Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The price of proposed "tougher product recall laws"

The new Act: unnecessary and the price too high.

The article Conservatives to propose tougher product recall laws: states that "Minister Aglukkaq wants to see the "outdated" Hazardous Products Act, enacted in 1969, overhauled with the quick passage of the Consumer Product Safety Act".

Rather than being a 40 year old "outdated" Act there has been continuous updating of the Hazardous Products Act (the Act) up to and including this month.  That changes are needed is not at issue in part because of increases in the importation of products from China where there are inadequate controls both internally and in exports. (1)

The terms of the Act as it stands have not been employed as a deterrent, however, to the sale of hazardous products. The "Act already contains fines of up to $1 million for violating its provisions; however, those fines are rarely imposed.(39) " (2).

The Prime Minister is quoted as saying it is "unrealistic to assume that the government could test every product line" (2). instituting random testing of imported products would have and could add another deterrent to the imposition of fines.

One aspect of conservatism is acting first to improve what exists rather than starting afresh, such has not been the case in this instance. Rather han improving the Act the proposed new Act removes legal protections present in the "outdated" one.

Wendy Forrest was good enough to send links to two "youtubes" that relate the manner in which the changes being proposed would be "Restricting Our Freedoms".

I urge you to spend 20 and 3/4 minutes of your time reviewing them.  The same observations are available in written form at
"A Draft Discussion Paper on Bill C-6 the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act

You will agree after watching them that were you the Minister of Health you would want "the quick passage of the Consumer Product Safety Act" before the general public and particularly the Canadian business community, become aware of what is being proposed.

Joe Hueglin
Date: Mon, 20 Apr 2009 12:09:44 -0400
Subject: C-6
From: Wendy Forrest
To: "Hueglin, Joe" <>

Shawn Buckley speaking on the Restriction of our Freedoms (C-6)
Part 1
Part 2


(1)The date on the Act as a whole is not 1969 but rather Hazardous Products Act ( R.S., 1985, c. H-3 ) The latest updating of the Hazardous Products Act of
   which I'm aware was an "Order Amending Schedule I to the Hazardous Products Act (Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets) Vol. 143, No. 
   15 ­ April 11, 2009

(2) Legislative Summary of the Bill: "According to media reports, while reaction to the bill has been generally favourable, some critics remain unconvinced that this legislation will make much difference with respect to consumer product safety.  They point to the fact that the Hazardous Products Act already contains fines of up to $1 million for violating its provisions; however, those fines are rarely imposed.(39)  Accordingly, some critics feel that stiffer penalties for offenders will be unlikely to deter them from manufacturing, importing or selling unsafe consumer products, unless the federal government changes its approach to enforcement.  Critics have also said that another key issue with respect to enforcement under the Hazardous Products Act has been that there are too few safety inspectors.(40)  This is a resource issue that the new legislation does not fix.  The Minister of Health has responded to these comments by indicating that new safety inspectors would be hired, but has not indicated how many.(41)"

Critics have also indicated that, in their view, the federal government should impose more quality controls on consumer products before they are shipped to Canada.  The Prime Minister has responded to the latter concern by stating that it is "unrealistic to assume that the government could test every product line"(42) and characterizing the new legislation as "a series of active prevention measures, targeted oversight and rapid response."(43)