For those of you who are following Bill C-6
This was forwarded by a friend who is keeping
a keen eye on the proceedings
Please keep others interested informed.
Thanks for your part,
From: Day, Joseph A. [ mailto:DAYJA@SEN.PARL.GC.CA]
Sent: December-22-09 10:35 AM
Subject: Message from Senator Day on Bill C-6
Dear concerned citizen,
Thank you for your email on Bill C-6, the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.
I appreciate you taking the time to write to me, and express your opinion on this particular bill.
I will take your information into account when I am studying this bill.
On September 16th, 2009, I spoke in the Senate on Bill C-6, a speech which you can read here:
My colleague, Senator Banks has also spoken about this issue recently, you can read his remarks here:
Bill C-6 was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, which has finished its study. I proposed a number of amendments to the bill, which you can read here:
I�d like to take a moment to explain some of the amendments that were made, as they may be difficult to understand without context. First of all, I�d like to discuss amendments that relate to the recall of a product. I wanted to do two things: first, create the possibility of negotiation and voluntary recall, second, in the case of non-voluntary recall, have the recall made by the Minister. A recall ordered by the department that is not voluntary could have such a profound effect on the future of a company or an individual in business that it should be done by the minister. The recommendation would come from the department to the minister, constituting a built in check (this is also the process the Minister of Agriculture follows).
Second, in the case of disclosure of private personal information or confidential business information, my amendments would require that prior notice be given to the individual or the business before their confidential information is shared with other corporations, provincial governments, foreign governments and divisions thereof, or an international organization of states. If it is not possible, due to urgency, to give prior notice, the minister must notify the person or business no less than six months later. These are two important provisions that did not exist originally in the bill.
Third, the committee agreed with my suggestion to expand the requirement for a warrant for a dwelling-house to an office space. There is still no need for a warrant for an inspector to enter private property. There has been much made of this amendment in the media, and I would like to clarify my intentions. This means that inspectors would have to get a warrant to enter into a self-contained office, by which I mean a place that is used as a business office, but does not include a room or place where a consumer product is manufactured, packaged, stored, advertised to the public, sold, labelled, tested or transported. Inspectors can still carry out all their normal work while inspecting factories, stores, and testing areas, without need for a warrant.
Fourth, I introduced amendments that would create a dialogue between the inspector and the business person. The wording in the bill was such that the government had all the power, and representatives from Health Canada told the committee that they would rarely use that power. What I have proposed instead is that when the inspector identifies a concern, they try to work it out with the business person first. However, if the inspector believes on reasonable grounds that a product could endanger to human health or safety, they have the power to do what they determine is necessary without consultation. Furthermore, the inspector does not have to enter into this dialogue if they have already had a dialogue and have already given this individual or company the opportunity in the past.
Finally, the committee has agreed to an amendment that would require the Minister of Health to report on the state of progress of action on international standards. In effect, we are asking the government to let us know how they are doing with harmonization of standards. We are giving them a couple of years and then they will let us know how they are doing on what they are hoping to achieve.
Overall, I attempted to create a balance between the powers of the Ministry of Health and fundamental rights of Canadians.
Unfortunately, my amendments were not accepted in the Senate, but other amendments were made. There was extensive debate in the Senate over amendments proposed by Senator Furey and Senator Banks, debate which you can read at the following links:
On December 15, 2009, both Senator Furey�s amendment (about the power of Health Canada inspectors to enter into a dwelling-house) and Senator Banks� amendments (about the disclosure of personal information and defence by reason of due diligence) were accepted by the Senate. The bill has been sent back to the House of Commons so that they may study the amendments made by the Senate, something which will not occur until Parliament reconvenes at the end of January 2010.
Please let me know your views.
Joseph A. Day