Skip to main content
Start of content

HESA Committee Meeting

Notices of Meeting include information about the subject matter to be examined by the committee and date, time and place of the meeting, as well as a list of any witnesses scheduled to appear. The Evidence is the edited and revised transcript of what is said before a committee. The Minutes of Proceedings are the official record of the business conducted by the committee at a sitting.

For an advanced search, use Publication Search tool.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at

Previous day publication Next day publication
Meeting No. 43
Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Standing Committee on Health met at 11:11 a.m. this day, in Room 371 West Block, the Chair, Bonnie Brown, presiding.


Members of the Committee present: Bonnie Brown, Colin Carrie, Hon. Brenda Chamberlain, Jean Crowder, Nicole Demers, Ruby Dhalla, Steven John Fletcher, James Lunney, Rob Merrifield, Michael John Savage and Hon. Robert Thibault.


Acting Members present: Bernard Bigras for Réal Ménard, Raymond Bonin for Ruby Dhalla and Bradley R. Trost for Steven John Fletcher.


In attendance: Library of Parliament: Nancy Miller Chenier, Analyst; Sonya Norris, Analyst; Sebastian Spano, Analyst.


Witnesses: Department of Health: Diane Gorman, Assistant Deputy Minister, Health Products and Food Branch; Philip Waddington, Director general, Natural Health Products Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch. House of Commons: Colin Carrie, M.P., Oshawa; James Lunney, M.P., Nanaimo—Alberni.

Pursuant to the Order of Reference of Wednesday, March 9, 2005, the Committee resumed consideration of Bill C-420, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act.

The witnesses made statements and answered questions.


Robert Thibault moved, — Whereas:

The current regulatory regime for Natural Health Products was created in accordance with the recommendations of the 1998 report, Natural Health Products - A New Vision, of the Standing Committee on Health;

The Health Minister has indicated his opposition to the passage of Bill C-420;

The Committee heard convincing, science-based testimony from witnesses who have indicated their support for the current Natural Health Product Regulations. It is clear, based on the evidence, that regulating natural health products as foods would have a detrimental impact on consumers;

The Regulations ensure safety through an appropriate level of oversight, permit a full range of evidence-based health claims, and ensure high quality through outcome-based good manufacturing practices;

The Natural Health Product Regulations ensure increased access to safe, effective and high quality natural health products;

The Regulations reflect the desire of Canadians to develop a regulatory framework appropriate to address the risks associated with natural health products;

The implementation of Bill C-420 would cost the federal government significant dollars to create a new regulatory framework;

Health Canada is taking action to modernize Section 3 and Schedule A of the Food and Drugs Act to reflect scientific and medical advances and to ensure that Canadians have access to reliable product information to make informed decisions about their health.


Health Canada is convening a Scientific Advisory Panel in June 2005 to review and update the diseases and conditions listed on Schedule A in order to reflect current scientific understanding. The Panel will ensure that Schedule A can keep pace with evolving scientific knowledge by defining criteria for making additions and deletions to the list with greater transparency and consistency.

Health Canada intends to permit evidence-based risk reduction and symptomatic treatment claims for Schedule A diseases and conditions through an amendment to the Food and Drug Regulations. This will ensure consumers’ access to information regarding preventing or reducing the risk of developing certain diseases, but would still lead consumers to seek professional advice for treating serious diseases. Canadians will be consulted on this proposed amendment by November 2005.

Therefore, be it resolved that this Committee, pursuant to Standing Order 97.1, recommends that the House of Commons do not proceed further with Bill C-420, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (definitions of “food” and “drug”).


At 12:37, the Committee proceeded to sit in camera.


At 12:56, the Committee resumed sitting in public.


After debate, by unanimous consent, the motion was withdrawn.


It was agreed, — That the Committee requests a thirty-day extension to consider Bill C-420, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act, beyond the sixty days from the date of the Bill’s referral to the Committee, as provided in Standing Order 97.1; and that the continued study, clause by clause consideration and reporting of the Bill be completed by the end of the extension period.


At 12:59 p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.


Carmen DePape
Clerk of the Committee

2005-05-19 3:37 p.m.