The latest attack on the natural health-care industry came by way of budget Bill C-47, sponsored by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland.
Through definition changes, the bill subjects the natural health industry to the same powers and regulatory penalties as chemical drug companies. The changes were made to the Food and Drug Act, amendments 500 to 504 specifically.
Constitutional lawyer Shawn Buckley, president of the Natural Health Product Protection association (NHPPA), says this just the latest attack on natural health products and the practitioners that utilize them.
Buckley says that Health Canada — a government organization “responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health” — has been targeting the natural health industry through restrictions and regulations for decades.
Years ago, Buckley cross-examined a Health Canada inspector in court. “She explained that Health Canada is here to enforce the Food and Drug Act regulations, not to protect our health,” he recalls.
Buckley believes that this is all part of harmonizing regulations in favour of chemical drugs. “I think it’s part of moving us into a model where we only have one option,” he says.
“We’re basically at the end game. We’re so far down the road with international harmonization, this is part of getting us all under the World Health Organization umbrella with binding regulations so that all of the Western countries fall under the same kind of umbrella. The regulations might look slightly different, but in essence they’ll be the same.”
The regulations include cost recovery stipulations, which will see prices increase.
Limitations on label claims will be enforced with strict penalties of up $5-million per day for violators. This is a major deterrent for small businesses.
“When penalties get so strict that you can’t resist them, you’re in full tyranny zone,” says Buckley. “This is immensely punitive.”
Buckley’s discussion paper on the subject provides a full background and scope of the issue plaguing the natural health industry, and details the bureaucrats responsible for the overreach.
The NHPPA will also be elaborating on and developing additional campaigns aimed at correcting course on natural health product regulation.
Oddly, these changes come at a time that Minister of Health Yve Duclos, the former industry minister, pushes through regulatory framework changes that give chemical drug companies a free pass to bypass informed consent.
It's a move that prioritizes industry over the health and safety of Canadians by favouring chemical drugs that come with real risks and side effects, while the natural health industry sees another strike against it for products that traditionally come with less risk than getting struck by lightening.