Bottom Line: Manitoba, Quebec, and the federal government have taken important steps to limit the phosphorus content of certain cleaning products such as dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, and other household cleaners.

When these products are sent down our household drains, they contribute to environmental damage in our lakes, and lead to problematic algae growth.

While each jurisdiction has tailored its legislation and restrictions slightly differently, generally as of July 1, 2010, the sale, manufacture and importation of dishwashing detergent and similar products containing more than 0.5% phosphorus by weight was prohibited. Furthermore, the federal legislation prescribed important record keeping obligations on Canadian manufacturers and importers relating to products containing phosphorus.

Industry has reacted positively to these amendments, and seems eager to do its part in protecting our valuable water resources. We encourage retailers, manufacturers, distributors and importers to take note of these restrictions and ensure that their products comply with new Canadian standards.  

For more detail, see:

Manitoba: The Phosphorus Reduction Act (Water Protection Act Amendment) under the Water Protection Act

Quebec: Regulation to Prohibit the Sale of Certain Dishwashing Detergents, under the Environmental Quality Act

Federal: Concentration of Phosphorus in Certain Cleaning Products Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act