Toronto, Ontario – Canadian children will have less protection than American and European kids when it comes to dangerous products, such as toxic toys, if amendments recommended by a Senate committee are passed by the full Senate.  The Social Affairs Committee made significant changes to the proposed Consumer Product Safety Act (Bill C-6) late yesterday, watering down key sections of the bill that passed unanimously in the House of Commons last June.
“Shame on the Senators who pushed for these amendments. Against the backdrop of some of the largest consumer product recalls in history, and clear evidence that the current broken system is harming Canadians, their actions show a shocking disregard for the public good,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence. “Canadian children should not have less protection than children living in the United States and throughout Europe.”
Changes passed by the committee include stripping Health Canada’s ability to enforce mandatory recalls of products deemed to be dangerous to Canadians, limiting inspector’s powers to inspect an office and forcing inspectors to wait until problems or, in many cases, injuries start showing up before a product could be seized, meaning inspectors could not act to prevent harm.
Under the current law, the 40-year-old Hazardous Products Act, government lacks some of the most basic means to protect consumers from potentially harmful products:  recalls of dangerous products are only made voluntarily by industry; and, the government has no ability to make sure that many products are tested for safety.
Consumer safety, environmental and health groups from across Canada have joined together to call on the full Senate to vote against the committee amendments and pass the original bill without delay.
For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)