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Volume 30 Issue 2
July/August 2024

The Medicine of Laughter: Laughing For the Health of It!

Navigating the Challenges Facing Natural Health Products in Canada

Editorial

Navigating the Challenges Facing Natural Health Products in Canada
by Veronica Jean, National Campaign Director (NHPPA)
Veronica Jean


You may have heard that the landscape for natural health products (NHPs) in Canada is facing significant challenges due to regulatory changes. For many Canadians who rely on NHPs as part of their wellness regimen, recent legislative developments have sparked concern. Understanding the intricacies of these changes, and the ongoing threats posed by new legislation, is crucial for consumers and advocates alike.

Challenges in the Natural Health Products Industry

Used by the vast majority of Canadians, natural health products are integral to many of our health and wellness routines. However, the industry faces mounting challenges from regulatory pressures.
Health Canada has implemented increasingly stringent regulations that threaten the affordability of these products, stifle innovation within the industry, and limit the variety of products available to consumers. This regulatory burden disproportionately impacts smaller companies and practitioners, who lack the resources to navigate the complex compliance requirements, potentially driving them out of the market. In fact, approximately one in five natural health product businesses currently report considering ceasing operations in Canada.

The Success of Bill C-368

Amid these challenges, there has been a beacon of hope with Bill C-368 passing second reading on May 29, 2024. This critical Bill, introduced by MP Blaine Calkins, aims to protect natural health products from overreaching regulations by repealing sections 500-504 of Bill C-47, Canada’s 2023 Budget Bill. These sections controversially moved natural health products into the same regulatory category as pharmaceutical drugs, a shift that has negatively impacted the industry.

This is a massive win! It’s important for you to know that very few Bills make it through Second Reading. This achievement is perhaps a bigger win than you may even realize, and it is all thanks to the action and engagement of Canadian citizens.

The Looming Threat of Bill C-69

Despite the progress made with Bill C-368, our struggle is far from over. Health Canada has yet again introduced new changes to our Food and Drugs Act through Bill C-69, Canada’s 2024 Budget Bill. This bill includes provisions that grant Health Canada broad powers to regulate off-label uses of drugs and natural health products. The changes proposed in Bill C-69 could significantly restrict the autonomy of healthcare practitioners and limit public access to NHPs.

It’s important to note that for a second year in a row, these types of changes have been introduced through a Budget Bill, bypassing thorough scrutiny and debate by the Standing Committee on Health—raising concerns about transparency and the state of our democratic process.

How to Get Involved with the NHPPA

Since its inception, Natural Health Product Protection Association (NHPPA) has been the leader in assessing and responding to threats facing the natural health industry in Canada. We have established a credible reputation through our legal expertise in this space along with our demonstrated ability to run effective campaigns to engage stakeholders from all sectors to enact change.

If you are passionate about protecting your access to natural health products, I invite you to get to know the Natural Health Product Protection Association (NHPPA). The best way to stay informed and involved in our campaigns is by subscribing to NHPPA’s email newsletter: https://nhppa.org/subscribe/.

While the natural health products industry in Canada faces significant regulatory challenges, NHPPA is leading a nationwide campaign to STOP these new regulations. Bill C-368’s recent progress represents a crucial victory, but the introduction of Bill C-69 underscores the ongoing battle to protect consumer access to NHPs. By getting involved with NHPPA, you will have access to information and resources to help you take meaningful action to protect your access to natural health products and overall health freedoms.

For more information, subscribe to NHPPA’s email newsletter and begin exploring how you can contribute to this vital cause: https://nhppa.org/subscribe/.

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

 

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