Originally published in Blakes Bulletin on Life
Sciences, January 2010
Two bills that would substantially change Canadian federal
consumer protection legislation died when Prime Minister Harper
"prorogued" Parliament until after the Vancouver 2010
Olympics. Among the bills affected are Bill C-6, the Canada
Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), and Bill C-27, the
Electronic Commerce Protection Act (ECPA, commonly
referred to as the "Anti-Spam" Act), both of which have
the potential to significantly alter the regulatory landscape in
Canada. What is striking about this is how close the bills were to
For the CCPSA, this would be the third time this legislation has
been introduced in Parliament. It was first introduced by the
Harper government in April 2008 (as Bill C-52), but died in the
fall of 2008 when an election was called. It was then reintroduced
in January 2009 (as Bill C-6) and was passed by both the House of
Commons and the Senate before Parliament was prorogued in December
2009. Because the Senate made amendments to the bill, however, the
amended bill was sent back to the House for consideration.
The ECPA had passed the House of Commons and second reading in
the Senate and had been sent to committee.
Prorogation (as distinct from an adjournment) means that bills
that were not enacted prior to prorogation will need to be
reintroduced in the House of Commons when the next session of
Parliament begins after the Olympics in March 2010. They may also
be reinstated if the House agrees to this via a parliamentary
procedure that allows bills to be reinstated at the same stage as
they were in when Parliament prorogued.
It is probably safe to assume that both the CCPSA and the ECPA
will be reintroduced or reinstated when Parliament reconvenes in
March, but the overall impact of the prorogation in terms of
further delays and amendments to the legislation remains
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