Key Links


Recent Initiatives

On 20 December 2018, a consultation document describing the proposed amendments to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 was published on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act Registry for a 60-day public comment period. The proposed amendments would seek to further restrict the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale and import of certain toxic substances, including PFOS.

Comments and information received in response to the Notice of Intent and the consultation document will be considered in the development of proposed regulations to amend the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012. Please note that the target for publication of the proposed regulatory amendments to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 in the Canada Gazette, Part I, is winter (December 2021-March 2022).

In December 2018, Canada published the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document – Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS).

Overview of Risk Reduction Approaches

Canada has implemented a combination of regulatory and voluntary actions to reduce the risk of certain long-chain PFASs.

In 2006, Canada launched their “Action Plan for the Assessment and Management of Perfluorinated Carboxylic Acids and their Precursors”. For their regulatory approaches, Canada has prohibited the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale, and import of four fluorotelomer-based substances and PFOS with some exemptions.

In 2006, Canada initiated monitoring of PFOA, PFCAs, PFOS, their salts and their precursors in several media including air, water, sediment, aquatic and terrestrial biota, wastewater and biosolids. In addition, Canada has also undertaken biomonitoring of these substances as part of the Canadian Health Measures Survey. These results provide an important piece of information to be used by the Government of Canada in evaluating their risk reduction approaches for these substances.

In 2015, the Environmental Performance Agreement respecting Perfluorinated Carboxylic Acids (PFCAs) and their Precursors in Perfluorinated products sold in Canada was completed. As a result of the Agreement, participating companies successfully met their commitment to eliminate residual perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) and their precursors. These substances are now regulated under the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 (the Regulations). On October 5, 2016, the Regulations were amended to include PFOA, its salts and its precursors, long-chain PFCAs, their salts and their precursors, and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), its salts and its precursors.

In the case of PFOA and LC-PFCAs, the Regulations prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale or import of the substances, unless present in manufactured items. The on-going use, sale, offer for sale and important of PFOA and LC-PFCAs in aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) used in fire protection applications are allowed. The exemptions for PFOA and LC-PFCAs are the result of consultations where stakeholders have indicated that the development of alternatives is underway or where there were currently no known alternatives.

PFOS was previously managed under the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations (the PFOS Regulations). The Regulations maintain similar regulatory requirements as under the PFOS Regulations, and revise certain exemptions

Compared to the PFOS Regulations, the Regulations:

  • remove the exemption for the use, sale, offer for sale or import of aviation hydraulic fluids containing PFOS;
  • remove the exemption for aqueous film-forming foams containing PFOS used in a military vessel deployed before May 2013 for a military operation; and
  • modify the permitted concentration limit for the use of PFOS in aqueous film-forming foams by increasing the limit from 0.5 ppm to 10 ppm.

The removal and modification of exemptions are based on consultations with stakeholders, who have indicated that the activities associated with the two exemptions no longer occur, and that the concentration limit needed updating to accommodate residual levels of PFOS that remain in fire-fighting equipment as a result of historical uses of the substance. 

The previous PFOS Regulations were repealed.


Table with Key Elements of Risk Reduction Approaches

Action Path taken BEPs Implemented Category of PFASss addressed Articles covered? Life cycle stage(s) addressed Method of approach Public- private partnership encouraged? Level of constraint

Four fluorotelomer-based substances added to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2005

Prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale and import Minimisation of use of precursors Fluorotelomer- based substances No Manufacture, use, sale and import Regulatory No Full prohibition (excluding manufactured items)

New Substances Notification Regulations, as appropriate and consistent with existing restrictions
Link to regulations

Prohibit the manufacture and import of substances not listed on the Domestic Substances List (DSL) Assessment of substances new to Canada PFAS not listed on the DSL   Manufacture and import Regulatory No Full prohibition

Environmental Performance Agreement reached to encourage action from industry to significantly reduce residuals from perfluorinated products sold in Canada.

The Environmental Performance Agreement was commenced on March 30, 2010 and expired on December 31, 2015.  All participating companies met the reduction targets.
Link to agreement

Manage manufacture and import  Minimisation of residual PFOA, C9- C20 PFCAs and precursors in perfluorinated PFOA, C9- C20 PFCAs, and precursors No Product manufacture and import  Voluntary No Signed agreement requires annual reporting of progress

Prohibition of certain Toxic Substances Regulations
Link to the regulations

Prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, and import Minimisation of PFASs used 

PFOA, C9- C20 PFCAs, their salts and their precursors

PFOS, its salts and its precursors
No Chemical and product manufacture, use, sale and import  Regulatory No Full prohibition (with a limited number of exemptions

Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations
Link to regulations 

The PFOS Regulations were repealed in 2016 when PFOS was added to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations.

Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines for Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS)  
Link to Guidelines

Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines (FEQGs) provide benchmarks for the quality of the ambient environment N/A PFOS its salts and its precursors No Releases from all life cycles are addressed Guidance No None 

Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality for PFOS and PFOA
Link to the Guidelines

Maximum acceptable concentrations (MAC) of PFOS and PFOA in drinking water N/A
No N./A Voluntary No None

Additional Ressources




Related Documents