Canada Consumer Product Safety Act

An Act respecting the safety of consumer products

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in December 2009.

Sponsor

Leona Aglukkaq  Conservative

Status

Considering amendments (House), as of Dec. 15, 2009
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment modernizes the regulatory regime for consumer products in Canada. It creates prohibitions with respect to the manufacturing, importing, selling, advertising, packaging and labelling of consumer products, including those that are a danger to human health or safety. In addition, it establishes certain measures that will make it easier to identify whether a consumer product is a danger to human health or safety and, if so, to more effectively prevent or address the danger. It also creates application and enforcement mechanisms. This enactment also makes consequential amendments to the Hazardous Products Act.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

June 15th, 2010 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Thank you.

The other thing before I get into some specific questions is that I want to indicate my appreciation for what I think was a very good take note debate. I noted the interest of the Prime Minister. I noted your significant interest last night and certainly a very strong presence from our side of the bench in terms of listening and hearing, in terms of making sure about where we might go next.

In terms of getting into direct questions, I note that in the opening remarks you talked about the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. It was introduced as Bill C-36 last week. Of course, this committee has a special connection to that prior bill that was introduced, so could you tell us how this will be different from Bill C-6?

June 10th, 2010 / 8:20 a.m.
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Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Do we know how micro-materials affect health and the environment? There is a lack of information on the effects of transforming micro-materials into nanomaterials. That is a first, relatively general question.

Ms. Maniet, you spoke to us about European regulations, which are much more stringent. I would like to know if that is only in terms of labelling or if that is also the case with the identification of hazardous products. You have the good fortune to be sitting directly beside the parliamentary secretary to the minister. He will be able to tell you whether the former Bill C-6 was re-introduced yesterday and provide you with much more specific information.

My final question is for Mr. Roco.

Given the amounts invested in the United States for research into determining the impact of nanotechnologies, I would like to know whether that research yielded interesting results.

June 10th, 2010 / 8 a.m.
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Lecturer and Research Agent, Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la biologie, la santé, la société et l'environnement (CINBIOSE) et Groupe de recherche en droit international et comparé de la consommation (GREDICC), Université du Québec à Montréal

Françoise Maniet

In Canada, we know that Bill C-6 was unfortunately withdrawn. We hope that the bill will soon be revived so that Canada may have a legislative framework comparable to that of the European Union.

I now come to the issue of convergence. I would simply like to point out the areas of convergence between the European Union and Canada. If we consider only those measures that have been implemented today, i.e., concrete measures, we find that there is not much of a difference between the European Union and Canada in the area of nanotechnologies, since there are no general regulations, with the exception—as I have already indicated—of the cosmetics and food additive industries—but there is not enough time for me to address that.

There is no common definition or classification of nanomaterials. Neither is there any pre-market control mechanism. Risk assessment methods are somewhat inadequate. There is no mandatory labelling and no transparency in terms of nanotechnology uses and applications. All of those issues are unanimously recognized as priorities on which we have to start working. All experts agree on that.

Thank you.

June 1st, 2010 / 9:05 a.m.
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Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Thank you.

I support this motion. I think it's a good motion.

We all know that Bill C-6 was before this committee. It was passed by this committee. It was passed by the House, and it got bogged down or derailed in the Senate. Other than that, it would have been legislation by now. I know that the Minister of Health certainly supports it as well and has great concerns that Bill C-6 did not pass the Senate and get royal assent.

So I support this motion. I hope we can pass it and move on.

June 1st, 2010 / 9:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Whereas the Minister of Health stated in the House of Commons, with respect to consumer product safety, on November 26 that “without Bill C-6, our government does not have the authority to order a product recall when companies fail to act on safety concerns”, and that “without Bill C-6, we do not have the tools needed to protect Canadians and their families”, and on December 7, that “one death is one...too many”, I move:

That the Standing Committee on Health request that the Minister of Health immediately reintroduce comprehensive product safety legislation.

Fairness at the Pumps ActGovernment Orders

May 10th, 2010 / 6:25 p.m.
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NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

It was prorogation that killed Bill C-6 in the Senate. It was not just a senator. I thank the member. That was the real reason. Where is that bill? It has not come back here.

If we are talking about consumer protection, whether it is hockey sticks, gas pumps, toxic toys, all of those things, we have to be tough on crime because it is a theft from the pockets of consumers. They need to get the gasoline they pay for, every drop of it. If not, it is not fair.

Fairness at the Pumps ActGovernment Orders

May 10th, 2010 / 6:25 p.m.
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NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Oh, that is what happened. It was prorogation that actually made Bill C-6--

Fairness at the Pumps ActGovernment Orders

May 10th, 2010 / 6:20 p.m.
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NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Madam Speaker, that is a very good question. First, NDP stands for the New Democratic Party of Canada. The extra “P” that the member added could stand for protection. That is what we want to do. We want to protect the consumers, unlike the Conservatives and the Liberals.

We supported Bill C-6. We supported making sure there are clear mandatory regulations governing toxic toys and making sure that Health Canada has the power for mandatory recalls. Yes, it was unfortunate that it was shot down in the Senate.

I want to know why the Conservative government is not bringing back a bill that would protect the children of Canada. Because right now--

Fairness at the Pumps ActGovernment Orders

May 10th, 2010 / 6:20 p.m.
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Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Madam Speaker, I have been listening quite intently to the blustering of the hon. member from the NDP party. It is quite amazing some of the things the NDP party members try to purport as facts, such as the HST. I do not know if they really understand that it is up to the province to decide whether in fact it wants to bring in the HST.

Those members did not support our budgets which meant that they did not support any of the activities and the building Canada projects which would have been in their own ridings. I am wondering why they try to confuse the issue with non-facts.

In terms of protection of consumers in Canada, in fact it was the Liberal Party and the Senate that blocked Bill C-6 which would have afforded Canadians protection with respect to dangerous products in Canada.

Why have the NDP members been fighting our budget, fighting their own constituents? Why do they not want to have projects done in their own backyard?

May 6th, 2010 / 9:25 a.m.
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Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Scott Vaughan

Thank you for the question.

First of all, as you underscore and as the witnesses have said, the issue of labelling has long been discussed, and we've noted where we thought the state of debate is at the moment. Part of that, as one of the witnesses said, is that there's still an outstanding debate between the issue of chronic and acute and how effective they are.

It would seem to us that we did not and would not enter into what seems a policy discussion on where that will finally land. However, we did also note at the international level some countries have adopted labelling under a UN initiative and that the evidence we had on that particular issue was that Canada wanted to harmonize its efforts with those of the United States.

On the specific issue of lead in toys and lead in products more generally, from our understanding of the history, there were various attempts to enter into voluntary agreements with industry, including with partners from outside Canada, from the import side, and that the label then was one of the options the departments had looked at. In the end, they decided to settle on an acceptable threshold, after which any product which exceeded that threshold would be an unacceptable or illegal product, essentially.

Finally, on why we did not make the recommendation, when were doing this audit, Bill C-6 was still very much in discussion, and we didn't move forward given the context of the Bill C-6 discussions.

May 6th, 2010 / 9:10 a.m.
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Glenda Yeates Deputy Minister, Department of Health

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and members of the committee.

Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, it is a pleasure to be here today to discuss the report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

It's a great pleasure to be here and we'd like to thank the commissioner for his comments with respect to the department.

This is my first opportunity as the Deputy Minister of Health to appear before your committee, and I am very happy that it's on a topic that is of such importance to Canadians.

Health Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians and takes very seriously its responsibility to manage substances that are harmful to human health.

Health Canada and Environment Canada already have extensive risk management policies in place to address the risks from many harmful substances, including lead and mercury. While these strategies were not in the consolidated from we now use, risk management actions for lead and mercury have been developed, implemented and monitored. We also monitor their effectiveness.

Decades ago, lead was identified as a dangerous substance. Over the last 40 years, the Government of Canada has introduced a number of initiatives to reduce exposure, and we've seen the levels of lead in the blood of Canadians drop dramatically. In fact, this is often cited in the public health field as a major success story. During that time Canada has also reduced its man-made mercury emissions by 90%, as my colleague from the Department of the Environment noted.

But we continue to want to move forward in protecting Canadians by implementing a solid chemicals management plan, one that is based on very sound and thorough science. This is a plan that assesses and manages the risks of chemical substances to human health and the environment.

As part of this plan, we set out to assess 200 of the highest-priority substances by 2011 and introduce whatever risk management would be required. I'm pleased to report to the committee that we are on schedule, having already completed final assessments for 120 of the substances on that list.

Just to put this in some perspective, we have accelerated our risk assessments from roughly 70 substances over 18 years to, rather, 70 substances every year. As I mentioned, we're on schedule, then, to complete the targeted assessments by 2011.

Health Canada continues to conduct research that gives us insight into the hazards associated with other chemicals and guides the way we monitor their impact on human health.

Our own assessments of the risks of Bisphenol A lead to Canada becoming the first country in the world to ban baby bottles made with that chemical. Canada was also the first country in the world to limit lead in children's jewelry, and we have some of the most stringent lead limits in the world.

We continue to monitor new scientific information on chemicals to determine whether additional action is needed. As recognized in the audit, we are currently doing this for lead. As we revise our risk management strategy, we will implement the commissioner's recommendation to develop a comprehensive and consolidated description of all of our actions and progress to date and outline any remaining actions and timelines.

With respect to the observation in the report about the labelling of consumer products, we were very thoughtful and focused on the fact that one of the three pillars of our approach to regulation is active prevention. This reinforces the notion that an informed consumer is in fact an integral part in the assurance of safety of consumer products. To that end, we recognize that labelling is one of a number of tools in the regulatory tool kit. However, there is still significant debate around the world about how and when to use this tool most effectively.

When the labelling issue was debated by a committee of the House of Commons when it was examining the former Bill C-6, the proposed Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, it was agreed that there was no simple solution. But the bill was then consequently amended to include the creation of an advisory committee which, among other things, would provide advice on issues such as labelling. Having an advisory committee that would consider and give us expert advice on labelling could supplement the work that we are already doing within the department with respect to chemicals that are used by consumers and chemicals that are used in the workplace.

Finally, I can assure the Committee that Health Canada collaborates effectively with Environment Canada. Scientists and managers from both departments jointly develop risk-management strategies to protect both human health and the environment.

As such, we are implementing the recommendations found in the report of the Commissioner of the Environment, and I would like to assure all members of the committee that Health Canada is committed to continuing to work with Environment Canada to enhance our risk management strategies and to monitor their performance.

Thank you very much.

Merci.

Product SafetyOral Questions

May 3rd, 2010 / 2:50 p.m.
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Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of Canadians has been a concern of our government. That is why we took actions last fall to introduce Bill C-6. Unfortunately, the Liberal senators amended the legislation. We will be working again to reintroduce this legislation because the health and safety of our children is our number one priority.

Product SafetyOral Questions

May 3rd, 2010 / 2:50 p.m.
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Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we tabled the legislation last year, the consumer product safety act, Bill C-6. Unfortunately, there were amendments made in the Senate. We will continue to work with stakeholders to improve the legislation and reintroduce it sometime in this House.

Product SafetyOral Questions

May 3rd, 2010 / 2:50 p.m.
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NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament, one of the pieces of legislation he wiped out, Bill C-6, was supposed to improve the safety of products sold in Canada. Last week, we learned about another unsafe children's product. This time it was baby cribs.

Millions of Canadians are concerned for their safety and also the safety of their children. Yet, product safety has not made it back to the Conservative agenda.

When will the government take action and put the safety of Canadians ahead of its own political interests?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

March 22nd, 2010 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Conservative Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to participate in the debate today on the Speech from the Throne.

I would remind the House that our government has repeatedly stated that jobs and economic growth is its top priority. This is a theme that was central throughout the throne speech.

Since July 2009, Canada has created 160,000 new jobs, tangible evidence, I would submit, that Canada's economic action plan is working. Statistics Canada reported that Canada's unemployment rate fell from 8.3% to 8.2% in February and that 21,000 new jobs had been created last month. That is the fifth month of job gains in the past seven months, but our determination remains unchanged. Our government will not be satisfied until every Canadian who has lost his or her job is working again.

In that regard, we are completing year two of our economic action plan with an additional $19 billion of stimulus spending to create and protect jobs. We will invest in new targeted initiatives and make Canada a destination of choice for new business investment. We continue to lower taxes to maintain Canada's competitive advantage and significantly we will establish the red tape reduction panel to reduce paperwork for business.

Many of my constituents in the riding of Edmonton—St. Albert are small business owners. It was with great enthusiasm that I told them that an advisory committee on small business and entrepreneurship made up of business persons would be created to provide advice on improving business access to federal programs and for information.

Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and sustain us in whatever economic situation we may currently be facing. I submit that the small and medium-sized enterprise innovation and commercialization program will allow small and medium-sized business to develop and promote innovative prototype products and technologies to federal departments and agencies.

However, Canadians want to know that their government will do everything possible to ensure the future economic stability and growth of this country. An integral part of our government's strategy is the reduction of the deficit and a return to balanced budgets. In that regard, we will follow a three-point plan: we will wind down temporary stimulus measures, restrain growth in spending and conduct an in-depth review of the government's administrative functions and overhead costs.

The economic recession has affected every corner of the globe. No country remains untouched but Canada has risen to lead the way with the soundest financial system in the world. The Speech from the Throne emphasizes our response as measured and responsible and makes it clear that Canada is well on its way to economic recovery and stability.

The focus of the throne speech may be the economy and job creation. However, our government remains just as committed to its safe streets and safe communities agenda. The government has addressed the issues of crime by bringing forward legislation mandating prison sentences and ensuring that criminals serve the sentences they have been given.

We will continue to focus on protecting the most vulnerable among us, our children, by increasing the penalties for sexual offences against children and strengthening the sex offender registry. We intend to introduce legislation to crack down on white collar crime and ensure that tougher sentences are issued. As recent high profile cases remind us, white collar crime is all too prevalent and affects many hard-working Canadians personally as they see a lifetime of savings disappear instantly.

The Speech from the Throne points out that our justice system must be made to be more effective. As a result, we will introduce legislation that would cut the number of protracted trials and offer tangible support to victims of crime and their families. The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime welcomed the government's additional funding of $6.6 million over two years as the way to build on its earlier investment in the federal victims' strategy and the creation of the federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.

The throne speech outlines the need to move forward on essential legislation, including the repeal of the long gun registry and the re-introduction in their original form of the then Bill C-6, the consumer safety law, and the then Bill C-15, the anti-drug crime law, some pivotal pieces of our government's crime agenda.

The former Bill C-15, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, is designed to tackle drug crimes and would mandate two year prison sentences for dealing drugs, such as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamines, to youth. It would also increase penalties for trafficking in GHB and flunitrazepam, most commonly known as the date rape drugs. Mandatory minimum sentences would also be imposed for the production and sale of illicit drugs.

Significantly, it also would allow the drug treatment courts, such as the one in Edmonton, to suspend a sentence where the addicted accused person takes an appropriate treatment program. Drug treatment courts encourage the accused person to deal with the addiction that motivates his or her criminal behaviour and break the cycle of crime to further his or her drug addiction.

New offences would be created for gang-related drug offences, as well as drug offences that are specifically targeted toward children, such as selling drugs near our schools. The hon. Minister of Justice has said “these measures are a proportionate and measured response designed to disrupt criminal enterprise; drug producers and dealers who threaten the safety of our communities must face tougher penalties”.

In my view, these changes are long overdue. They would send a strong signal to criminals that it is unacceptable for them to put dangerous drugs onto our street. We must protect our children from drugs and other illicit behaviour and ensure that drug dealers end up where they belong: behind bars.

I look forward to the reintroduction of that bill.

The former Bill C-46, investigative powers for the 21st century act, would ensure law enforcement and national security agencies have the tools they need to fight crime and terrorism in today's high-tech environment. Legislation must be updated to reflect an ever-evolving technological world and to provide investigators with modern communication technologies to perform complex investigations.

When this bill is reintroduced, the amendments would address the constant struggle to keep up with the high-tech world. It would create a new offence, carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years, to prohibit anyone from using a computer system, such as the Internet, to agree or make arrangements with any other person for the purposes of sexually exploiting a child. This new offence would also be used in the context of undercover investigations. Police would also be able to obtain data from the telephone and the Internet by creating a new concept called “transmission data”.

Those and several other additional changes to help police obtain transmission data would allow law enforcement agencies to track domestic cybercrime and enhance international co-operation. Cybercrime has no borders and the transnational nature of organized criminal activity means that international co-operation is not a luxury but a necessity.

This proposed legislation, when reintroduced, aims to provide the police and other stakeholders with the tools they need to investigate computer and computer-related crimes while ensuring that the rights of Canadians are protected.

The Speech from the Throne highlights the decisive actions our government has taken to crack down on crime and ensure the safety and security of our communities, and we will move ahead with this critical crime legislation. We take the issue of law and order seriously to make this a stronger and safer Canada, both now and for the future.

The struggle to keep up with emerging criminal technologies and crime is a constant struggle, full of setbacks, both for law enforcement and for legislators, with sometimes minor and occasionally major advances. However, it is a pivotal struggle for lawmakers because the laws that we debate and pass in this House must be premised on preserving the safety and liberty of law-abiding citizens.

As indicated, it is a constant and pivotal struggle but, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, one of the authors of the U.S. constitution and defender of liberty, ”Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”.