CANFER impacts any company that manufactures, distributes, imports, retails, processes or otherwise utilizes composite wood products (plywood, MDF, particleboard.)
The regulation in its existing format is not harmonized with the EPA’s TSCA Title VI as intended, while also increasing administrative and cost burdens unnecessarily and exposing your supply chain. There are very real legal and operational requirements under the existing CANFER that impact your business.
What is TSCA Title VI and CANFER?
Our Message to Government
How You Can Help
In 2010, the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act was signed into law and become the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Title VI. The rule came into effect in the US in 2017, following which manufacturers in North America successfully lobbied the government of Canada to introduce its own regulation aimed at being harmonized with Title VI and creating a unified system across the countries for manufacturers, downstream suppliers, retailers, and consumers. The Canadian regulation became known as CANFER, and came into effect in early 2023.
Both TSCA and CANFER established new requirements for manufacturers, downstream manufacturers, suppliers, importers/exporters, and retailers. Unlike TSCA Title VI which has a relatively low burden to businesses, CANFER has a chain of custody requirement to pass all certifications from the original panel manufacturer through the entire supply chain to the retailer who must then maintain a physical “library” of declarations at their facilities. Companies could be required to collect, keep, and update 50 to 100 certificates for even a smaller retailer.
This is an unacceptable burden on small businesses, and it is a violation of supply chain confidentiality. It also violates the confidentiality of suppliers who have not given permission to share their supply chain with others, potentially exposing you to litigation. There is a much simpler ‘Ask and Answer’ process aligned with TSCA Title VI that would maintain the onus at each step of the supply chain.
Further, the regulation has numerous minor technical conflicts between TSCA Title VI and CANFER as well as testing and administrative ambiguities that could lead to problems for manufacturers and laminators.
CANFER’s definition of a ‘seller’ does not include exceptions like TSCA for issues like second-hand goods or construction companies
There is no three-level equivalence for formaldehyde emissions ranges like CARB/ TSCA have
The definition of Composite Wood Product is not clear regarding no-added formaldehyde CWP’s and items like lumber core
CANFER seeks specific dates for quarterly testing rather than align with TSCA quarterly testing certification requirements
In these and other cases to be communicated to the government of Canada, the ask is for harmonization with TSCA Title VI as well as reducing unnecessary administrative and cost burdens.
In late 2022, the government of Canada agreed to consult on amending CANFER in 2023 to industry concerns. Now is the time to make the above changes and get this regulation right for industry and the broader public.
The industry must speak with one voice to ensure the necessary changes are advocated for. A response is being spearheaded by the International Wood Products Association (IWPA), coordinating with numerous other associations to ensure that industry has active participation in the process and that meaningful and specific changes are made.
We have begun to work with the Canadian government to purpose reasonable amendments as a unified voice for the benefit of industry, Canada’s trading relationships, and for the broader Canadian public.
These are our principal messages:
The industry welcomes the regulation. The requests are for administrative fixes only, to align CANFER
and TSCA where possible.
The technical issues must be fixed to ensure that the regulated industries understand their exact responsibilities under the rules.
The regulation as it stands is unduly burdensome for Canadian small businesses. The burden of maintaining extensive records from complicated supply chains will land most heavily on retailers and small laminators, who do not have any experience in this area.
The regulation represents a violation of supply chain confidentiality and exposes both immediate and extended proprietary information to competitors. Further, the requirement to share a suppliers’ supply chains may violate confidentiality agreements.
The regulation increases confusion within the marketplace as a retailer who receives dozens of supply chains from various suppliers could very easily mix supplier information.
We need your support to grow The Right Regulation’s coalition and show the government that while the industry supports CANFER in principle, changes must be made to make it work in practice.
Sign on to our coalition, commit to support the financial costs of working with government on submitting amendments and advocating for action to address concerns, and speak to your local elected officials about the need for the above concerns to be addressed.
Contact CANFER@therightreg.ca with questions or to join the coalition.