How Health Canada engages and informs Canadians
Part of Health Canada’s work as a regulator is to engage and inform Canadians on issues about their health. Learn how we use consultations and other tools to help protect and improve the health of Canadians.
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Engaging Canadians in regulatory work
We regularly engage Canadians on regulatory topics as part of our decision making. Consultations help us make sure our decisions consider a range of views.
Consultations that help inform future regulatory decisions
We seek input from experts and stakeholders to help inform decisions, guidance and policies that support our regulatory work.
These consultations are:
- outside of the formal federal regulation-making process
- can involve different types of activities and documents in the regulatory system
We may seek the views of interested groups through:
- advisory committees
- online consultations and surveys
- meetings with regulated parties (like industry) and stakeholders
Consultations on proposed regulations and amendments to existing regulations
Consultations are used to inform and finalize the regulations that govern our regulatory work. These follow a formal federal regulation-making process done through the Canada Gazette, which is the federal government’s official newspaper.
The 2-step process gives us opportunities to hear a wide range of views:
- before the formal Canada Gazette process begins (pre-consultation)
- through the formal Canada Gazette process
Step 1: Pre-consultation
We will often engage the scientific community and affected groups before we begin drafting a proposed regulation. This lets us make sure we have the latest information and a range of views.
Step 2: Canada Gazette process
We publish the proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette. This allows you to comment on the proposed regulations.
Based on the comments we receive, we will:
- adjust and finalize the proposal
- publish the final regulations in the Canada Gazette (along with a summary of the comments received)
Are you interested in being consulted on upcoming issues? We have a Stakeholder Registry that lets you sign up for topics you are interested in. You will be notified when we consult on those topics.
As well, our consultations are published on the consulting with Canadians web page.
For more information and to get involved in regulation making through the Canada Gazette process:
Health Canada also publishes a forward regulatory plan that lists our upcoming regulatory projects. This informs Canadians about our work in developing regulations.
Informing Canadians about health issues
Health Canada keeps up to date on science and research. We use this knowledge to provide Canadians with information to help them make informed decisions about health and safety. We do this through:
- online tools
- responses to information requests
Through regulations, we require that information be made available so that you can make informed choices. This includes:
- food labels that:
- contain ingredient lists
- declare potential food allergens
- cosmetics that list all of their ingredients
- this lets you avoid ingredients you may be sensitive to
- nutrition labels that help you make healthy food choices
- drug labels that are easy to read and understand
- this makes you aware of risks and allows you to avoid mixing medications that should not be used together
- pesticide labels that explain how to safely use the product
We provide various online tools and databases to encourage the safe and responsible use of products. They include the:
- Recalls and Safety Alerts Database, which lists advisories on food, health and consumer product risks
- Drug Product Database, which:
- lists the drug products approved for use in Canada
- mainly serves health professionals, although the information may also be of interest to consumers
- Drug and Health Product Register, which:
- lists the drug and health products approved for use in Canada
- gives consumer information on product use, safety and side effects
- Pesticide Product Information Database, which lists specific product information and active ingredients in pesticides
- Pesticide Label mobile app, which lets you search and download the latest labels for registered pest control products
- list of licensed producers of medical marijuana
We also do outreach to Canadians on a number of topics, including:
- materials to help you eat a balanced diet, such as:
- promotional campaigns on issues that affect you, such as:
Responses to information requests
You can also request specific information from Health Canada by:
- contacting our general inquiries office
- using our online ordering system to obtain publications
- making an access to information or privacy request
- speaking to us at events in various communities that we participate in, such as:
Regulatory transparency and openness
We are continuously improving access to timely, useful and relevant information. This allows us to better help Canadians make health and safety decisions. This work is guided by our Regulatory Transparency and Openness Framework.
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