The amendments, in part, are in response to concerns raised by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations (SJCSR) regarding an administrative process put in place by Health Canada to allow Canadians faster access to safe and nutritious food products in specific circumstances. In 1999, the SJCSR first raised concerns over the validity of the amendments made to the Food and Drug Regulations in 1997 to give the authority to the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Health Products and Food Branch of Health Canada to issue Notices of Interim Marketing Authorization (IMA). They felt that the power to exempt food from the Food and Drug Regulations, even for this limited period of time, rests with the Governor-in-Council and therefore the regulations that allowed for the use of the Notice of Interim Marketing Authorization mechanism were ultra vires under the Food and Drugs Act.
In order to maintain the IMA mechanism considered by Health Canada as beneficial to consumers and the food industry, amendments to the Food and Drugs Act were proposed by the Government and introduced in the House of Commons on November 29, 2004. The Bill received Royal Assent on November 25, 2005 and became Chapter 42 of the Statutes of Canada. These legislative amendments which came into force on June 16, 2008, provide the specific authority to the Minister of Health to issue these types of authorizations so that consumers continue to have earlier access to a wider variety of safe and nutritious food products.
Further information on these amendments is available in the attached documents: