Legislative Summary of Bill S-5

Legislative Summary of Bill S-5

As has been indicated in previous posts, we have had a Constitutional Lawyer review the contents of Bill S-5An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts which is very much in alignment with the released report by the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF).

Today we received a copy of the Legislative Summary of Bill S-5 which has caused quite a bit of concern among many people, perhaps rightfully. We do have an attorney reviewing this summary for discrepancy based on what we know.

A Legislative Summary is made available to parliamentarians (MPs) and their staff to ensure timely access to the information, research and analysis needed to study the bill it presents. It is available, upon request, for public use.

Library of Parliament Legislative Summaries summarize government bills currently before Parliament and provide background about them in an objective and impartial manner. They are prepared by the Parliamentary Information and Research Service, which carries out research for and provides information and analysis to parliamentarians and Senate and House of Commons committees and parliamentary associations. Legislative Summaries are revised as needed to reflect amendments made to bills as they move through the legislative process.

SO…  We all know that MPs and their staff are extremely busy and deal with a significant number of things on a daily basis. In all likelihood, many of our MPs will be basing their opinions and decisions for debate and vote on these summaries.

The points in the summary indicate that the bill is to do the following:

  • prohibits the sale of vaping products (as defined in the bill) to minors, including sending a vaping product to a minor;

    As a rule, we are in agreement with this point.  However, we believe that provisions should be made to allow a minor that is already smoking to receive some sort of exemption via parental or doctor consent to use the product if approved quit methods have failed.

    For example, a 14 year old has been smoking since they were 12 years old (more common that you may think). They are now addicted to smoking and are unable to quit using NRTs or other quit methods. Do we put that youth in a position where they must continue to smoke for another four years when they can legally purchase vapor products?

  • prohibits the use of flavours in vaping products that appeal to youth;

    This point is relatively concerning because during a Health Canada Technical Briefing teleconference for Stakeholders, this question was directly asked to Health Canada. They very clearly stated that the USE of flavours was not being prohibited but that the restriction only applied to promotion (i.e. flavour names, labels, marketing materials, etc.).

    So this was a misinterpretation by the person(s) that drafted this Legislative Summary, the Health Canada representative misspoke on the pointed question or the intent has changed since the teleconference.

  • requires manufacturers to submit information to the Minister of Health in relation to a vaping product before it can be sold;

    We still have absolutely no idea what “information” will actually be required. It could potentially be cost prohibitive or unattainable by small businesses in the industry.  Thus, this point is very concerning and still unknown.

  • restricts advertising of vaping products; and

    Some advertising restrictions are to be expected (i.e. Lifestyle) but we believe that the restrictions being imposed within the bill will FAR exceed what would be considered reasonable. If we can’t tell smokers about the products using as many mechanisms as possible, it just perpetuates and facilitates continuation of the REAL public health hazard, smoking tobacco.

  • increases penalties for tobacco-related offences

There are several other specific points within the bill, not mentioned in the summary that are concerning, both constitutionally and just plain unreasonable regulation but those are the main points in the Legislative Summary.

We STRONGLY to encourage EVERYONE (consumers and industry stakeholders) to print out a copy of the document below (Download PDF button on the toolbar) and schedule a meeting with your MP to discuss any concerns that you have about the bill and/or this summary. They may have already seen the document or it may be their first exposure to the bill.

Democracy, like capitalism, is far more bottom-up. If enough people care enough to speak out we will change the world.

Also, writing letters to the Editor of your local paper or publications can be extremely helpful. Public opinions matter more than what we may think.

Everyone has their own perspective so it is up to each individual to express their own ideas. Do NOT count on someone else being able to get the job done “for” you or it will not be what you want. Your voice matters so let it be heard.

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