Overview of proposed amendments in the second Annual Regulatory Modernization Bill
Bill S‑6, An Act respecting regulatory modernization
Bill S 6, An Act respecting regulatory modernization (second Annual Regulatory Modernization Bill) helps keep federal regulations relevant and up to date by making common sense amendments to 29 pieces of legislation.
The amendments support the Government of Canada’s efforts to:
- reduce administrative burden for businesses
- make digital interactions with government easier
- simplify regulatory processes
- make exemptions from certain regulatory requirements to test new products
- make cross-border trade easier through more consistent and coherent rules across governments
Descriptions of the amendments are included below, each categorized under one of three key themes for the bill: 1) Ease of doing business; 2) Regulatory flexibility and agility; and 3) Integrity of the regulatory system.
The numbering associated with each amendment is according to the sequence in which it appears in Bill S‑6.
Theme I: Ease of doing business
These amendments aim to reduce friction and administrative burden for businesses when interacting with the regulatory system. This includes amendments that would establish electronic equivalencies to all physically based requirements (e.g., use of paper), enable new and innovative products to be brought to market faster, and harmonize regulatory requirements with other jurisdictions to facilitate trade.
1. Remove the requirement that the notice of bankruptcy be published in a local newspaper and allow the Superintendent of Bankruptcy to issue directives regarding how the notice would be published (Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act)
This amendment would provide more flexible publication options for licensed insolvency trustees, who are currently legally required to publish some bankruptcies in a local newspaper. This change would reduce administrative costs associated with publishing in print format, while increasing the effectiveness of their outreach efforts. This recognizes that creditors are rarely located in the area where the newspaper advertisements must appear.
Did you know? There are approximately 3,400 bankruptcies requiring publication per year. The cost of publishing a notice is approximately $600 to $900. Therefore, savings could reach between $2M and $3M.
2. Allow an application for mediation to be withdrawn and for the trustee to proceed with an automatic discharge of the bankrupt where an agreement had been reached between the trustee and the bankrupt before a scheduled mediation (Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act)
This amendment would enable a request for mediation to be withdrawn if the grounds for opposition to discharge no longer exist because an agreement has already been reached between a licensed insolvency trustee and a debtor. While it is legally required, requiring such a meeting when there has already been an agreement in advance serves no purpose. This change would result in shorter discharge wait times for debtors and faster completion of files for creditors due to the avoidance of unnecessary mediation.
Did you know? In 2019, the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy received 2,569 requests for mediation, and of these, 2,065 (80%) indicated that a mediation settlement agreement had been reached by the parties. This is typical of other years. For example, 73% of mediation requests were settled before mediation in 2018.
4. Provide for a temporary permission mechanism (Weights and Measures Act)
This amendment would allow the Minister to permit temporary permissions for devices for use in trade set terms and conditions, and would allow the Minister to revoke the permission. This change would provide flexibility in how regulators assess new measuring technologies and would thereby promote innovation and remove barriers for businesses when introducing new technologies to market.
This is part of the Regulatory Review Roadmap on Clean Technology.
Did you know? There are several reasons why some innovative measuring technologies are delayed or prevented from entering the market: inadequate requirements for Measurement Canada (MC) to evaluate these devices; no existing specifications for the device; the evaluation process is long. The ability to issue a temporary permission to these devices with specified terms and conditions would allow new technologies into the marketplace on a temporary basis without receiving an approval or initial inspection from MC. This would allow MC to monitor performance of the device in the market and determine whether it should be approved for use in trade.
5. Repeal the regulation-making authority related to the requirement for contact information on vending machines that dispense liquids (Weights and Measures Act)
This amendment would create greater legal certainty. No regulations were ever developed as a result of this authority and issues with these types of machines have not been identified that would necessitate the development of regulations. This could result in reduced administration burden for business associated with the need to interpret outdated and unused regulatory requirements.
6. Repeal the requirement for dealers and traders to notify Measurement Canada when they import a measuring device for use in their business (Weights and Measures Act)
This amendment would create greater legal certainty. Although this notification requirement has not been enforced by Measurement Canada for many years, amending the legislation to remove this requirement could reduce administration burden associated with the need for businesses to interpret outdated and unused regulatory requirements.
7. Revise the coming-into-force dates for recent amendments to the act in the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 (Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2)
This amendment would facilitate the timely coming into force of amendments to the Trademarks Act that were introduced as part of Canada’s Intellectual Property Strategy, which aims to reduce barriers to innovation and assure an efficient and effective trademarks system. Untethering a series of amendments in this way would enable earlier implementation and more timely interaction with certain aspects of the improved trademark system for businesses who would be able to leverage improvements to the trademark system as soon as possible.
8. Change the term “annual return” to a term that would be less confusing for stakeholders (Canada Business Corporations Act; Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act; and Canada Cooperatives Act)
This amendment would reduce levels of confusion for small businesses as there are regular mix ups between the term “annual return” (an obligation under these acts) and a “tax return” (administered by the Canada Revenue Agency). Without this change, there is a risk of accidental non-compliance, meaning active corporations could be dissolved for not filing when they otherwise believed they were complying because they mistakenly mixed up the two terms.
Did you know? There are over 480,000 federal business corporations and over 39,000 not-for-profit corporations. Over the years, Corporations Canada has communicated the distinction between an annual return and a tax return, but the impact has been negligible. Compliance officers at the contact centre for Corporations Canada continue to receive between 1500-3000 calls per year on this matter.
10. Update language pertaining to the handling of hazardous products in the workplace to ensure alignment with the Hazardous Products Act
(Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act)
This amendment would ensure that these two acts (the Accord Acts) align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. This would help promote international alignment by ensuring that Canada is able to fully meet its international requirements related to the management of hazardous materials. This would be expected to reduce administrative burden on businesses, as they could avoid having to determine which of the two sets of regulatory requirements need to be followed, as well as improved worker safety associated with eliminating inconsistent terminology on hazardous products between two acts.
Did you know? This amendment would impact four operating offshore projects, which employ approximately 6,000 people (approximately 2,250 offshore) and rely on 40 firms in the supply sector (representing several thousand additional employees).
16. Simplifying the regulatory system for provincial agricultural marketing boards (Agricultural Products Marketing Act)
This amendment would provide general delegation authority to the Minister, empowering the Minister to add, amend or delete names of provincial marketing boards in the schedule to the act by ministerial order. In addition, provincial marketing boards would no longer be required to establish their levies ‘by order’, this would mean less administrative burden and enhanced clarity for provincial marketing boards when updating their levies, enabling them to focus their efforts on supporting agriculture and agri-food sector producers (i.e., farmers). It would enable the boards to focus on their core marketing activities including research and development of agricultural products and the market, rather than spending time navigating both the provincial and federal regulatory systems.
Did you know? Providing flexibility to the Minister to amend a new schedule to the act in this way would lead to the removal of 163 regulatory instruments (90 delegation orders and 73 levy order) from the books. This change would address a major administrative backlog as all 163 of these regulatory instruments are currently out of date.
Multiple amendments: Provide authority for the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting the determination (recognition) of a foreign state’s system related to feed safety and seed safety as providing at least the same level of protection as Canada’s (Feeds Act (17), Seeds Act (25))
This amendment would enable the Governor in Council to make regulations that recognize systems and safety assessments conducted in other countries if they are deemed to be equivalent to Canada’s. This would help Canada meet certain commitments in trade agreements, including obligations under the Canada, U.S., Mexico Agreement. This would facilitate imports and exports with countries that have similar feed and seed safety systems, and it may reduce time to market for businesses when a feed or seed has already been assessed for safety in another competent jurisdiction.
Did you know? In 2020 Canada imported over $402 million of animal feed products from the United States (69.1%), the European Union (14.3%) and others. During this period, Canada exported almost $110 million worth of animal feed preparations, mostly to the United States (71%). Recognition of a feed safety system, such as the one in the United States could benefit trade between the two countries.
Multiple amendments: Allow for the sending of notices by means other than registered mail, including electronically as appropriate (Feeds Act (19), Fertilizers Act (22), Seeds Act (26), Health of Animals Act (28), Plant Protection Act (33), Safe Food for Canadians Act (37))
This would allow the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to deliver certain notices (such as those associated with unlawful imports) to stakeholders using the most effective methods possible, rather than having to rely on registered mail. Enabling the digitalization of communications in this way would decrease costs and speed up service delivery, while reducing the administrative burden associated with paper-based transactions and communications with the government.
Did you know? The majority of stakeholders prefer to interact with CFIA electronically. On an annual basis, CFIA issues or updates 4,000 to 5,000 permits electronically with plant stakeholders. CFIA also communicates primarily with food stakeholders through digital means (99.7% of applications for licenses are submitted electronically, representing 14,761 stakeholders).
29. Enable the Minister to approve a program elaborated by a third party for the purposes of preventing the introduction of any vector, disease or toxic substance, or for controlling, eradicating or preventing the spread of vectors, diseases and toxic substances (Health of Animals Act)
This amendment would allow the Minister to recognize a program that is put in place at the private, industry and provincial, or municipal levels for the purposes of preventing the introduction and spread of an animal disease. This would allow for more cost-effective solutions to be developed than is currently allowed in the regulations. Businesses would be able to implement measures that are unique to the context of the situation while more effectively meeting biosecurity requirements when crossing the border.
Did you know? The Manitoba Pork Council (the stakeholder group who initiated this amendment) estimated that in 2019, an average of 30 trucks per week must be washed in the U.S. prior to returning to Manitoba. The Manitoba Pork Council, with the support of the Canadian swine industry and chief veterinary officers of all of Canada’s Western provinces, has established a voluntary program designed to provide an alternative method (different to that found in the current regulations) to mitigate biosecurity risks associated with the return of livestock trucks to Canada. They estimate that if these legislative changes are made and their program is approved, approximately 55% of the of these trucks could be washed and sanitized in Canada thereby supporting local businesses.
31. Enable the Minister to make an interim order that may be used when immediate action is required to deal with a significant risk to protect animal and human health and the environment (Health of Animals Act)
This amendment would enable the Minister to take quick action to immediately address an emergency situation to prevent the spread of an animal disease. Enabling fast action in this way may help minimize negative economic impacts by preventing disease spread, keeping export markets open, and minimizing the need to slaughter diseased animals. This new provision would be applicable for one year, with the ability for the Governor in Council to extend the interim order for up to an additional two years. The extension would allow sufficient time to draft, consult on, and put in place a regulation or regulatory amendment.
35. Provide an authority that would allow CFIA to administer and enforce the acts and regulations for which it is responsible through electronic means (Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act)
This would allow the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to deliver services, and businesses to interact with CFIA, via electronic means rather than having to rely on paper-based transactions. This change would reduce administrative burden for businesses as it would allow for more efficient paperless interactions with government.
Did you know? From 2019 to 2020, 13,600 certificates of free sale were issued electronically, which is estimated to have accounted for a savings of 2,267 hours of inspector time and 1,134 hours of administrative time. This also prevented 13,600 – 16,000 trips to a CFIA office by regulated parties.
36. Amend the definition of food commodity to align with the definition of food in the Food and Drugs Act as amended in 2019 (Safe Food for Canadians Act)
This amendment would provide for consistency between the definition of “food” in the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) and ‘food commodity’ in the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA), addressing a legal discrepancy that currently exists between two Acts. The proposed amendment would ensure that if a product does not meet the definition of food in the FDA, it would also not meet the definition of ‘food commodity’ in the SFCA. Since some products can be considered both food and a drug, this amendment would provide consistency in how Health Canada and CFIA regulate these products. This is expected to provide clarity and reduce administrative burden for stakeholders.
Did you know? Cannabis edibles are an example of a product crossover that could potentially be confusing. Cannabis edibles have been handled temporarily through a notice issued by Health Canada on their website and an MOU with CFIA. The notice highlights that ingredients are covered under the Safe for Canadians Act and Regulations, but that cannabis edibles are covered under the Cannabis Act and Regulations. A consistent definition of food commodity would bring clarity and certainty to producers and consumers. This legislative amendment would provide legal clarity that only products defined as a food or classified as food under the Food and Drugs Act would be captured by the definition of “food commodity” under the Safe Food for Canadians Act. Stakeholders would benefit from the improved clarity and consistency in the food legislative framework, and in how Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulate these products
45. Provide authority to make regulations as a result of Canada entering into a free trade agreement (Customs Act)
The proposed legislative change would simplify and clarify the process of making regulations resulting from a new free trade agreement by providing a single provision that could be directly and easily referenced if challenged before the courts or by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. Although the Customs Act already has enabling authorities to make regulations, none of them expressly cover free trade agreements or anything else that could be relied upon to address a unilateral issue related to a free trade agreement. Providing for a single legal provision in this way would provide clarity around authorities to make regulations, while contributing to enhanced compliance, promoting international alignment of regulatory requirements, reducing administrative burden for business and government, and enhancing legal clarity for traders.
46. Enable the Minister to make an interim order to align with an international standard or to implement an international obligation (Canada Transportation Act)
This amendment would promote international alignment by allowing for timely adoption of international standards, including evolving standards due to a new technology and industry innovation. If passed, businesses would experience less administrative burden caused by confusion and discrepancies between the department’s regulatory framework and established international standards.
This is part of a Regulatory Review Roadmap on International Standards.
Did you know? 41.6% of references to standards (international, national, regional) in 34 of Transport Canada’s regulations that were examined in the 2021 Monitoring Standards Referenced in Federal Regulations report prepared by the Standards Council of Canada are outdated (29% reference an older edition of a standard and 12.5% reference a standard that has been withdrawn). In contrast, 33.4% of references to standards are outdated across the federal government’s inventory (25.2% reference an older edition of a standard and 8.2% reference a withdrawn standard).
Theme 2: Regulatory flexibility and agility
The proposals below aim to make the government more effective, efficient and nimble in terms of how it manages its regulatory system. This includes amendments that aim to streamline internal processes and establish appropriate regulatory-making authorities to help protect the health, safety and security of Canadians, and the environment.
3. Broaden the type of sampling that could be used as the basis for verification or reverification of meters, beyond only statistical sampling (Electricity and Gas Inspection Act)
This amendment would permit more types of sampling methods to be used in the verification processes for meters. This would promote international alignment and help maintain a fair and efficient marketplace by enabling Measurement Canada to leverage internationally agreed upon approaches and methodologies. This would mean more efficient use of resources and providing Measurement Canada with the ability to take more risk-based and flexible approaches for verifying meters using statistical sampling.
Did you know? There are an estimated 16 million electricity meters and 9.5 million gas meters in Canada (2019). An average of 1.8 million electricity meters are reverified by sampling 80K, while over 330K still require individual testing. Similarly, 850K gas meters are reverified by sampling~60K of them while 195K of them still require individual testing. Allowing businesses to use additional sampling approaches is expected to significantly reduce the number of meters that must be tested individually, thus saving time and money for businesses.
9. Provide flexibilities to update regulations for miscellaneous, technical or administrative changes (Canada Petroleum Resources Act and Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act)
This amendment would repeal provisions that make it mandatory that all regulatory changes be pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I. This would help reduce the administrative burden associated with making relatively small changes and straightforward regulatory amendments.
Did you know? In its 2018 report, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) examined 19 Natural Resources Canada regulations and noted that 167 of 367 standards were either withdrawn, replaced or are no longer being managed. This is an example of miscellaneous amendments that could have had an accelerated path to ensure up to date technical standards were applied in this industry.
12. Modernize the legislative framework that regulates the Canada Land Surveyors profession (Canada Lands Surveyors Act)
These amendments would reduce the regulatory burden of the Minister of Natural Resources by transferring administrative provisions currently included in federal regulations into by-laws managed by the Association of Canada Lands Surveyors (ACLS), who have been delegated the authority by the Minister to regulate the practice of the Land Surveyor’s profession on Canada Lands. These amendments would also harmonize the French and English versions of the Act for consistency and clarity by, among other things, addressing recommendations of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. Further, these changes would reduce barriers for labor mobility opportunities for land surveyors and better align with the Canadian Free Trade Agreement. These amendments would enhance the protection of Canadians by streamlining and modernizing the Complaints and Discipline processes that govern Canada Lands Surveyors. This would reduce administrative burdens on the surveying profession and the federal government.
Did you know? These changes would remove direct and in-kind costs associated with hosting disciplinary hearings. In the past 13 years, there have been five disciplinary hearings with the cost of each ranging from $120,000 and up to $200K for complex cases.
14. Synchronize the act with the appendices of protected wildlife species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act)
This amendment would ensure that any updates to the list of protected wildlife species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) that are binding on Canada automatically apply domestically. Currently, updates must be made through regulatory changes, which typically take 12-18 months, much longer than the 90-day grace period allowed under CITES. This amendment would promote international alignment, lead to less administrative burden associated with keeping the act current and enhance the clarity of Canada’s laws to protect endangered species for importers and exporters of wildlife.
Did you know? Amendments to this list in the regulations must be made approximately every three years (e.g., after each meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. It often takes 12-18 months to undertake the amendments, rather than 90 days. Environment and Climate Change Canada estimates that each time it must complete regulatory amendments to update the list, it costs the department approximately $150,000.
15. Remove from schedules 2 and 3 those species that have been assessed or determined to be ineligible for assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (Species at Risk Act)
This amendment would clean up two transitional schedules in the act and ensure those schedules are kept up to date. There is currently no legal process to keep those two schedules of wildlife species up to date, so without this change, there would be continued confusion for any business or organization with activities that may affect wildlife species. This change would provide enhanced clarity as to what species are covered under the act.
Did you know? Federal government officials have dealt with various requests from businesses seeking clarifications as to why the same species was on multiple schedules. In one case, the current structure of the schedules resulted in groups expending considerable resources, to no avail, in order to try to access funding available for recovery activities for a species they incorrectly believed to be a protected under the act. Also, significant amount of departmental officials’ time has been spent on designing the public registry so that the references to Schedules 2 and 3 do not misrepresent protections to species covered under the act.
38. Allow an interim order to remain in force for one year unless extended by the Governor in Council for up to an additional two years (Safe Food for Canadians Act)
The amendment would allow an interim order to be extended so that it can continue to exist over a longer timeframe that more accurately reflects the regulatory development process. This would allow Canada to meet its international requirements for consultation on regulations particularly in cases where trade may be impacted. This would increase the protection of human health and safety, and the environment, while providing sufficient time to draft, consult on and put in place regulatory amendments, when needed.
39. Enable more efficient authorization of pest control products of low- or well-characterized risk (Pest Control Products Act)
This amendment would reduce unnecessary obstacles and facilitate the introduction to market of lower-risk pesticides. These flexibilities would help address the demand for alternatives to conventional chemical pesticides (e.g., food substances with pesticidal properties). It would do so by broadening the Minister’s power to authorize the manufacture, possession, handling, storage, transport, import, export, disposal, distribution or use of products of low- or well-characterized risk (e.g., cinnamon powder). This would provide an alternate pathway for exercising existing pre-market approval powers that would be faster, lower cost, and more reflective of the level of risk posed by such products.
Did you know? Canadians use over 130M kg of pesticides every year. While pressures such as climate change can increase the need for pesticides, Canadians continue to seek out lower-risk alternatives. This amendment would remove some of the barriers currently limiting the availability of these alternatives.
The organic sector will sometimes use food-grade products to control pests. Twenty-five of these products used have already been identified for authorization under this, more agile, low-risk regime.
42, 43. Enable the department to increase the availability of information across programs for which it is responsible and allow information disclosure of any departmental program to federal departments and agencies, as well as with provincial and territorial governments, to support the administration and enforcement of programs and services provided by these governments (Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act)
These amendments would make it possible to share information across the department using digital tools by providing the Minister with the authority to access and use any information that is collected, including biometrics, under the authority of any act that falls within their authority. This would also support a coordinated approach to identity management for foreign born individuals in Canada by enabling the Minister to disclose information from any departmental program to federal, provincial or territorial governments. This would help verify individuals’ identities and their status in Canada for the purpose of administering any federal or provincial law, which would in turn help respond to rising growth rates of permanent and temporary residents. This would also reduce administrative burden, simplify and speed up application processing, and improving service delivery to clients – all of which could help businesses as it would enable immigrants to integrate into the labour market more quickly.
This is part of a Regulatory Review Roadmap on Digitalization.
Did you know? These changes would have a positive impact on client service as well as program integrity from an identity perspective. It would make it easier for individuals to prove who they are to each level of government, a process which is estimated to cost $482 million per year.
In 2019-20, of the 419,934 permanent residence applications received, 210,746 (50%) applicants already had a previous temporary residence application approved. Some forms that applicants need to fill contain over 100 questions and require hours to complete. When a client reaches the “citizenship” step, roughly 95 % of citizenship applicants are already known to Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
In 2020, the average processing time for Permanent Resident Applications with Express Entry completed online under the Provincial Nominee Program was 10.9 months. However, for the Permanent Resident Applications on paper, the average processing time was 20.9 months. Moving to online applications and greater collaboration with provinces and the territories (PT) would permit for faster processing of applications and PT labour market needs would be met sooner.
The Ontario Ministry of Community of Social Assistance estimates $40M in annual expenditures is spent on social assistance to refugee claimants. To mitigate potential fraud, Ontario has reached out to initiate a pilot to see if IRCC can validate whether clients are actually still in Canada, and if they continue to have the relevant status in order to be eligible for the benefits. With these amendments, IRCC would be able to work with Ontario and other government departments or other provinces and territories on similar pilots or programs.
44. Provide authority to make regulations respecting the disclosure of information to departments and agencies for the purposes of cooperation within the federal government (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act)
This amendment would provide information-sharing authorities that would allow the disclosure of personal information (beyond validation of identity and status addressed in the other portion of this legislative proposal) to federal departments and agencies, when that information has a direct relevance to their mandate. It would also prevent the use or misuse of the status of foreign-born residents in Canada in order to prevent erroneously or fraudulently obtained benefits offered by other federal departments and agencies. For businesses, this could enable immigrants to integrate into the labour market more quickly by improving service delivery and reducing application processing times.
This is part of a Regulatory Review Roadmap on Digitalization.
Did you know? The disclosure of information enabled under this amendment would help Global Affairs Canada in the evacuations of individuals with permanent resident status or no status (e.g., could speed up an application of a spouse during a crisis). In addition, enabling the disclosure of health information to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) could mean better government responses in reaction to an outbreak of a communicable disease. It would enhance PHAC’s ability to exercise duties under the Quarantine Act by enabling the disclosure of national passport information, which would be helpful for contact tracing purposes (e.g., passenger details on flights where exposure to an infectious disease is confirmed).
Theme 3: Integrity of the regulatory system
The proposals below are technical in nature and aim to remove small scale, low impact irritants or respond to recommendations made by the Standing Joint Committee on the Scrutiny of Regulations. This includes amendments that enhance the integrity of the regulatory system as whole by ensuring the government has the clear legal authority to regulate in ways and in areas it already does.
11. Add an explicit regulation-making authority for prescribing record-keeping requirements in occupational health and safety regulations (Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act)
This amendment would provide a clear legal basis for the regulatory provisions related to records-keeping in the Can-NL and Can-NS OHS Regulations, currently being advanced.
Did you know? There are approximately 6,000 total workers (approximately 2,250 offshore) relying on approximately 40 firms in the supply sector (with several thousand additional employees) that are covered by these regulations.
13. Clarify that certain sections of the act are subject to regulations (Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act)
With the exception of subsection 6(1) and section 7, other prohibitions in the act contain the introductory words “subject to the regulations” to clearly indicate that the application of the prohibitions in the act may be modified through regulations. Adding this language to all prohibitions would provide clarity to those referring to the act for guidance on the rules respecting international trade, interprovincial transportation, and possession of wildlife protected under the act. This technical change would resolve any potential legal uncertainty and concerns identified by the Standing Joint Committee on the Scrutiny of Regulations.
Multiple amendments: Provide clear regulatory-making authority and clear authority for the Minister to apply conditions to product approvals and registrations and provide the obligation to comply with these conditions (Feeds Act (18) Fertilizers Act (21))
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) currently places conditions or restrictions on product approvals and registrations based on the properties of the product and data submitted by the notifier. Although such limitations are needed to ensure the safe use and disposal of the product so that human health, animal health, and the environment are not compromised, there is no explicit authority in the Feeds Act or Fertilizers Act that would allow the Minister to apply these conditions or require compliance with them. This proposed amendment would address concerns expressed by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.
Did you know? CFIA approves on average 17 research feeds per year, 50 new feed ingredients per year and 374 new mixed feeds per year. Each of the approvals issued by CFIA is accompanied by product or research specific conditions (for example, to limit the species the feed can be used for) to ensure that the product/research is safe for humans, animals and the environment. CFIA also issues on average 850 fertilizer registrations per year (including renewals and amendments to active registrations) and 70 research authorizations. Each of these approvals are accompanied by product or research specific conditions to ensure that the product/research is safe for humans, plants, animals and the environment.
20. Provide clear legislative authority respecting the release of novel supplements (Fertilizers Act)
This amendment would make it explicitly clear that the Minister has the legal authority to regulate the release of veterinary biologics. Currently the prohibition to release a veterinary biologic exists only in the regulations. Moving this authority in legislation would clearly establish that the Minister has the authority to regulate the release of veterinary biologics. This change would address a potential concern of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations and reduce the risk of a successful legal challenge.
23. Provide clear authority in the act for Part V of the Seeds Regulations respecting the release of seed (Seeds Act)
This amendment would make it explicitly clear that the Minister has the legal authority to regulate the release of seed. Currently the prohibition to release seed exists only in the regulations. Moving this authority in legislation would clearly establish that the Minister has the authority to regulate the release of seed. This change would address concerns of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations and reduce the risk of a successful legal challenge.
24. Provide authority for the Canadian Seed Growers Association to determine the varietal purity of all seed crops and not just those with grades requiring varietal purity (Seeds Act)
To facilitate international and inter-provincial trade, seeds must be certified, and varietal purity is a pre-requisite for certification. This amendment would provide legal clarity that the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) has the authority to determine varietal purity of all seed crops and not just those where varietal purity is required for grading purposes. The CSGA has been making determinations of varietal purity for all seed crops without this express legislative authority. This amendment would address this legal risk by making it clear in the legislation that this is allowed.
27. Provide clear legislative authority respecting the release of veterinary biologics (Health of Animals Act)
The proposed amendment would provide the Minister with clear legal authority regarding the notification and assessment of veterinary biologics and prohibiting their release without a permit. These authorities currently only exist in the regulations and this has resulted in legal uncertainty. This change would address a potential concern of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations related to a lack of authority for provisions found in the regulations.
30. Clarify that regardless of whether a place exists within a control zone or not, it can be declared an infected place, and can remain an infected place after a control zone is declared (Health of Animals Act)
This amendment would clarify current wording in the act that has been found to be problematic through recent simulations of an animal disease outbreak spreading across Canada. During the simulations, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) looked at how best to apply existing authorities to limit disease spread in infected places and primary control zones. Based on the wording of the act, it is unclear whether a place declared to be infected can continue to have restrictive movement control measures in place when a primary control zone is identified that includes the infected place within its boundaries. Updating authorities in the act to clarify this would provide CFIA officials with the appropriate tools to eradicate or manage a disease that is present in the wider environment.
Multiple amendments: Provide discretionary authority for the Minister to amend, revoke or suspend permits or other authorizations issued under the act (Health of Animals Act (32), Plant Protection Act(34))
This amendment would establish ministerial authority directly in the acts relating to the renewal, amendment, revocation and suspension of a permit or other authorizations for consistency with other the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)-administered legislation. Currently this authority only exists in the regulations, and suspension and revocation are at the discretion of the Minister depending on the circumstances of the situation. The absence of details in the legislation to describe the grounds under which the Minister may suspend versus revoke a permit amounts to discretionary authority being exercised by the Minister. This change would address a potential legal risk and respond to concerns identified by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. CFIA plants to subsequently clarify how and when these authorities are used in regulations.
40. Create an express statutory requirement to comply with terms and conditions of any license, permit, or other authorization under the act (Coastal Fisheries Protection Act)
This amendment would clarify the legal obligations of foreign vessel owners, captains and crew that are operating in Canadian waters. It would clarify that, in cases of contraventions of terms and conditions, anyone guilty of an offence is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding $500,000 or on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $100,000. Currently, enforcement measures regarding the breach of a license condition under the act are specified in the regulations, but this has been deemed legally inappropriate by Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. This change would provide more certainty for domestic and international businesses operating in Canada and would be consistent with similar amendments recently made to the Fisheries Act. It would also support the implementation of the recently modernized Fisheries Act, helping ensure modern safeguards such as the requirement to rebuild fish stocks, and sustainable economic growth.
41. Clarify the common law authority of a fishery officer to exercise discretion to resolve a matter prior to charges being laid (Fisheries Act)
This amendment would make it clear in the legislation that fishery officers have the common law authority to use Alternative Measures Agreements (AMAs), which is a diversion process designed to address contraventions to the act without the need to engage in costly and potentially lengthy court processes. The ability to do so, however, is not currently clear in the legislation. Such enhanced legal clarity would reduce ambiguity regarding the authority of fishery officers, fishery guardians, and other peace officers to exercise their discretion in enforcing the act, and this could lead to the avoidance of potential court costs and fewer people entering the criminal justice system for low-level offences.
Did you know? The use of AMAs is supported by Indigenous communities and the broader public, since AMAs offer defendants the opportunity to avoid criminal records for low-level offences and reduce the stigma associated with formal charges, which can have negative impacts on business competitiveness and employment prospects.
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