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.

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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.

Participants

 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

Email: selfcareproducts-produitsautosoins@hc-sc.gc.ca

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