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Volume 30 Issue 1
May/June 2024

Blessing the Trees with Love: Introducing the Saskatoon Forest Chaplaincy

Join the Campaign to Protect Canada’s Natural Health Products


Join the Campaign to Protect Canada’s Natural Health Products
by Veronica Jean, NHPPA National Campaign Director
Veronica Jean

Health Canada is implementing a regulatory initiative known as the Self-care Framework (SCF) that poses significant threats to the availability of natural health products (NHPs) in Canada. There are several branches to the SCF which, when taken together, are set to profoundly limit the accessibility of valued natural health products that 70% of Canadians rely on to manage their health and the health of their families.

Understanding the Self-care Framework

The SCF aims to overhaul how natural health products are regulated by harmonizing the regulation of NHPs with over-the-counter chemical drugs.

One of the most alarming changes under the Self-care Framework is that companies that manufacture and sell natural health products will no longer be permitted to rely on using “traditional use evidence” to obtain a license for their product. An example of such traditional use evidence is a claim on a product label that states “ginger is traditionally used to prevent nausea.” This type of traditional use evidence relies on thousands of years of wisdom to inform product claims and plays a pivotal role in the licensing process, allowing a wide variety of natural remedies and traditional medicines to be available to the Canadian public. Under the new SCF rules, such claims will no longer be allowed. This change alone could remove most Canadian natural health products from the market.

The impact of the proposed Self-care Framework extends beyond just the availability of products. Natural health practitioners, including naturopathic doctors, homeopaths, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) specialists, rely heavily on natural health products (including those currently licensed using traditional use evidence). Without access to a broad range of licensed NHPs—which are tools they use to help us manage our health—we will lose these healers, affecting the healthcare options of countless Canadians.

Moreover, the SCF introduces substantial new fees that threaten to cripple manufacturers financially. On March 27, 2024, during a closed-door Health Canada meeting that focused on cost recovery on the natural health product industry in Canada, multiple manufacturers stated that they would need to pull 40-90% of their product lines from Canada because of the new fees, and some even detailed they would need to cease business in Canada altogether. These increased costs will inevitably be passed on to consumers, making NHPs even less affordable and accessible, especially for economically disadvantaged Canadians. Can you afford to pay more for the natural health products you use?

Excessive Penalties

The SCF also includes harsh penalties that are meant to destroy anyone who does not comply, as highlighted by constitutional lawyer and NHPPA President Shawn Buckley. Last year, Health Canada snuck strict new penalties into the Budget Bill (Sections 500-504 of Bill C-47). As a result, violations that previously might have attracted a $5,000 fine could now result in fines up to $5,000,000 per day. This punitive scale, designed for higher-risk pharmaceutical companies, is both inappropriate and devastating for small natural health businesses and practitioners.

Introducing Bill C-368

In response to these heavy-handed penalties, Member of Parliament Blaine Calkins has introduced Bill C-368, a Private Member’s Bill aimed at repealing these unreasonable penalties. The bill is scheduled for its second reading this spring, and it represents a critical opportunity to help safeguard the natural health industry and the well-being of Canadians who depend on these products.

Join the Campaign to Protect Our Natural Health Products

In advance of the second reading, it’s imperative all Members of Parliament understand the widespread support for Bill C-368 among Canadian citizens. The NHPPA is spearheading a robust campaign to mobilize public backing for the Bill. This campaign includes three key actions Canadians can take to make their voices heard. Head over to nhppa.org/bill-c368 to take three actions:

  1. Sign the Electronic Petition: Signing an e-petition is a simple yet powerful way to show your support. Signing it takes just a few clicks.
  2. Send an Electronic Letter: This targeted communication with 15 key Members of Parliament—your local MP, the Prime Minister, our Minister of Health, and all members of the Standing Committee on Health—can help influence those directly involved in the legislative process. It takes less than a minute to send a letter!
  3. Print and Mail a Physical Letter: Sending a physical letter to your local MP holds even more weight and allows you the opportunity to deeply personalize the message by sharing why it’s important for you to maintain access to natural health products. NHPPA provides you form letters to get started.

We make it easy for you to make your voice heard. By taking these steps, you help ensure that Canadians’ insistence to protect our access to natural health products is heard loud and clear in Parliament.

Act Now for Your Health Freedom

As Canadians, our access to natural health products is not just a convenience—it’s a significant aspect of our healthcare choices. The proposed changes under the SCF threaten to undermine our right to choose how we manage our health and well-being.

By supporting Bill C-368, you play a vital role in protecting Canadians’ access to natural health products. Visit nhppa.org/bill-c368 today to take action.

Veronica Jean is National Campaign Director of the Natural Health Product Protection Association (NHPPA), nhppa.org.


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