An Act is a means by which laws are made. Generally, Acts begin in draft form ("bills") and can originate either in the House of Commons or in the Senate. For a bill to become law, it must be approved by both the House of Commons and the Senate and by the Governor General of Canada . Certain procedures must also be followed in the law-making process. Bills are discussed by members of both Houses during what is formally known as First Reading, Second Reading and Third Reading. As well, bills are submitted to a Parliamentary Committee for review. The Committee usually seeks out the views of interested parties, including the public. Finally, a bill becomes law (an Act) through a formal process known as proclamation. Proclamation is done by the Governor in Council (Cabinet, i.e., the Prime Minister and his or her Federal Ministers).
The full text of many of the acts listed below can be accessed through the Consolidated Statutes Web page of the Department of Justice of Canada.
Acts for which Health Canada has Total or Partial Responsibility
Human Reproduction Act
The Assisted Human Reproduction Act provides legislative authority to establish a regulatory
framework. Based on informed consent, the health and safety of women and children will come first.
The legislation reflects the Government of Canada's commitment to helping Canadians make healthy
and informed choices throughout their lives.
This Act establishes the criteria and conditions that provincial health insurance plans or extended
health care services must meet to receive the full cash contributions under the Canada Health and
Centre on Substance Abuse Act
This Act created an independent centre under the auspices of the Minister of Health to promote
increased awareness of drug and alcohol abuse through a variety of information and educational
Environmental Protection Act, 1999
The potential risks of environmental pollutants and toxic substances are evaluated under this Act
that addresses pollution prevention and the protection of the environment and human health to contribute
to sustainable development.
Institutes of Health Research Act
This Act establishes the Canadian Institutes of Health Research responsible for the creation of
new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians.
Drugs and Substances Act
This Act controls the import, production, export, distribution and possession of substances classified
as narcotic and controlled substances.
Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Implementation Act [Not In Forced]
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is an international agreement providing for the
complete prohibition of nuclear explosions from its members in efforts to ban all nuclear weapons.
The Treaty follows multiple arms control and disarmement efforts including the Partial Test-Ban
Treaty in 1963 and the Non-proliferation Treaty on Nuclear Weapons in 1968. This Treaty, once entered
into force, will constrain the development, improvement and advancement of all nuclear weapons.
The legislation mandates the respective functions of Health Canada within the CTBT National Authority.
of Health Act
This Act sets out the powers, duties and functions of the Minister, which extend to all matters
covering the promotion or preservation of the health of Canadians over which Parliament has jurisdiction.
An Order adopted under this Act authorizes the Minister of Health to charge fees for processing
drug submissions and establishes fees for providing dosimetry services.
and Amateur Sport Act
This Act gives the Minister authority to enter into agreements with any province in respect of
costs incurred by the province in undertaking programs designed to encourage, promote or develop
fitness in Canada .
and Drugs Act
This Act applies to all food, drugs , natural health products, cosmetics and medical devices sold
in Canada , whether manufactured in Canada or imported. The Act and Regulations govern the sale and
advertisement of these products to ensure their safety and prevent deception. The Act and Regulations
also set out the labelling requirements for food.
Materials Information Review Act
This Act specifies the information which may be the subject of a trade secret claim and establishes a Commission to rule on claims for exemption, assess the MSDS or label to which a claim relates and to administer an appeal process to these rulings.
Part I of this Act provides the authority to prohibit or restrict the advertising, sale, and importation of a "hazardous product"; it is the cornerstone of Canada's Consumer Product Safety Program. Part II of the Hazardous Products Act establishes the supplier label and material safety data sheet requirements of the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, WHMIS. (Products subject to the Explosives Act, the Food and Drugs Act, the Pest Control Products Act, the Nuclear Safety and Control Act or the Tobacco Act are exempt from the Hazardous Products Act.)
The Minister of Health, effective in 1993, administers the provisions of this Act relating to patented
medicine. The patent protection for patented drugs is extended from seventeen years to twenty years.
Subsequently, regulations were adopted linking the issuance of notices of compliance for generic
drugs to the expiry of the patent protection period for the innovator drug. The Act establishes
the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board and the mandate of the Board is to monitor and control
the price of patented medicine.
Control Products Act
This Act and Regulations is intended to protect people and the environment from risks posed by
pesticides. Pesticides include a variety of products such as insecticides, herbicides and fungicides.
Any pesticide imported, sold or used in Canada must first be registered under this Act, which is
administered by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada .
Residue Compensation Act
The Act sets up a compensation regime under which the Minister of Health may compensate a farmer
for losses suffered as a result of the presence of a pesticide residue in or on an agricultural
product if certain conditions are met. One of these conditions is that the Minister issue a certificate
confirming that an inspection made under the Food and Drugs Act disclosed the presence of a pesticide
residue in excess of the permitted level prescribed under the Act, and that consequently the sale
of the product would infringe that Act.
The Act authorizes the Minister of Health to establish quarantine stations and quarantine areas
anywhere and to designate quarantine officers. These officers may inspect conveyances arriving
in or departing from Canada , take protective measures against infested conveyances and their cargo
and quarantine persons found infected with infectious or contagious diseases that would constitute
a grave danger to public health in Canada .
Emitting Devices Act
This Act and Regulations prohibit the sale, lease and importation of radiation emitting devices
that do not comply with the standards applicable thereto. The Minister of Health may appoint inspectors
who are empowered to search premises and to seize and detain devices, and may appoint analysts
to analyse or examine radiation emitting devices and packaging.
This Act establishes powers to regulate tobacco products, to limit youth access to tobacco products,
to restrict the promotion of tobacco products and to increase health information on tobacco packages.
It replaces the Tobacco Products Control Act and the Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act.
Acts for which Health Canada is Involved or has a Special Interest
- Broadcasting Act
Regulations made under this Act and administered by the Minister of Heritage, requires that the script of the commercial message or endorsement has been approved by the Minister of Health to indicate that commercial message or an endorsement conforming to the approved script would comply with the applicable provisions administered by that Minister of the Food and Drugs Act, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and regulations made pursuant to those Acts or to the Department of Health Act; and the script bears the script number assigned to it by that Minister.
- Canada Labour Code
Aviation, Canada, Marine, On Board Trains and Oil and Gas Occupational Safety and Health Regulations adopted under the Canada Labour Code incorporate the Department's potable water safety standard for drinking, personal washing and food preparation and must meet the standards set out in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality published by the Minister of Health.
- Canada Medical Act
The Act creates the Medical Council of Canada. The Council's primary function is to establish and promote a qualification in medicine that is to be acceptable nationally for the purpose of obtaining for its holder a provincial license to practice medicine.
- Canada Shipping Act
The Regulations apply to certain Canadian registered cargo or passenger ships. An inspector, for the purposes of the Regulations, is an officer of the Department of Health (Workplace Health and Public Safety Programme) designated by the Minister of Transport, who may ins0pecdt supplies of food and water on the ship, the space and equipment used for the storage and handling of food and water and the galley and other equipment used for the preparation and service of meals. An inspector may, upon finding unsatisfactory conditions, make a remedial order.
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
Under this Act, the Minister of Health is responsible for establishing policies and standards relating to the safety and nutritional quality of food sold in Canada and assessing the effectiveness of the Agency's activities related to food safety.
- Emergency Preparedness Act
The Minister of Health is responsible only for the health aspect of emergency planning, other ministers being responsible for their own areas.
- Energy Supplies Emergency Act
Under this Act, the Minister of Health must be consulted by the Energy Supplies Allocation Board regarding the relaxation of any provision of law controlling the discharge of sulphur compounds into the atmosphere before the Board makes, in an emergency situation, regulations authorizing the use at fixed sites of high-sulphur fuel that may be harmful to public health.
- Excise Tax Act
The Minister of Health may recommend that certain non-profit organizations or charities who provide continuous care to children or disabled persons in need of continuous care be exempted from the payment of excise tax and may certify that certain expenses of public hospitals qualify for exemption from the payment of excise tax.
- Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act
Canada Health and Social Transfer Regulation adopted under this Act incorporates the national criteria and conditions in the Canada Health Act, including those respecting public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability and accessibility and the provisions relating to extra-billing and user charges.
- Feeds Act
This Act prohibits the manufacture, sale and import into Canada of feeds that may adversely affect animal or human health. The Department of Health provides scientific advice over the impact of feeds on human health and advises on the listing of medicating ingredients.
- Immigration Act
The Minister of Health has only minimal responsibilities in the area of immigration. For the purpose of medical examinations, which may be required from visitors, the Minister determines areas abroad that have a higher incidence of serious communicable diseases. The Minister of Health may also advise on criteria used to determine medical inadmissibility.
- National Parks Act
The Regulation under this Act provides that no person shall carry on any business in a park without a license issued by the superintendent of the park. Before issuing a license, the superintendent may require the applicant to furnish a certificate from a medical health officer or a sanitary inspector or both certifying the sanitary condition of the business premises.
- Nuclear Safety and Control Act
The purpose of this Act, amongst other things, is to provide for the limitation, to a reasonable level and in a manner that is consistent with Canada's international obligations, of the risks to national security, the health and safety of persons and the environment that are associated with the development, production and use of nuclear energy the production, possession and use of nuclear substances, prescribed equipment prescribed information.
- Non-Smokers Health Act
An Act to regulate smoking in the federal workplace and on common carriers and to amend the Hazardous Products Act in relation to cigarette advertising.
- Queen Elizabeth II Canadian Research Fund Act
This Act establishes a fund known as The Queen Elizabeth II Canadian Fund to aid in research on the diseases of children. All rights and property obligations and liabilities in regard to the Fund, which were previously held by a board of trustees, now rest with the Medical Research Council.
- Trade Marks Act
The Minister may declare that a notice be published in the Canada Gazette that a pharmaceutical preparation is substantially different from an existing product to which a trade mark attaches and that this difference is likely to result in a hazard to health.