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An SOS on Health Canada's Latest Actions - Popeye's Toronto

An SOS on Health Canada's Latest Actions

Bill C47 came into effect on June 22nd as part of the Federal Budget and with that, vitamins, herbs, homeopathic and traditional medicine now fall under the Food and Drug Act, identical to prescription medication.  In other words, with no notification or consultation, our government simply changed the rules which were passed with zero debate in the House or a review by the Treasury Board. Make no mistake, this, if left unchecked will lead to the end of health choice and dramatically limit supplements in Canada.

This article focuses on the impact that will be felt by the Canadian manufacturers, brands and ultimately on the cost & availability of the supplements you use.  You can visit or now to learn more, but to understand the true nature of these regulations, read on.  


Written by: Warren Karr, Popeye's Supplements


I write this with a sense of deep cynicism with this being the third such attack on supplements in my tenure.  Each time, the public has fought back and forced the government stand down (under both Liberal and PC governments I might add) but now, this new legislation surpasses anything that has been done before and in such a punitive manner.  It touches not just the supplements many of us use, but also on traditional health practitioners so many rely on.  

Is this a touch dramatic?  Absolutely not.  While being pushed as a "modernized approach" this is purely about control, regulation, and money - a hidden tax if you will.  Small and medium sized Canadian supplement manufacturers will now be required to pay massive fees to continue operating as if they were large pharmaceutical companies.  Health Canada calls this "cost recovery" and under the guise of "safety", vitamins, probiotics, amino acids are now effectively the same as prescription medication and must be regulated.  What makes up these fees and is this collection of money really about safety


For Your Safety or a Hidden Tax?


  • PLA - Product Licensing Application: a fee to 'license' any new product with the government.
  • SLA - Site Licensing Application: you need to pay to be able to make (or continue to make) a product.
  • RTS - Right to Sell: an ANNUAL fee to continue to make a product you've already been manufacturing or on anything you bring to market, permanently,


These are not small fees, especially when most of these companies (brands you know) are classified as small to medium sized businesses.  Companies in this scale will not be able to absorb these new costs, as this would price their supplement out of the market due to the limited number of products they offer.  Larger companies are not out of the woods either, as they will amass even higher fees for each product they make ANNUALLY to "pay" for Health Canada's new regulations. 

The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) in a recent webinar, cited examples of how these fees add up for a manufacturer.  A site license to produce a non-sterile product (solutions, ointments, creams, powders, capsules and tablets) would pay Health Canada $23k yearly.  If they were to add a warehouse - called a site amendment - this would increase their costs by an additional $4784.  What do they receive for these fees?  No service is provided.  No value given.  Just an additional cost of doing business and the joy of funding of Health Canada. 

Class III license applications (homeopathics or supplements with novel dosing and ingredient combinations) range between $7.2 to >$58k depending on how the application was accepted, with an undefined new class of "novel application" costing the most.  This will essentially halt innovation as the fees (aka: tax) of bringing a new ingredient to market will be cost-prohibitive. 

Should a brand wish to modify a dose, add an age group, or modify a test tolerance that 'priviledge' will cost them too, ranging between $7.2 to over $23k.  For each product, and cumulative. Not to sound repetitive, but these fees provide nothing of value to you or the brand burdened by these costs.  Want to make a change based on new research.  Pay up.

As for the Right to Sell fee, Health Canada has levied a fee (tax) of $542/year for EVERY PRODUCT a manufacturer lists in Canada.  No grandfather clause here, so regardless of how long a supplement has been sold in Canada (with no work being provided by our government agency) manufacturers, brands and the end customer, pay.  

This is taxing the productivity right out of business.  This legislation will hit everyone from manufacturing, distribution, and retail.  Health Canada takes a strangle hold on yet another industry which was already a worldwide leader in NHP (natural health product) regulation for the past 20 years.  The result?  We will all pay more and have dramatically less options to choose from as brands cut less popular products from their lineups. 

Who are the winners in this?  The Government, with their new influx of fees and eventually, the large corporations who can simply absorb the "cost of doing business in Canada" with the small players forced to shut down or sell their operations.  The fees are only here because Health Canada has suddenly deemed tumeric, probiotics, amino acids etc. akin to pharmaceutical drugs, with the same level of regulation.  Does that fit?  Absolutely not.  


Remember, this was proposed for consumer "safety".  It seems more like a cash grab to me at the least and maybe a little more than that.  


The last part of this is the proposed fine structure.  The Natural Health Community will now be subject to the same fines as Big Pharma, at up to $5 million/day (that is not a typo).  Your local health food retailer, naturopathic doctor or herbalist cannot survive a fine like this.  Traditional medicine is essentially under attack as their natural health remedies will be regulated out of existence.  I have linked the site so you can read exactly how this legislation will cripple this critically important health sector.  While this article touched mainly on the area of supplements, their situation is even more tenuous. 

An excellent summary of the potential effects of this legislation appeared in a recent Epoch Times article (written by Lee Harding) which is listed below in the reference section.  I highly encourage you to read his piece to get a non-stakeholder perspective as he also delves into the issue on the homeopathic and medicine side, interviewing the head of the NHPPA. 


You Can Be Heard . . .But Hurry!

There is still time to take some action, although the window for public consultation ends on July 26th.  If you care about access to your favourite supplements, you can take some action.  The first link shares the effects this legislation will have on you:

We need your support to urge the Minister of Health to work with the industry to re-examine the cost recovery approach used to balance the 2023 budget. Until July 26, 2023 Health Canada is looking for feedback regarding the proposed changes. You can have your say by filling out the Consultation on Natural Health Products Fee Proposal.

You can also contact your member of Parliament (MP) even if you read this after the public consultation ends.  Let them know that you disagree with the proposed changes using a simple prefilled form here:




1. The Epoch Times - July 3, 2023 'Death Knell': New Regulations Could Spell End of Natural Health Products Industry, Advocate Says, Lee Harding





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