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CBC News – Politics – Government lacks tools for mass recalls: Aglukkaq

In Canada on October 1, 2010 at 13:21
Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq says Canada needs updated legislation to deal with product recalls.Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq says Canada needs updated legislation to deal with product recalls. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The federal health minister said outdated legislation makes it difficult for the government to deal quickly with recalls like Thursday’s Fisher-Price recall of more than 10 million tricycles, toys and high chairs over safety concerns.

“As it is right now, we don’t have the right tools to do massive recalls of this nature, which is what we’ve been saying for the last year, two years, that we need the tools to respond,” Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq told CBC’s Power & Politics with Evan Solomon.

Aglukkaq said the government has been trying to push through new consumer protection legislation known as the Consumer Product Safety Act. The bill would give the government more power to take action against unsafe products and oblige industry to notify Health Canada when there is a recall or potentially dangerous product.

“We need a system in place where industry and consumers can report incidences of this nature, that we can investigate, and [also] to prevent injuries,” she said. “With this legislation, we will be able to have the necessary tools to respond quickly.

“As you’ve seen today, the massive recall, to get to that point as it is right now, there’s a lot of tools that we don’t have to investigate unsafe products that may be in the market and this would allow us to do that.”

Asked why it was difficult to find information about the Fisher-Price recall on the Health Canada website, Aglukkaq blamed the more than 40-year-old legislation.

“With the new legislation, we’d be able to have mandatory reports from the industry that our officials can immediately investigate upon notification, and that we’ll be able to follow up,” she said. “But as it is right now, it takes a long time.”

She added that the government relies on the U.S. to get the information, adding that the U.S has the tools for mandatory reporting of industry.



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