Health Canada provides guidance regarding the assessment and management of federal contaminated sites by responding to inquiries, peer reviewing research and site assessments, creating soil quality guidelines for use at contaminated sites, and advising custodial departments on human health issues.
Under the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, Health Canada is an Expert Support Department, which means that it provides guidance, training and advice to other federal departments on human health risks posed by federal contaminated sites.
Health Canada is developing methods to conduct human health risk assessments at federal sites and other sites for which the federal government has full or partial responsibility.
Guidance documents have been developed on a range of subjects, including human health risk assessment, as well as the process of planning public involvement activities and strategies for dealing with the psychological, social and cultural factors influencing people affected by contaminated sites.
Health Canada has published a range of guidance documents for use by federal departments that are responsible for the assessment, management and/or remediation of contaminated sites in Canada.
These can be broken down into three categories:
The guidance documents below are intended for use by federal government custodial departments responsible for the assessment, management and/or remediation of contaminated sites in Canada, and their consultants, to conduct assessments of the human health risks associated with federal contaminated sites.
Supplemental guidance documents on other aspects of human health risk assessment will be published from time to time, as the need is identified.
To request documents, please contact Health Canada's Contaminated Sites Division.
Risk assessors access and rely on available regulatory advice and direction differently. This results in wide fluctuations among estimates of potential chemical exposure and risk.
A comparison of Canadian provincial risk assessment approaches applied to a hypothetical contaminated site ("A Comparison of Provincial Human Health Risk Assessment Methods for Contaminated Sites," available by contacting Health Canada's Contaminated Sites Division), confirmed the disparity in risk assessment results and conclusions.
This inconsistency resulted from:
To ensure consistency, there is a need to provide standardized guidance at the federal level to ensure consistent assessment of human health risks posed by contaminated sites under federal custodianship in any jurisdiction or geographic location across the country.
Health Canada has also developed a series of guidance documents that will consolidate best practices in stakeholder engagement and provide advice and techniques.
This guidance document provides the context, techniques and tools covered in the public involvement training sessions. The document includes information and tools to help answer the following questions:
This guidance document provides an introduction to understanding the psychosocial effects of individuals living and working near a contaminated site. It also outlines the community capacity approach to addressing these issues, and provides strategies for building a successful public involvement plan. It was designed to work in conjunction with the Improving Stakeholder Relationships guidance document.
A Guide to Involving Aboriginal Peoples in Contaminated Site Management
The purpose of this guide is to introduce managers of contaminated sites to the fundamentals of public involvement, the importance of Aboriginal involvement and best practices for involving Aboriginal peoples in contaminated sites management.
Health Canada's Contaminated Sites Division does extensive research to develop background technical and scientific documents that support the calculation of human health-based soil quality guidelines for various land uses (agricultural, residential, commercial, industrial). The soil quality guidelines are intended to help protect human health and have been integrated with supporting documents from Environment Canada on ecological health.