This is a further attempt to actually carve out level 2 pathogens, but to do it in accordance with some of the concerns raised by my colleagues, like the parliamentary secretary and others, about the need to have some sort of a regulatory framework around level 2 pathogens and toxins.
This really eliminates level 2 pathogens from the prohibition list if they meet--and it requires them to meet--certain very specific requirements, such as ensuring they are part of a licensing regime or registry so that all information about the activity and the labs is known, and so that they are in accordance with the regulatory framework that we have all received from the department. I refer to the human pathogens and toxins act, Bill C-11, the potential treatment of facilities with risk group 2 human pathogens under the program and regulatory framework.
I'm proposing this because I think a safe and effective regulatory framework for level 2 pathogens is necessary, and what I've proposed is something that will not discourage or impede research and patient care. I think it meets the concerns expressed by the witnesses that there needs to be significantly different treatment of level 2 pathogens, but that they not be left just to regulations, that we don't just give a blank cheque for the government to deal with them as they would wish.
I believe it's in line with the Public Health Agency of Canada's treatment of level 2, as outlined in its most recent framework document, which I've just mentioned. I think it's consistent with Director General Theresa Tam's remarks, as recently as March 26, when she said:
The made-in-Canada solution, this Bill C-11 and the program thereafter, is to establish biosafety and biosecurity and to protect Canadians from pathogens. It's important for us to know who holds pathogens, whether they are in risk group 2 or not. All we want to do is to know that when institutions, organizations, and laboratories hold pathogens, we actually know who these people are and that they are handling things in a safe manner, according to laboratory biosafety guidelines.
She goes on to say:
Now, for risk group 2, for the most part, we are not asking for security clearance, because we do not believe they are a bioterrorism risk.
I think this accomplishes everything we've talked about and everything we heard from the witnesses.