Toronto, ON – Environmental Defence is calling on the Senate to pass Bill C-6, the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, immediately as some Senators consider derailing the legislation on the basis of it giving too much power to the federal government.
The proposed Act would give the government the ability to make mandatory product recalls and stop manufacturing if needed, and the health minister the ability to order product safety tests and disclose confidential business information if there may be serious danger to human health.
“The grounds on which this bill may be dismissed by the Senate are ludicrous,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence. “In no way is it a ‘heavy-handed approach’ that is unfair to business – it is a much needed approach that finally allows government to make sure businesses react if they have put products on our shelves that threaten the health of Canadians.”
The bill is an update to the 40-year old Hazardous Products Act and was passed unanimously by the House of Commons on June 12, 2009. It is well-acknowledged that the Hazardous Products Act is in need of significant updating to deal with new products, technologies, and trade patterns. Currently, product recalls are only made voluntarily by industry and the government has no ability to ensure that many products are tested for safety by suppliers. Under the current Act, the government lacks some of the most basic means to protect consumers from potentially harmful products.
“Our government must have the ability to make sure that Canadians are using safe products,” said Smith. “Amending the Bill along the lines suggested by some Senators would mean that many of the consumer product issues we hear about daily will continue to be dealt with inadequately on a voluntary basis alone.”