NHPPA’s Legal Challenge Update Jan 9/19


Campaign launched October 1 2009. Currently awaiting the identification of organizations, businesses and/or individuals willing to be parties to this legal challenge.

It should be no surprise to anyone paying attention that the NHP Regulations as they are currently written, classified, and enforced are dismantling the natural health product industry.

It’s become clear through the NHPD’s actions that the barriers to obtain or even keep ‘approved’ product licenses will change over time. In fact, they’re changing now.

Anyone who thinks the NHP Regulations can be solved by making concessions through revisions, recommendations or review, is missing what’s happening.


The NHPPA sees a legal challenge to NHP Regulations as one of the most powerful ways to demonstrate to our courts, our government and to Health Canada that Canadians will not accept losing access to natural health products, or the removal of their rights and freedoms to manage their own health by government policy and misguided bureaucrats.

It is our argument that current (and proposed) NHP Regulations are unconstitutional. 

For regulations passed under the Food and Drugs Act to be valid, they must be within the Federal Government’s jurisdiction. Traditionally the Act has been considered to be the exercise of Parliament’s “criminal law” power. Case histories have shown that the government can only legally exert this power in situations which constitute actual danger to citizens — which NHPs do not.


NHPPA originally introduced this legal challenge in October 2009.

Since then, we have honed our 3-Part Plan to create a balanced regulatory environment for natural health products by means of a law suit to challenge the current NHP Regulations, and have completed considerable research to build the legal argument for the case.


  1. The first step in the process was to thoroughly research the grounds for the legal challenge of NHP Regulations and Health Canada.
  2. Next, individuals and businesses who are willing to be parties to this challenge are to be identified. The NHPPA can coordinate and fund this challenge but we can only act on behalf of plaintiffs who can show that they have been damaged by the Regulations. The necessary types of evidence must be identified and collated. Expert witnesses will need to be retained and procedural motions anticipated.
  3. At this stage, we will be ready to start the action by filing pleadings in Court.
  4. We will then proceed though pre-trial processes such as discovery of documents and cross-examinations.
  5. Finally, we will be at the point where the first courtroom trial begins where we will be encouraged to see supporters fill the seats during proceedings each day.


For the past decade, NHPPA’s biggest fear about any court challenge has always been someone else doing it wrong. To face the well-funded and determined partnership between Health Canada and the Department of Justice, like Health Canada, the NHPPA must make its legal challenge strategic and focused. Aside from the issue of undermining supporters’ intentions, public interest and legal process, there is a danger in moving too quickly. Most importantly, to maintain a legal challenge that can withstand the aggressive defence of the Department of Justice when protecting Federal Legislation, it has to be done right.


The NHPPA has an unmatched legal team working on the challenge. This includes:

  • Shawn Buckley
    Mr. Buckley is one of Canada’s leading experts on the regulation of natural health products and has an enviable track record in defending persons and companies charged with Food and Drugs Act offences. He is an experienced and well-known constitutional lawyer. As the President of the Natural Health Products Protection Association, Mr. Buckley has under his direction, two additional legal experts who he sought out specifically for this challenge.
  • Jason Gratl
    Mr. Gratl is an experienced trial lawyer who has focused his practice on constitutional and Charter of Rights issues. From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Gratl served as the President of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. In 2014, Jason was nominated for the Canadian Lawyer magazine’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers. Mr. Gratl focuses on high profile cases and NHPPA has been fortunate to work with him thus far on what could be the pivotal legal challenge for the industry.
  • Lindsay Lyster
    Ms. Lyster has extensive experience in both administrative law and human rights law. She served as a Member of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal between 2002 and 2010. Lindsay is currently the President of the BC Civil Liberties Association. She’s an experienced and accomplished trial lawyer that NHPPA is thankful to have on our team to unlock Health Canada’s erroneous justifications of the NHP Regulations.

All three of the NHPPA legal team have extensive trial experience, and have appeared before provincial appellate courts, and the Supreme Court of Canada.

NHPPA was able to retain their services thanks only to the support of individuals and industry. But, we have just scratched the surface.


The NHPPA is looking for organizations, businesses and/or individuals wanting to be parties to the legal challenge. These parties are companies and individuals directly affected by NHP Regulations. The objective is to have between 30 and 50 plaintiffs.

The more persons wanting to make a difference through the legal challenge, the lesser the cost of the challenge for all of the parties. Anyone considering becoming a party, and to find out what it means to be one, should contact Mr. Buckley directly at his law office at 1.250.372.1404.

“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.”
–John Wayne


To date your funds have allowed us to work as one of Canada’s voices giving strong opposition to erroneous federal regulations, but they were not enough to sustain the momentum.

Many of you want to see this legal challenge move forward, yet our support is far from what we need. NHPPA would require funding upwards of $1,200,000 to complete this legal challenge.

If you think this is important and have thought about donating but haven’t, we need your support. If you’ve given before and feel this is critical we ask you to consider contributing again.

We are still in the best position to provide leadership to an industry that has unsuccessfully relied on appeasement. If you’d like to see us continue our work we need your financial support.

Most public actions can only continue with massed regular financial support. We’ve only started, but will need thousands of individuals and at least half of the NHP industry to support our work while we take your interests as far as necessary for resolution, up to and including, the Supreme Court of Canada.

CLICK HERE to donate today.