(Updated June 14th with Online Petition below)
What’s your go to natural health supplement? Is it products like vitamin D + C to boost immunity, maybe you are treating a cold and lean into echinacea, elderberry and zinc or perhaps things are stressful, and you reach for l-theanine, GABA or ashwagandha. Most of us use some type of Natural Health Product (NHP) to support our everyday health + wellbeing, and right now the availability, variety and affordability of these products are at risk.
Currently, to be legally sold in Canada, any natural product making a health claim is required to be designated as an NHP. NHPs must have a product license and a site license that is regulated by Health Canada. To get these licenses companies need to demonstrate good manufacturing practices, adhere to specific labelling and packaging requirements, and proper safety and efficacy evidence must be provided. We already have the systems in place to provide Canadians with NHPs that they can trust to be safe, high quality and do what they claim.
The Canadian Government is proposing new changes to NHPs that will see them regulated like over-the-counter drugs such as Benadryl, Tylenol, and Aspirin. This will severely impact manufacturers and suppliers of natural health products, and your ability to access your favourite vitamin + herbal supplements.
How do these changes affect you?
- You will pay more for supplements. Health Canada will significantly increase the cost of licensing + site fees to suppliers which will increase the cost of their products. This will impact the affordability, and therefore, accessibility to NHPs for everyone.
- You will have less variety + availability of NHPs. Local and smaller scale suppliers may not survive the increase in costs from Health Canada. Large suppliers may be forced to reduce the number of products they are able to create, reducing our access to wider variety of supplements, or more symptom specific supplements. Suppliers from outside of Canada are already pulling their products, or not listing new ones, in anticipation of these changes.
- You will have more packaging. Unnecessary changes to labelling requirements will increase package size of products which is a bigger cost to suppliers, customers, and the environment.
While Health Canada’s goal is to promote access to safe, effective, high quality NHPs for Canadians, it already is doing this with current regulation. Increasing fees and additional labelling does not promote safety for taking NHPs, it just makes products more expensive. In fact, this overregulation will force consumers to seek out products online which could lead people purchasing non-compliant, unregulated NHPs from outside of Canada.
You can say no to these changes – here’s how!
Health Canada is having a public consultation period that ends on August 10th, 2023. This gives us all the opportunity to have our voice heard and participate in discussions on government policies and priorities.
Here are the actions available to you – do one or do them all!
- Sign the petition here
- Send a pre-written postcard available in your Co-op Wellness Department.
- Send a letter to your local MP directly or visit this website created by the Canadian Health Food Association and send the prewritten letter to your local MP, it only takes a few minutes.
- Send your comments and concerns by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the mailing address below.
- Share this with friends + family to get the word out.
Access and affordability to natural health products is important to us all. We will continue to fight for important causes like this that impact our customers.
For more information, please reach out to your Co-op Wellness staff or ask to chat with Brooke.
By Mail: Health Canada
Health Products and Food Branch
Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate
250 Lanark Avenue, A.L. 2003C
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9