Charter Petition, Rebuttals, Bill C-17 Update Feb 19/14

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The Charter of Health Freedom petition has reached 92,910 signatures.

Almost 93,000 individual Canadian citizens took the time to add their voice to the call for change. Every petition sheet, and each signature on it, has been counted and systematically entered into NHPPA’s records.

If you like facts and figures, here’s one: we are 96.7% of the way to being the largest Federal petition to be delivered to Parliament in 15 years. We have

  • the third largest Federal petition in Canadian history.
  • the most signatures on a single petition in seven years.
  • likely, the biggest petition that most sitting MPs have ever seen.

To everyone who participated in the collection of signatures, well done and thank you! If you wonder what happened to that piece of paper, or in some cases many pieces, and what we will be doing with it, read on…

In the five years since the petition was started, the regulatory climate for natural health products has undergone many changes. Currently the “softening of the regulations” is allowing manufacturers/distributors to get NPNs faster and easier. It’s difficult to say whether this is a result of continued pressure from public and industry or merely a way to deal with the remaining applications prior to full enforcement. However, we hear from industry insiders that we can continue to expect illogical and inappropriate enforcement over the next year or two.

When the Charter of Health Freedom was drafted in 2008, it could have, if adopted, ended the assaults the industry has faced over the past 5 years. Those assaults may ebb and flow, but until we see complete legislative change, what is left of the industry cannot be secure from arbitrary reverses of fortune. The Charter of Health Freedom still represents an overarching vision of freedom of choice and sovereignty of the person. It is the legislative solution that Canadians are demanding in ever greater numbers. It has taken 5 years (and some desperately sad industry losses) to get to the point where more people are engaged with the solution than with the problem, but we are there and the time has come to tell Parliament, loud and clear.


Your involvement has created the backbone of this huge cry for health freedom. When we look back at all of the signatures, the mailings with the most numbers came through the nation’s retailers. Without your willingness to supply petition stations and educate your customers we would not be where we are today. Thank You! Your customers are aware of the issues because of you.

You remain our front line. Please assure anyone who asks what happened to their “Charter signature” that petitions don’t go stale, they gain momentum over time. This petition is anchored in the wishes of Canadian citizens and it continues to snowball. The names you took the time to collect and send us are poised to make it to Ottawa by the end of 2014. But when it comes to collecting more signatures we know you’ve done your job so well that your customer base is already on board. This is why we now have to widen the net to capture the few thousand signatures we need to get to the next landmark.


Some of you have already been collecting and sending petition signatures to us. We have all of your sends logged in our petition tracking document and are VERY grateful for your support. In fact, it’s not only “us” who are thankful for your efforts. You have assisted every Canadian out there who won’t even realize there is a problem until the natural health product they need to maintain their health is gone or its formula changed.

For most of Canada’s alternative and complementary professionals working outside of the mainstream model, and even some of those within it, practicing integrative medicine, the loss of products has begun to affect your ability to support the healing of your clients and treat your patients. If we are to bring about the change which will secure your right to practice without interference, we need your clients to be aware of the issues and become engaged.

Do you have a petition station in your office? Are you supplying your clients with the information they need to join the pushback?

We only need just over three thousand signatures to get the petition to the next level, and seven thousand to break into six figures! We’d like to enter the 100,000 strata before we deliver this petition to Parliament. We have enough practitioners in Canada to achieve this easily. If you haven’t already done so, go to our Petition Station Essentials web page and get ready. We have an exciting cross-country petition drive campaign ready to roll out in the coming weeks. Check your inbox for details soon, and yes, there will be prizes!


We are frequently asked why we collect wet signatures on real paper and then use the postal service, when it is so quick and easy to collect thousands of signatures on-line. The answer has always been (and still is) that Canada’s Federal Government does not recognize on-line petitions. This may change. Last month a Private Member’s Motion to consider e-petitions was accepted by the House of Commons. This means that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs will look at the issues and report back to the House within twelve months with some proposals for consideration. For the time being however, paper petitions remain the only way to force a response from our Federal government.

The NHPPA has prepared an article on e-petitions, their history, advantages and disadvantages, and we will make it available to you as soon as it is published.

It is possible that e-petitions will garner enthusiastic media attention in their early days, this has certainly been the case in other countries. Although paper petitions will remain valid if and when e-petitions are acceptable, we feel that for maximum effect 2014 is the year to present the largest paper petition any sitting MP will have seen.


Your MPs know you care. And so does Health Canada.

Thanks to you, every Federal MP has received a copy of the Charter of Health Freedom in Step 1 of NHPPA’s Charter to 308 MPs Campaign (2013). The campaign to cover every riding ended in June last year but we continued to receive emails, photos and letters into to September. If you didn’t get a response back from us, please know that you were counted! Many of you sent us the replies you’d received from your MP. If you missed the page on our website where we posted them all, you can read the letters MPs have sent here.

As we observed at the time, many of the letters have a similar feel. Rather than address the issues you raised, most contain “approved messages” and cut/paste assurances that sidestep the complex nature of your questions. Together, we will be calling them on this. It took a while to collate all the replies, however Shawn analyzed them in late September, to arm us with the detailed information and accurate rebuttals we are going to need to develop Step 2 of NHPPA’s Charter to 308 MPs Campaign.

We were unable to develop a full campaign at that time, since we moved right into our Nutritionists’ Webinar but we are putting the finishing touches to your next piece of direct action right now.

As soon as we have launched the Natural Health Practitioners Petition Challenge, watch your inbox for the next steps in the discussions to educate your MP. You are just the constituent to school them.

View the final post-campaign report on Step 1 of the Charter to 308 MPs.


As of February 19, 2014 Bill C-17 has not been debated but it passed 1st reading on Friday December 6.

The government can table it for a 2nd reading at a time of its choosing and it would be debated by MPs at that point. On the surface, Bill C-17 looks to cover important issues regarding the safety of chemical pharmaceuticals that the natural health community would be happy to support, however Shawn forsees some potentially disastrous consequences as a result of the way it has been written.

He has drafted a Discussion Paper on Bill C-17 that alerts industry and public to the issues and is in the process of drawing up an amendment to the Bill.

NHPPA will be launching a campaign to amend the language of Bill C-17, much as we did for Bill C-36. Again, watch your inbox, you will be educating your MP on yet another vital issue this year.