Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Nanotechnology Initiative

On February 4, 2011, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and United States (US) President Barack Obama announced the creation of the Canada-US Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) to increase regulatory transparency and cooperation between the two countries. On December 7, 2011 they released the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Action Plan, designed to better align Canadian and US regulatory systems in order to boost North American trade and competitiveness[1]. The RCC Joint Action Plan covered 29 specific initiatives in four main sectors: agriculture and food, transportation, health and personal care products, and the environment; as well as in two cross-sectoral areas: nanotechnology and small business lens.

The RCC Nanotechnology Initiative was subsequently established to increase alignment in regulatory approaches for nanomaterials between Canada and the US[2] in order to reduce risk to human health and the environment, promote the sharing of scientific and regulatory expertise, and foster innovation. In 2012, the lead departments for this initiative - Health Canada, Environment Canada, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - developed the Nanotechnology Work Plan, which included five Work Elements:

  1. Principles: Identification of common principles for the regulation of nanomaterials to help ensure consistency for industry and consumers in both countries.
  2. Priority-Setting: Identification of common criteria for determining characteristics of industrial nanomaterials of concern/no-concern.
  3. Risk Assessment/Management: Sharing of best practices for assessing and managing the risks of industrial nanomaterials.
  4. Commercial Information: Characterization of existing commercial activities and identifying gaps and priorities for future knowledge gathering for industrial nanomaterials.
  5. Regulatory Cooperation in Areas of Emerging Technologies: Development of a model framework outlining key elements and approaches to regulating products and applications of emerging technologies with respect to potential impacts on the environment, human health, food and/or agriculture.

The RCC Nanotechnology Initiative concluded in February, 2014. This report is a general overview of the outcomes achieved.

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[2] Available online at :