(TORONTO) February 27, 2008, Following Tuesday’s announcement of the 2008 Federal Budget by Minister Flaherty, the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has announced it is pleased to see that $33 million will be allocated to the Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD). However, CHFA believes that the Government missed an opportunity through the tax system to enable Canadians to better manage their health.
“The Government is to be applauded for recognizing the importance of responding to Canadians,” said CHFA President and CEO Penelope Marrett. “A robust and thriving natural health products (NHP) industry will help to ensure that Canadians have access and choice when they are seeking NHPs.
However, Marrett said that as a regulator, what is needed is A-based funding for NHPD, since they are currently dealing with a serious backlog of applications from 2004 when the regulations came into being.
“This backlog is of grave concern to our members,” said Marrett,” We have already seen how this backlog has had a very negative impact on our industry which includes many small businesses. But most importantly, we are worried that this backlog is hindering the supply of these products to Canadians, many of whom rely on NHPs for their health and wellbeing.”
CHFA recommends that funding be provided to NHPD to ensure that the backlog is dealt with quickly, efficiently and suitably, and that the Directorate has the necessary resources to appropriately enforce regulations which affect the 50,000 NHPs currently in the Canadian marketplace.
“The government needs to do more to strengthen the ability of Canadians to better manage their own care, including the use of NHPs,” said Marrett. “Enhancing self-care is of primary importance to Canadians and will save Canada’s health system millions of dollars a year.”
NHPs have become increasingly popular as Canadians look for better ways to manage their health. Over 75 per cent of Canadians purchased natural health products in 2005, according to an Ipsos Reid survey. NHPs available in Canada include vitamins and minerals, herbal remedies, homeopathic medicines, and traditional Chinese medicines. The Canadian NHP industry is currently valued at over $2.5 billion and is growing.
Additionally, CHFA strongly recommends that the Government allocate some of the $72 million earmarked for farm programs to farmers wishing to move from conventional farming to organic.
The popularity of organic products also continues to grow in Canada. The organics industry is currently valued at over $1 billion and growing at a rate of 20 per cent a year.
The Canadian Health Food Association (www.chfa.ca) is Canada’s largest national trade association dedicated to the natural and organic products industry. Our members represent the entire supply chain including growers, manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and importers involved in a variety of industry sub-sectors such as vitamin and mineral supplements, herbal products, homeopathics, sports nutrition products, natural and organic foods, fibres and health and beauty aids. CHFA member products support Canadians seeking optimal health and quality of life.