Evidence of meeting #24 for Health in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was amendment.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Charles Ethier  Director General, Consumer Product Safety Directorate, Department of Health
  • Paul Glover  Assistant Deputy Minister, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Department of Health
  • Robert Ianiro  Director, Consumer Product Safety, Department of Health
  • Marc Toupin  Procedural Clerk
  • Diane Labelle  General Counsel, Legal Services Unit, Department of Health

5 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

How will CEPA deal with mixtures, and until that happens, wouldn't it be better to be able to do this product by product?

5 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Department of Health

Paul Glover

Madam Chair, there is no jurisdiction that yet has the tool to deal with all the potential mixtures. We continue to assess individual substances. We can look at the cumulative exposures of that substance through all its potential uses, but when you look at mixtures in one product and another product and how they all come together, there is new science that is required to be able to do that. We think we're close to that, but we're not there yet—Canada or any other jurisdiction.

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

Dr. Carrie.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Thanks.

I'm just going to make an observation, because I think when we talk about the chemical management plan we're talking about CEPA. But I think the government handles the environment differently. This is about the consumer products. I think we're getting off track here. My understanding is that the general prohibition allows you to keep exactly the problem the opposition brings up. It allows you to deal with the science quickly as you know more. You don't have to go through the other way. It moves incredibly fast because you have this general prohibition. As soon as you find out the danger, you can move. Is that right?

5 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Department of Health

Paul Glover

As the science evolves, with the general prohibition, we will be able to move, and move quickly.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

And move a lot faster. Okay, well, I'm comfortable, Madam Chair, moving the question.

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

Yes. I am. Thank you.

Let's go to the question on proposed new clause 8.1.

(Amendment negatived)

We have to go back to clause 8.

There are no amendments to clause 8. New clause 8.1 is a totally new clause; we had to treat that differently. Let's go back to clause 8.

(Clause 8 agreed to)

(On clause 14—Definition of “incident”)

We have two amendments to clause 14. The first one is G-3 on page 6 of the package. That's a government one by Dr. Carrie.

Dr. Carrie, would you like to speak to that one?

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Yes. Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

Various groups raised concerns with respect to the incident reporting timelines proposed. This would allow industry participants to have adequate time to provide a written report for health or safety reasons.

What we're suggesting here is that Bill C-6, in clause 14, be amended by replacing line 45 on page 8 with the following:

within 10 days after the day on which

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

Thank you.

Do we want some comments from the officials? Okay.

(Amendment agreed to)

We'll now go to Dr. Bennett's amendment.

Would you like to make a comment on that amendment, Doctor?

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

I think this just clarifies the timelines from the time the minister hears it, stating what is required in terms of the public notice, including how specific the public notice must be in terms of the nature of the effects that could happen from the incident, and also actually using the marketed names of the products, such that it's very clear to Canadians.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

Could we have comment from the officials on this one?

5:05 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Department of Health

Paul Glover

With respect, Madam Chair, the government believes that meaningful information is most important to Canadians. We have some concerns that this will lead to information that might be hard for Canadians to interpret. A wealth of information is useful, we acknowledge, but sifting through it to find out what is relevant could be problematic. We receive a broad range of complaints, some of which are upheld, but some are not. We do, right now, publish all recalls on a database on our website. We anticipate looking at trends and providing consumers with more meaningful information and analysis of these that would be helpful to them, rather than just a raw “here's everything we've received” with no analysis of trends of the results of investigations.

We are committed to transparency. We are committed to meaningful information and are concerned that this will actually not lead to meaningful information.

(Amendment negatived)

(Clause 14 as amended carried)

(On clause 30--Recall)

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

Dr. Bennett, could you speak to this one, please? We'll start with the amendment by Dr. Bennett.

June 4th, 2009 / 5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

This is very much in keeping with the amendment that we had to Bill C-11. We believe that the people of Canada deserve to know that the minister is getting the best possible advice, but also what that advice is. We are hoping that we will be able to do the same thing again. This is a bill that is expected to reflect the most recent science, and we want the minister to have very good advice, but the people of Canada need to know what advice the minister gets. Sometimes ministers can't do exactly what the science says, but at least the politics stays separate from the science.

I understand from the briefing last night that because this bill is housed in Health Canada instead of in the Public Health Agency of Canada, which already has an advisory committee policy, the officials may want to add some language concerning reimbursement and these kinds of things, because that doesn't exist right now at Health Canada. But the gist of the bill is the same as that of Bill C-11. The implementation of the amendment may need to be enhanced a little bit based on making sure that it happens.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

Are there any comments from the committee?

Dr. Carrie.