Dayna Nadine Scott is an assistant professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, in Toronto, Canada. Her 2005 dissertation is a socio-legal analysis of the transformative potential of international law's ‘precautionary principle’ as it has been employed by the environmental health movement. Among other awards, Professor Scott has been a recipient of Fulbright and SSHRC Fellowships, and the Law Commission of Canada's ‘Audacity of Imagination’ Prize. For 2008–09, Professor Scott has been appointed as the Director of the National Network on Environments and Women's Health. She is a member of the Challenge Advisory Panel established under the Chemicals Management Plan. The opinions expressed here reflect her own personal views and are not the views of the Panel. The author would like to thank the three anonymous reviewers, as well as Mary Richardson and Conrad Brunk for constructive feedback on earlier drafts. Andrea Bradley provided expert research assistance throughout.
Testing Toxicity: Proof and Precaution in Canada's Chemicals Management Plan
Version of Record online: 19 MAY 2009
© 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Review of European Community & International Environmental Law
Volume 18, Issue 1, pages 59–76, April 2009
How to Cite
Scott, D. N. (2009), Testing Toxicity: Proof and Precaution in Canada's Chemicals Management Plan. Review of European Community & International Environmental Law, 18: 59–76. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9388.2009.00621.x
- Issue online: 19 MAY 2009
- Version of Record online: 19 MAY 2009
This article explores questions of proof and precaution in the context of Canada's new Chemicals Management Plan. That plan includes a bold initiative known as the ‘Challenge’, under which the government has identified 200 high priority chemicals for which it is ‘predisposed’ to a finding of toxicity. The presumption will operate unless the challenged stakeholders submit ‘information’ sufficient to rebut it. Through comparison with the European REACH regulation, this article explores exactly what burdens have been shifted, to whom and why. It also evaluates the significance of this move for the governance of chemicals in Canada and for the health of Canadians. It looks specifically at the case of Bisphenol A, which was one of the 200 chemicals included in the Challenge, and was recently declared toxic under that process. The Challenge forces us to confront the ‘dilemma of industry data’, which complicates the debate over a shifted burden of proof in the context of chemicals management.