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Posted: May 30, 2007
Canadian nanotechnology policy framework
(Nanowerk News) In March, CIELAP, the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, held a one-day workshop in Toronto to explore policy
considerations for nanotechnology. Along with additional research, this workshop provided the
basis for CIELAP to develop a proposed Canadian Nanotechnology Policy framework (pdf download, 672 KB)
CIELAP supports a goal statement and context for nanotechnology policy that is centred on an
explicit recognition and endorsement of sustainable development. The policy challenges for
nanotechnology are enormous, and currently are dominated by a lack both of scientific
information and also of basic policy tools, including definitions and metrology; a legal and
regulatory framework; and structures and resources for public engagement.
Despite these huge gaps, however, many parallels with other issues and institutional arrangements exist, and could
be adapted for nanotechnology. Due to nanotechnology’s extraordinarily rapid
commercialization and development, speed and a strong sense of urgency are needed by
government for a responsible Canadian approach to the creation of policy for this area.
The paper outlines are twelve key elements that CIELAP believes must be addressed in any Canadian
policy framework for nanotechnology: (1) Basic societal goals; (2) Public education and
engagement; (3) An inventory of activities and information sources; (4) Lead agencies; (5)
Technical issues such as terminology and metrology; (6) Regulatory approach, including science,
risk assessment, and stakeholder involvement; (7) Labeling and consumer protection; (8)
Liability and intellectual property regimes; (9) Science and research support; (10)
Commercialization and social and economic benefits; (11) Training; and (12) Security concerns.
CIELAP’s perspective on each of these twelve topics is presented in the pdf document.
Source: CIELAP (hat tip to Mike Treder at Responsible Nanotechnology)