|The Charter of Health Freedom|
A Law For Natural Health Products & Practices
This is an exciting time in the field of natural medicine. The Charter of Health Freedom has the potential to set Canada apart as one of the most progressive countries in the world. The Charter envisions a health care system to be fully sustainable, culturally diverse and encompass natural, traditional and conventional medicine.
The Charter of Health Freedom is a proposed legislation that gives Natural Health Products and Practices their own Act.
It was developed specifically to protect natural health products (NHPs), practices and the Canadian consumers who use them.
The Charter creates a completely separate category for NHPs; separate from the Drug category that they are currently a part of; under the old Food and Drug Act.
It works within the Government of Canada to provide the new law that works for everybody and protects today’s Canadian public and our future generations. Forever.
The Charter of Health Freedom offers an appropriate, healthy, beneficial, safe and well-rooted change for regulating the nation's natural health products industry; permanently. It proposes the definition and regulation of NHPs be elevated to a peer basis with Drugs.
The Charter of Health Freedom is a reminder to exercise the rights and freedoms we enjoy as Canadians. It is a change that meets today’s greatly shifting values and ethics. It is about creating an evolution. It is about protecting our freedom to choose.
We understand that not all of us are lawyers, politicians or technically-minded, so what we have done is make reading and understanding the Charter as easy as possible. For your convenience, we have inserted video clips next to each section of the Charter. Shawn Buckley, the Charter’s author explains each section. We have also inserted interactive pop-ups next to highlighted words we felt needed more clarification.
Two Sets Of Rules
We need a balanced set of laws for NHPs and the natural health community. We need a legal foundation designed to protect NHPs and the natural health community. We can’t experience the health freedom that the courts tell us we have if there is restricted access to safe, effective and high quality NHPs and natural and traditional health practitioners. The Charter of Health Freedom gives the government powers needed to address safety concerns while at the same time charging them to respect our rights and freedoms.
Products versus Practice
The Charter of Health Freedom is a Federal Law. The federal government does not have the jurisdiction to regulate health care practitioners. This is why provinces regulate health issues such as who can practice as health care practitioners. Because the Federal Government does not have the jurisdiction to regulate health care practitioners, the Charter of Health Freedom does not attempt to do so. The only effect the Charter will have on health care practitioners is to ensure that safe and effective treatments remain available to them.
Keeping Our Options Open
The Charter of Health Freedom is about the legal sovereignty you have over your body as a Canadian.
The Charter of Health Freedom is about protecting your right to decide how you will maintain your health or address a health crisis by protecting your treatment options.
The Charter of Health Freedom is about protecting our fundamental right to choose how we or our children will be treated when sick or injured.
The Charter of Health Freedom is about protecting our safety by ensuring that we can continue to access treatments we can rely on.
The Charter of Health Freedom is being supported by a broad cross-section of Canadians, including consumers/citizens, herbalists. NHP manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, Natural Health practitioners from many disciplines and cultures and NGOs. The Charter of Health Freedom seeks to ensure that the rights guaranteed to Canadians in Constitution and our common law heritage aren’t extinguished by actions, well-intentioned or otherwise, of any governments, domestic or foreign.
The principles of the Charter of Health Freedom are universal in nature, but the language is specific to the Canadian legal/constitutional system. The Charter reaffirms in law the long-standing relationship citizens of our great nation have enjoyed with government as a servant, rather than master in our affairs.
Signs Of Tightening
NHPs we rely on for our health are being taken away from us in unprecedented numbers. The number of lost NHPs is measured in the tens of thousands and increasing. The imposition of the drug model which is intended and designed to restrict access is, unsurprisingly, restricting our access. If our children are going to experience the same health freedoms we have enjoyed, we will have to act.
We envision this health care system to be fully sustainable, culturally diverse and encompass natural, traditional and conventional medicine. We envision a health care system that respects our legal and ancestral rights. The Charter of Health Freedom has the potential to set us apart as one of the most progressive countries in the world introducing it’s visionary proposal; The Ministry of Wellness.
Life or Death Issues
The Charter protects Canadians’ rights to unhindered access to safely regulated natural health products.
The greatest crisis facing Canadians in our health care system is the growing tension between constantly rising costs and declining outcomes. When Canadians use natural health products they ease the burden on the health care system. This deserves to be recognized by our Members of Parliament. Why is it not public policy to support such tendencies Dollar against dollar, measure against measure – benefits, adverse effects, compliance - NHPs deliver a better return on investment than drugs. It should be the case that the widest possible use of NHPs is formally promoted.
A Natural Act
Natural Health Products and Traditional Medicine cannot be safeguarded under the Food and Drugs Act. The natural health community needs needs a separate act. If the tobacco industry was permitted to protect itself from drug regulation in 1997 by forming the Tobacco Act, so too can safe and effective NHPs and traditional medicine be permitted protection in a similar fashion.
This new federal legislation serves to include all natural medicines, therapies and treatments. It is built on the fundamental belief that every person has the right to choose what form of health care they and their family wish to receive.
The Ministry Of Wellness
The Ministry of Wellness has been put forward as an alternative, and partner, to the current Ministry of Health/Health Canada. Given the track records and differences between conventional medicine and natural medicine, it is quite evident that they should be regulated separately.
The Ministry of Wellness would therefore oversee natural medicines, therapies and treatments and natural healing arts while the Ministry of Health/Health Canada would oversee conventional medicine. The Minister of Wellness would be restricted to regulating the NHP industry.
This concept is unique to Canada and would serve as a solution that would accommodate all parties and honour the multiple Supreme Court of Canada decisions which consistently reinforce the notion of sovereignty over one's body.
With a new Charter and a new Ministry we can expect a broad-based health care system in which Canadians would be free to choose what form of health maintenance, prevention or crisis treatment they would like to receive and could have confidence in knowing that both are being regulated well.
When In Doubt
If there is something that you do not quite understand or would like to comment on please do not hesitate to contact us. Email your detailed question, comment or suggestion including your full contact information, for discussion. Shawn and the core advisory team welcome legitimate communication with representatives of any associations, organizations, governing or regulating bodies and individuals from within or without the natural health industry and community that may feel affected by the Charter.