Ottawa set to announce new product safety laws

Ottawa is set to unveil sweeping new measures today that will expand the government’s power to recall unsafe consumer products

Ottawa is set to unveil sweeping new measures today that will expand the government’s power to recall unsafe consumer products and impose stiff penalties on those selling dangerous goods.

According to reports, the new legislation – to be announced by the Prime Minister himself – will give the government the authority to issue mandatory recall orders (currently most recalls are voluntary; there have been 37 such orders so far this year) and see penalties of up to $1-million for companies that sell unsafe goods.

The announcement is the latest safety-improving measure in a series of steps promised by the government last August, in the wake of a number of major product recalls.

But the new laws still seem reactionary, instead of being proactive to make sure that products that hit the shelves are safe in the first place. In fact, when it comes to the sales of pharmaceutical products, the legislation is actually expected to remove some existing safety checks so drugs can reach the market faster. While Ottawa would monitor the products once they were in use, it sounds to me like the potential for another Vioxx or Avandia debacle just waiting to happen. (The Globe and Mail)

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