Self-care product consultation summary: Yellowknife, Montreal, and Halifax

Public consultation sessions to discuss the modernization of self-care product regulation were held in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories on April 20, 2017, in Montreal, Quebec on April 24, 2017, and in Halifax, Nova Scotia on April 28, 2017.

On this page

Consultation summaries

To modernize self-care regulation in Canada, we asked consumers and other stakeholders for input on a policy proposal.

We thank everyone who participated in these sessions. The feedback received will continue to shape the regulation of self-care products in Canada.


 The numbers of participants who attended the consultations were as follows:

  • 5 in Yellowknife
  • over 100 in Montreal
  • 27 in Halifax

People who attended the consultation included:

  • academics
  • consumers
  • consumer groups
  • health professionals
  • business representatives

  To protect the privacy of consultation participants, their names will not be shared.

Key issues discussed

During the consultation we delivered a presentation on both the context of the sessions and the policy proposal, including:

  • product classifications based on a two-class categorization system of risk level including safety and failed product efficacy
  • acceptable claims within each of the two classes 
  • unique label identifiers and statements on labels to help consumers easily identify products
  • compliance and enforcement measures to address safety concerns

Feedback: what we heard

We have included a brief summary of what we heard from participants at the public consultation sessions in Yellowknife, Montreal and Halifax.

Consultation and engagement

Participants at the public consultations said they:

  • liked having the opportunity to hear balanced and diverse views
  • wanted more time for discussion when there are larger audiences  
  • appreciated Health Canada’s openness and willingness to hear their comments
  • appreciated that the smaller sessions allowed for the opportunity to be heard and to receive in-depth responses to questions

Participants at the public consultations want Health Canada to:

  • promote the public consultation sessions better, particularly to consumers
  • incorporate more opportunities for discussion during the presentation rather than at the end of the session
  • incorporate perspectives from consumers and health professionals
  • organize focus groups with consumers and health professionals to allow for targeted discussion
  • engage more with industry leaders to encourage compliant companies to help educate others on best practices
  • ensure that future rounds of consultation provide opportunities for small group discussions
  • include consumer and health care practitioner awareness and education activities

Policy Proposal

Participants at the public consultations said the policy proposal should:

  • consider impacts of cost recovery on small and medium-sized enterprises
  • refine the classification of products to clearly communicate the differences, such as through the use of sub-categories or criteria
  • address concerns around the quality of products and provide Health Canada the ability to enforce the rules, acknowledging the importance of inspections
  • consider that statements on the label may help inform consumers’ decision-making and reduce the potential for confusion between products
  • consider that using a symbol or having additional information available online would support informed choices  
  • consider that the addition of a unique identifier could help distinguish registered products that are legal for sale
  • consider the business impacts of unique identifiers and the potential that they could cause confusion in the marketplace

For more information

Health Canada – Health Products and Food Branch
Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate
250 Lanark Avenue, A.L. 2003C
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0K9


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