NEW WESTMINSTER — Today, MP Peter Julian (New Westminster-Burnaby) tabled a Private Member’s Bill C-266, An Act regarding the right to know when products contain toxic substances. It was seconded by NDP Spokesperson on the Environment and Climate Change, MP Laurel Collins (Victoria).
The federal government must do more to protect Canadians from exposure to toxic chemicals. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, CEPA, is 20 years out of date and badly needs updating. The NDP is committed to strengthening CEPA to better protect Canadians from toxic substances.
Bill C-266 follows the lead of many other jurisdictions that have already enacted similar legislation, notably the European Union and the State of California in the United States. Bill C-266, would require all products, especially foods, household cleaners, and cosmetics, sold or imported into Canada containing toxic substances to have clearly marked labels specifying their toxic contents to the consumer.
“Canadian consumers must have the right to know what toxic ingredients may be in the products they use. Bill C-266 will give them that right by providing for mandatory labelling of hazardous ingredients in everyday consumer products,” said MP Julian. “That’s why I have introduced this private member’s bill on toxic substances labelling in the House of Commons in multiple Parliaments and again in this 43rd Parliament.”
Canada’s current system of labeling hazardous materials in common household products does not include confirmed or suspected carcinogens that are toxic to human health and damaging to the environment. Consumers often do not realize what types of harmful materials or the level of danger they are exposed to when purchasing and using various products, such as food, household cleaners, and cosmetics. A more comprehensive labeling system warning of potential harm would help to preserve safety, empower consumers, and encourage the market to sincerely consider the dangers of the chemicals and substances put into the products in the first place.
Canadians would also be in a better position to put pressure on the industry and the federal government to make it illegal for companies to use toxins and carcinogens in their products without proper labeling in a similar manner as the legislation already passed in the European Union and the State of California.
“The federal government must ensure that companies respect that right. Labeling products is one of the most effective and practical ways to protect consumers.” stated Julian. “That’s why it’s so important we have federal labelling legislation that will provide the information people need to make healthier choices,” he said.
Protecting and empowering all Canadian consumers is a national project we can all stand up for, regardless of partisan politics. This is about the health and safety of all Canadian households. This Bill is urgently needed.
“Why shouldn’t consumers have the right to be fully informed of what might be dangerous to their health, and the environment, when they go to the store to purchase a product? The federal government must ensure that companies respect that right. It's common sense,” stated MP Laurel Collins.
Under Bill C-266, failure to follow the regulations for labeling products containing toxic substances would be a criminal offence, subject to fines or imprisonment. The list of toxic substances that Bill C-266 covers host of the most comprehensive worldwide lists, including agencies of the European Union, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, and Health Canada.
Media are invited to conduct one-on-one phone interviews with MP Peter Julian (New Westminster-Burnaby) to discuss this legislative initiative.
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For more information, please contact: Mounia Bouabid, Office of Peter Julian: [email protected] 613-922.4214