by David W. Rowland
If Health Canada has its way, the only place you will be able to buy your vitamins and supplements is in drug stores. The agency that claims “to ensure that Canadians have ready access to natural health products that are safe… while respecting freedom of choice” is covertly accomplishing a very different objective. It is busy removing 40,000 entirely safe dietary supplements from the market and it is doing so by unlawful means.
Health Canada’s destruction of the health food industry relies on the propagation of two falsehoods: (1) that dietary supplements are potentially unsafe, and (2) that Health Canada has the legal right to regulate health products. Health Canada first creates a false fear and then imposes itself as the remedy for that imagined fear.
Dietary supplements are among the safest substances on the planet, safer than foods. In the entire 50+year history of the health food industry, there have been zero fatalities and zero cases of permanent harm caused by consuming any of its products. In comparison, several people die each year from food poisoning or from anaphylactic shock from eating peanuts.
Under the guise of protecting the public, Health Canada has implemented an allegedly “compulsory” licensing scheme. It is attempting to restrict from the market any dietary supplement it has not blessed with an NPN licence. Problem is that only 20,000 product licences have been granted out of the 60,000 products that were on the market when the licensing scheme began. Health Canada is refusing to license entirely safe products for reasons that defy both logic and science. Many licences have not been granted simply because Health Canada has not bothered to examine the applications.
What Health Canada does not want you to know is the NPN licensing scheme is unlawful. There is no Act of Parliament (or statute law) that gives Health Canada the legal authority to regulate health products. The Constitution Act (1867) gives the federal government jurisdiction over crime, but not over health, which is the exclusive domain of the provinces. Further, the Natural Health Product Regulations have never been sanctioned by Parliament, nor have they ever been reviewed by the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee (SREG).
Health Canada restricts true health claims for safe dietary supplements. It doesn’t matter what textbooks or research may say and it doesn’t matter how many third party testimonials you can provide; if Health Canada doesn’t like the claim, you can’t make it. This is an act of censorship, in violation of the “freedom of thought, belief and expression” guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Health Canada takes the following unreasonable (and unlawful) positions: (a) that it bestows upon suppliers the privilege of staying in business, (b) that any product it has not examined must be presumed unfit for sale, and (c) that any claim it does not approve must be presumed to be fraudulent.
Whether Health Canada is acting out of ignorance or malice does not really matter. The resulting devastation is the same. Ironic that Health Canada is committing fraud in the name of preventing fraud.
The Dietary Supplement Protective Union is gathering together suppliers who have had it with Health Canada’s unlawful regulations and are not going to comply any more (www.dspu.ca). You can aid this “peaceful noncompliance” movement simply by encouraging your local health food store to continue to stock your favourite products, whether or not these products have been assigned NPN numbers. Natural Health Freedom Canada also has a number of initiatives to restore health freedom. (www.naturalhealthfreedomcanada.com)
David Rowland is Canada ‘s first registered nutritional consultant, an author and an innovator in the field of nutrition. www.rowlandpub.com