Update: Water Pollution from Microplastic Beads in Consumer Products

Jed Chong
Economics, Resources and International Affairs Division

Since the publication of the HillNote on water pollution from microplastic beads in consumer products, Parliamentary initiatives have been introduced by both the federal government and the provincial government in Ontario.

On 24 March 2015, Parliament unanimously passed a motion calling on the federal government to add microbeads to the list of toxic substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

In response to the motion, Environment Canada will initiate a scientific review to assess the effects of microbeads on the environment; this analysis will guide future decisions on the issue. The government will also add the topic of microbeads to the agenda for the next meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

In Ontario, a Private Member’s Bill that would ban the manufacture of microbeads, as well as their addition to cosmetics, soaps or similar products, was introduced on 9 March 2015. The Bill received second reading on 12 March 2015, and was then referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.

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