The federal health minister was supposed to present a report on the review on May 23, group claims
Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada (PSC) has applied for an order with the Federal Court to require Health Canada to complete its review of the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) and present the results to the Parliament.
The TVPA amended the Tobacco Act and took effect on May 23, 2018. While it still addresses the national public health problem posed by tobacco use, the TVPA contains a new legal framework to respond to the increasing availability of vaping products in Canada. The Act also aims to ensure that Canadians are informed about and protected from the risks of these products.
As an added safeguard, the TVPA requires the Minister of Health to undertake a legislative review of its provisions and operation three years after coming into force and present a report on the review to the Parliament within one year. PSC claimed that the minister was supposed to present the report on May 23 or four years after the bill entered into force.
“It is now more than five months past the deadline set by the law for the first report to be made public,” PSC president Atul Kapur said. “It is increasingly apparent that without direction from the court, the government will continue to disregard its responsibility to disclose the results of its policy choices on the tobacco and nicotine market.”
According to Kapur, PSC is seeking a court ruling due to “the deliberateness with which the review and report were delayed,” and the failure to review and report in time does not appear to result from administrative challenges, but one they see “as the result of a political decision to ignore the law.”
“Today we are not challenging the government’s right to regulate the market in a manner with which we or other health organizations disagree,” Kapur said. “What we are challenging is the government’s decision to ignore its obligations under its own laws to report on the effects of that decision. We expect that after the Federal Court makes this point clear to government, future reports will be tabled in time.”
Founded in 1985, PSC is a national health organization of Canadian physicians who share one goal − reducing tobacco-caused illness through reduced smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke.