In December 2010, a law called Consumer Product Safety Act was passed, it came into action in June 2011. The law gave the acting Safety Minister (currently Leona Aglukkaq) new powers to pull recalled products from shelves quicker. However since the new system has been enacted, product test are down by 627 tests, a 57% drop in two years and inspections are down from 12,050 in 2009-2010 to 4,797 last year.
When NDP consumer protection critic Glenn Thibeault pointed out that the new system does not allow for an exact number of inspections, Aglukkaq explained “inspectors have focused on outreach to industry to raise awareness of their obligations under the act.”. Companies who become aware of serious incidents with their products are required to report it to Health Canada within two days of becoming aware of the problem, but with only a total of two fines levied against companies since 2005 in regards to dangerous products, some Canadians are questioning the effectiveness of the Conservative government in using the tools at hand.
“So here we’ve got this great act, we worked hard getting into place to help protect consumers, and they’re doing less and less with it. That is quite sad when you think about what we were talking about at the time. We were talking about cadmium in kids’ toys,” said Glen Thibeault.
“It’s not a big deterrent for those companies to have any reason to stop. The inspections are down, the tests that we’re carrying out are down and we rarely lay any fines. Canada has to do a better job at protecting our consumers and that’s what this bill was supposed to do.”
While the current system in place is far more effective then past systems and allows Health Canada more power in the safety of consumers, the current government is not doing all it could be doing.
If You Can’t Follow the Rules Get Out of the Market
Here in Canada, our government likes to bail out our failing companies. We bailed out Nortel, lord knows how much money we gave to GM just so they would stay here to manufacture cars, we give a pretty good chunk of our money to companies so they’ll want to stay here. We’re giving money to foreign companies to stay here or Canadian companies who are in trouble to keep them afloat.
This has been the strategy for too long and it really is wasteful. We have a country full of new graduates and aspiring entrepreneurs with great ideas who would gladly take a quarter of a per cent of that money and invest it in building a company or product here at home.
Same deal with safety. If you’re unwilling to test your products or don’t want to abide by safety regulations then you don’t belong on shelves. If a company puts consumers at risk, the company should pay the price for it. Not consumers. We shouldn’t be giving parties who’s main goal is profit to have free reign over the market. Unfortunately, the Conservatives government appears to have goals of economic gain more so then goals of Canadian people.