CDA has been communicating with the minister of the environment and the minister of health to ensure that the regulation of medical devices in Canada remains under the authority of Health Canada.

Most recently, this issue arose in relation to ongoing negotiations over an international mercury control treaty that could potentially limit the global supply of dental amalgam.

In advance of the 3rd session of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee meetings, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya, in November 2011, CDA president Dr. Robert MacGregor wrote to Peter Kent, the minister of the environment, requesting that Canada adopt a position that would see medical devices exempted from this international treaty.

Specifically, CDA asked that the “regulation of medical devices should be carved out from the UNEP mercury treaty to allow national health regulators to address medical devices in a fashion that supports the best possible health outcomes.”

This request by CDA is consistent with Environment Canada’s sound understanding of the need to avoid any initiatives that could encroach on the authority of Health Canada over the regulation of medical devices. The minister of the environment responded favourably to CDA’s request and ensured that they would take dentistry’s concerns into consideration at future negotiation sessions.

NEP is looking to secure a legally binding international treaty that aims to ban the use of mercury. This treaty primarily targets the mining of mercury and related commercial activities, but mercury found in medical devices (such as dental amalgam) is currently included in an annex to the proposed treaty.


Read the letter from CDA to the minister of the environment.

Read the response from the minister of the environment.