behind American companies in removing hazardous chemicals from their products.

Muhannad Malas, of the advocacy group Environmental Defence, says he is disappointed in the findings of the fourth annual report card on how 43 American and Canadian retail companies manage toxic chemicals.

He says it underscores Canada’s need to finally overhaul the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna promised last year that legislation would come after the federal election to better protect Canadians from exposure to harmful products. The act has been under review since 2016.

Changes could include putting the onus on some chemical manufacturers to prove their products are safe, rather than on consumers or environmental advocates to prove they are not.

Malas says the new bill needs to be one of the first priorities for the next cabinet, because the process will be complicated and it could take a while to move through a minority Parliament.

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