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e-3108 (Health)

Initiated by Dawn Roberts from Nanaimo, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • The majority of COVID-19 communications and mandates by health officials include social distancing, masking, hand sanitizing, contact tracing, and vaccination;
  • Natural, time-tested immune system essentials and holistic health practices have received less attention for their role in preventive healthcare;
  • A holistic and complementary approach to health would be more affordable for taxpayers than treating disease;
  • Many Canadians already invest in natural immunity, proactive self-care and prevention strategies;
  • Eating fresh vegetables, exercising, managing stress, drinking water, walking in fresh air/sunshine and getting adequate sleep are simple and cost-effective measures to improve immune function and overall wellness;
  • Vitamin D has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms associated with COVID-19;
  • Many Canadians are deficient in Vitamin D during winter months and yet are isolating for safety in their homes without supplementing;
  • Other vitamins and nutrients essential for optimal immunity and overall health include Vitamin C, Zinc, Selenium and plant extracts, and show promising results for COVID-19 prevention; and
  • Greater attention and education on natural health solutions would help optimize Canadians’ immune systems, increasing quality of life and productivity.
We, the undersigned, the citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1) Educate and empower Canadians on holistic approaches to optimize and maintain their natural immunity and well-being;
2) Cover practices for health sustainability and wellness care under the Canada Health Act, including chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, and homeopathic and naturopathic medicines;
3) Support, promote, and enhance Canadians’ access to holistic health services and natural products; and
4) Include immune-strengthening measures and practices in COVID-19 prevention messaging.

Response by the Minister of Health

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Jennifer O'Connell

The Government of Canada is responsible for establishing and administering legislation and regulations for natural health products. Health Canada recognizes that, for many Canadians, natural health products are an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including helping to maintain and support immune function.

Since 2004, natural health products in Canada have been regulated under the Natural Health Products Regulations (NHPR) to help provide Canadians access to a wide range of natural health products that are safe, effective and of high quality. The NHPR were created to differentiate natural health products from prescription and non-prescription drugs, which are regulated under the Food and Drug Regulations.

Natural health products are generally low-risk products (such as vitamin and mineral supplements and herbal products), meant to be used by individuals for minor, non-serious conditions. However, low-risk does not mean no risk. That is why Health Canada reviews the safety, efficacy and quality of natural health products prior to their entry on the Canadian market, in accordance with the NHPR. 

Health Canada has not received an application for a product containing Vitamin D with claims to reduce symptoms associated with COVID-19. Claims related to prevention of COVID-19 infection or symptomatic treatment of COVID-19 are considered higher risk and would require a high degree of supporting scientific evidence prior to approval for this use.

The Department is committed to making sure that Canadians have the information they need to make informed choices. For this reason, Health Canada has been focusing on improving the labelling of natural health products so that these labels are easier for consumers to read, supporting them in selecting and safely using these products. These changes are not expected to impact the availability of natural health products for consumers. For more information on Health Canada’s regulation of natural health products, please visit our website.

Although the federal government plays a crucial role in supporting health care by providing funding to the provinces and territories, the provincial and territorial governments have primary jurisdiction in the administration and delivery of health care services. This includes determining which services to cover under their respective health care insurance plans. Under the Canada Health Act, a province or territory must provide coverage for medically necessary hospital and physician services (i.e., insured health services, including access to holistic health services) to their eligible residents. Wellness care and practices aimed at sustaining health, including chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, and homeopathic and naturopathic medicines, are part of a range of additional services and benefits, which are outside the scope of the Act, and may be provided at provincial and territorial discretion, on their own terms and conditions. 

Open for signature
February 1, 2021, at 12:58 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
March 3, 2021, at 12:58 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Paul Manly (Nanaimo—Ladysmith)
April 16, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00823)
Government response tabled
May 31, 2021
Photo - Paul Manly
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia