An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Status

Report stage (House), as of March 20, 2018

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill S-5.

Summary

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

Part 1 of this enactment amends the Tobacco Act. In order to respond to the report of the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Health entitled Vaping: Toward a Regulatory Framework for E-Cigarettes, it amends the Act to regulate the manufacture, sale, labelling and promotion of vaping products and changes the title of the Act accordingly. It also amends certain provisions of the Act relating to tobacco products, including with respect to product standards, disclosure of product information, product sale, sending and delivery and product promotion. The schedule to the Act is amended to add menthol and cloves as prohibited additives in all tobacco products. As well, it adds new provisions to the Act, including in respect of inspection and seizure.

Part 1 also makes consequential amendments to the Food and Drugs Act and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.

Part 2 of this enactment amends the Non-smokers’ Health Act to regulate the use of vaping products in the federal workplace and on certain modes of transportation.

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.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

March 22nd, 2018 / 3:10 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, members are here to work on behalf of their constituents, and we will focus on the priorities that Canadians sent us here to focus on.

This afternoon, we will continue debate on the Conservative opposition motion. Tomorrow, we will begin debate at second reading stage of Bill C-71 on firearms. We will resume this debate next Monday and Tuesday.

Tuesday we will resume second reading debate of Bill C-68, the fisheries legislation. Also, following question period that day, we will deal with the ways and means motion on the budget tabled earlier this morning. Finally, on Thursday, we will commence report stage and third reading of Bill S-5, on vaping.

I would like to remind colleagues that we will have Friday sitting hours for Holy Thursday next week.

HealthCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 20th, 2018 / 10:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Casey Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Health, in relation to Bill S-5, an act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

In tabling this, I want to thank all the members of the committee and all the people who made presentations to the committee to help us understand the impacts of smoking and vaping. We learned that every 14 minutes someone in Canada dies of a nicotine-related illness, and that every day 100,000 young people start to smoke. This bill would help to discourage that trend. Again, I want to thank the committee and all those who participated.

The committee amended this bill, and I think we made it better. The report was passed unanimously by all parties. In the end, I am confident that this legislation will have an immediate impact and make Canadians healthier and safer.

March 19th, 2018 / 4:30 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Thanks very much.

That concludes our study of Bill S-5.

We're going to take a little break and then we're going to go into committee business. It will be in camera because we have some work-related issues to deal with and some witness lists.

We'll take a break for a few minutes. Thank you very much. In five minutes we'll come back.

[Proceedings continue in camera]

March 19th, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Sonia Sidhu Liberal Brampton South, ON

We propose that Bill S-5, in clause 75, be amended by replacing line 14 on page 44. This is with reference to refillable vaping containers, to provide industry with time to develop refillable vaping devices that meet child-resistant closure requirements. There's no clarification on how toxic the liquid is. As Health Canada plans to introduce regulations that would deal specifically with these risks, amendment is necessary.

March 19th, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

You will recall that at the last discussion of Bill S-5, we brought an amendment on acetate tow. It was ruled out of order because it called for changes to the excise tax law in order to be implemented. It's been reworded, so in order for it to be considered, I would ask for unanimous consent to reopen clause 8.

March 19th, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

All right.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings]

Now we will vote on the motion as amended.

(Motion as amended agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

It's interesting that as the health committee, we deal with urgent issues here. It doesn't matter where they come from. If they're urgent, we deal with them in the proper way, and I think that was the proper way to do that.

Thank you very much, everybody.

Now we go back to Bill S-5. I was hoping to get to a bit of pharmacare today, but it's looking like we might not make it.

We're on clause 71. There are no amendments.

(Clauses 71 to 74 inclusive agreed to)

Go ahead, Ms. Gladu.

March 19th, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

We have a motion to discuss this. It's just very difficult, because we have Bill S-5 and pharmacare and other motions that are waiting to be discussed that are probably just as urgent and as emergent, although I acknowledge how important this issue is. Does anybody have a thought on where our direction is?

March 19th, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

I'm prepared to move the motion at this time if we're going to deal with it. I would say it is moved and we can discuss it right now. As I said, it's not my intention to delay the work that we are doing here today. If we could we take a few minutes, fine, and then we could move on to Bill S-5 and pharmacare and complete the work the committee has planned for today.

March 19th, 2018 / 3:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Chair, the intention of my point of order is to put on the record my concern about rushing Bill S-5 through Parliament, and more specifically through this committee, without proper study and without the much-needed due diligence. It expands upon the concerns I raised at the February 28 meeting of this health committee.

I'm very much afraid of the consequences of plain packaging and how it may increase the use of contraband tobacco, both because of increased cost to the consumer as well as decreasing consumer knowledge of the brand of tobacco product. I doubt that plain packaging will have much of an impact on smoking rates, as we've seen recently in Australia. It may actually lead to an increase in the total consumption of cigarettes.

In Australia, as you may have noted in a recent March 12 article in The Australian, the University of New South Wales questions the effectiveness of measures to reduce smoking that have been put in place in that country, and that was without even considering the black market contraband purchases that are now widely available since plain packaging was introduced there.

Even a small increase in contraband means an increase in funding for organized crime and for terrorist organizations. We heard from Dr. Eyolfson that he considered me ridiculous for confirming the threats to Canada from the sale of contraband tobacco, but, Mr. Chair, these threats have been documented by such groups as the Library of Congress Federal Research Division; the congressional 9-11 Commission; the Cato Institute; the Macdonald-Laurier Institute; the United States Government Accountability Office; the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police-led Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit contraband tobacco initiative; the Ontario Provincial Police contraband tobacco enforcement plan; the federal Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre, which you may more commonly known as FINTRAC; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which specifically cited Canadian intelligence officials who helped prosecute international jihadi terrorists who were using contraband tobacco to fund their activities; Interpol; the OECD; the Center for International Maritime Security; the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe; and the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism. It's quite an impressive list.

None of these organizations that have either researched or directly dealt with contraband and its negative effects in Canada were called before this committee to discuss the potentially negative consequences of this bill. The groups that sell and profit from contraband tobacco are, or have links to, international terrorist organizations and organized crime organizations. This committee did not hear from law enforcement officials, who will have to deal with the mess that this bill could create if we do not do our due diligence.

Mr. Chair, we need to learn from our errors and from the errors of others. In the 1990s, both Conservative and Liberal governments learned about the risks of overtaxing tobacco products. An explosion in contraband occurred, so they lowered taxes on tobacco, and, not coincidentally, that reduced illegal contraband sales.

Unfortunately, recently both the Ontario Liberals and the federal Liberals have increased their taxes on tobacco in their latest budgets. I'm not against increasing luxury taxes on unhealthy products, but I am against it when it drives up sales of illegal contraband that fund all sorts of nasty activities.

Weeks after their forgettable budget, the Liberals seem to be set on giving another potential gift to contraband in the form of plain packaging. Bill S-5 very much feels like an omnibus bill, because it changes very different aspects of the tobacco industry, including plain packaging for tobacco products and regulating the vaping industry, among other measures.

Thankfully, Bill S-5 will not ban nicotine and vaping products as they have done in Australia. I say “thankfully” because many smokers want to quit or at least practise their addiction in a much safer way, but I do have concerns that Bill S-5 could be too strict on the vaping industry as well.

Mr. Chair, the last meeting was a great source of frustration. We had not heard from very many witnesses who could have educated the committee on many different aspects of this bill. Instead, we plowed ahead with clause-by-clause consideration on amendments that we got barely 24 hours before the meeting—some of those amendments being received the day of, in fact, after our arrival in the room for the meeting.

We did not have sufficient time to properly understand the amendments nor what their impacts could be, which is why I did not vote on any of those amendments. I didn't feel that I had been adequately informed about them or that I had an opportunity to see what the consequences, good and bad, could be. I want to be diligent.

Procedurally, when a bill such as Bill S-5 comes before Parliament, it's important that we as legislators not rush the process. It's imperative that we proceed responsibly.

Our responsibilities as members of Parliament are described on pages 404-405 of the fourth edition of Bourinot's Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada, published in 1916, and I quote:

All the checks and guards which the wisdom of English parliamentarians has imposed in the course of centuries upon public expenditures now exist in their full force in the parliament of the dominion. ...when burthens are to be imposed on the people, every opportunity must be given for free and frequent discussion, so that parliament may not, by sudden and hasty votes, incur any expenses, or be induced to approve of measures, which may entail heavy and lasting burthens upon the country.

In a ruling from Speaker Fraser on April 14, 1987, regarding the government's use of majority to limit debate on important bills, Speaker Fraser had this to say:

It is essential to our democratic system that controversial issues should be debated at reasonable length so that every reasonable opportunity shall be available to hear the arguments pro and con and that reasonable delaying tactics should be permissible to enable opponents of a measure to enlist public support for their point of view. Sooner or later every issue must be decided and the decision will be taken by a majority.

I believe that we've just scratched the surface on the first part of Speaker Fraser's comments with regard to Bill S-5, and we are nowhere near the “sooner or later” part of this.

Occasionally the House and its committees take the necessary time to consider complex legislation. The Naval Aid bill of 1913 was such a case with regard to granting a $35 million donation to Great Britain for its navy. At the committee of the whole they kept the House going, virtually in continuous session, for as long as two weeks. That was the first time that closure had been used in our chamber. We had the famous and lengthy pipeline debate in 1956, the Energy Security Act of 1982, and we had a very lengthy debate on GST. Mr. Chair, quite frankly, the ability to have such debates is one of the last great tools of a democracy.

Beauchesne's sixth edition Parliamentary Rules and Forms, chapter 3, outlines some elements of the Constitution Act and our system of government that I believe are very relevant to this point:

More tentative are such traditional features as respect for the rights of the minority, which precludes a Government from using to excess the extensive powers that it has to limit debate or to proceed in what the public and the Opposition might interpret as unorthodox ways.

Beauchesne further describes the fundamental principles of our democracy as, and I quote:

To protect a minority and restrain the improvidence or tyranny of the majority; to secure the transaction of public business in an orderly manner; to enable every Member to express opinions within limits necessary to preserve decorum and prevent an unnecessary waste of time; to give abundant opportunity for the consideration of every measure, and to prevent any legislative action being taken upon sudden impulse.

Mr. Chair, I'm citing these points not to have endless debate but rather to gather as much information pertinent to Bill S-5 as is possible and to hear from a wider range of witnesses to provide us with this information. This committee has set everything aside to try to rush this legislation through here and through Parliament without what I believe is the necessary due diligence.

I urge this committee, before it's too late, to listen to more witnesses and seriously consider the consequences of enacting Bill S-5 without due diligence. I ask that the chair reopen the calendar to hear a wider range of witnesses and that the committee commit to getting this Bill S-5 study done right by reopening the study and delaying a committee stage referral to the House of Commons.

March 19th, 2018 / 3:30 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

We will bring our meeting to order. This is meeting number 95 of the Standing Committee on Health. We are studying Bill S-5, an act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

I have previous notification of a point of order from Ms. Finley.

February 28th, 2018 / 6:15 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Look, it's a fundamental rule. The rule is that since the Excise Act, 2001 is not being amended by Bill S-5, it is the opinion of the chair that the amendment goes beyond the scope of the bill and is therefore inadmissible.

It isn't up to the health officials. This is a process rule. You can't amend another act if the original bill doesn't include that act. If the original bill is not affecting the Excise Act, you can't drag the excise tax in and amend it.

February 28th, 2018 / 6:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

This amendment was to amend the definition of manufacture and sell in the Tobacco Act to clarify that these activities include the manufacture and sale of tobacco products for export. I think it's pretty straightforward.

February 28th, 2018 / 6:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Sonia Sidhu Liberal Brampton South, ON

Mr. Chair, I would like to propose that Bill S-5 in clause 63 be amended by replacing line 32 on page 40 with the following:

(2), 23.1(1) or (2) or 23.2(1) or (2), section 23.3, subsection 24(1) or (2), section 25,

February 28th, 2018 / 5:45 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

This amendment is directed at a different part of vaping promotions. It has to do with incentives.

This would add restrictions on the location of permitted incentive promotions. It would restrict permitted incentive promotions, for example price discounts, to specialty vaping product retail stores. At present Bill S-5 would permit, in places where young people do not have legal access, extensive incentive promotions for vaping products. But as we heard, although young people may not have access to these locations, these are places like bars, casinos, concerts, where non-smokers would be exposed. So for much the same reason we want to ensure that advertising is not targeted at non-smokers for nicotine, we want to make sure that incentive promotions are not targeted at non-smokers as well.

Again, Mr. Chair, I just want to reiterate that the only merit we heard from vaping products for tobacco is they are a preferable nicotine delivery system to tobacco. Nobody says they're safe and nobody says that there are health benefits to them and nobody wants any Canadian who presently doesn't ingest nicotine to take up the habit of ingesting nicotine by vaping products, so why would we permit incentive promotions to be targeted at non-smokers?

February 28th, 2018 / 5:20 p.m.
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Director General, Tobacco Control Directorate, Department of Health

James Van Loon

A direct answer to your question is that on the day that Bill S-5 passed, it was unamended from here. Yes, that would be possible to put on billboards and stuff like that. Those ads would not be allowed to be appealing to kids; they would not be allowed to be lifestyle advertising. Furthermore, we do have this very broad regulatory authority to narrow that right down. With regard to any consultation document we put out about the regulation of vaping products in August of last year, we put some additional parameters about how we would propose to use that regulatory authority. It does talk about sports arenas and other places where there are lots of kids congregating.