Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Division 19 has two major changes to the Food and Drugs Act that are fairly narrow in scope. The first relates to how Health Canada will tell the system what is or is not a prescription drug. The second relates to food and food safety.
If you go to clause 413, that's where the prescription measure begins. What we're looking at here is that Health Canada will do a scientific assessment when a drug comes in and will measure whether a drug needs to be sold under prescription or not. That science is meant to remain stable. We use very long-standing criteria to make that assessment. We're intending to make the change as a result of the following. Beyond the science, it takes quite a long time to reflect a change to the regulatory schedule, which we now call schedule F. So we want to eliminate that long time to reflect the scientific decision.
The tool allows the minister to create a list of what were formerly schedule F drugs. That list is then incorporated by reference to proposed section 29.2. To make sure that works in a very transparent way, you'll see measures ensuring that no one is held accountable in terms of compliance unless that list is accessible.
The changes to food would also follow the same pattern. So we're looking at a set of decisions that Health Canada has to make on issues like food additives, for example, or a substance used in a food. There's a scientific assessment made before that substance is allowed to be used by manufacturers. The instrument would allow the minister to make a new housing for that rule through a ministerial regulation and incorporate a list of substances. So it would eliminate the very long time it now takes to express the scientific finding in a regulation. So we can move away from taking something like citric acid in peaches rather than pears and going through a whole regulatory amendment.
Following the marketing authorization sections, there is also a more general incorporation by reference to provision in proposed subsection 30.5. This would create the same agility except around issues like contaminants. So it would allow the minister to incorporate by reference a list of contaminants that should not be in something like fish or other products, for example.
Again, the premarket science is intended to remain the same. The efficiencies are gained through the administrative lists, and we think there's also a safety gain to be made in this system since it moves important antimicrobials and other food safety measures into the system faster.