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Editorial: Canadian Expo Recap

By Len Monheit

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in the Canadian Health Food Association’s Expo East, in Toronto. We’ll have to wait a bit for the official release including numbers, but the event will most likely go down as successful, perhaps not because of sheer numbers of retailers on the show floor, but because of the draw provided by Canada’s new head of the industry’s regulator, Michelle Boudreau, who made several appearances over the weekend, clearly showing at least some alliance and relationship with industry captains.

Due to its location, the annual Expo is the one time of the year when the critical mass of the industry is sure to gather, including most of the corporate leadership. An educational program, including yours truly speaking about proactive and reactive media relations strategy (at last an opportunity to get those opinions off my mind) complements vendor-provided education and the show itself of course.

As noted, of significance was the presence of newly selected Director General of the Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD), Michelle Boudreau, on the job itself for six days as I met her, but certainly no stranger to the NHP regulations (she had been closely involved as they were drafted) or to the CHFA (she spent a lot of time in the company of CHFA leadership) and despite the short duration on post, handled issues and concerns presented with a frankness and openness that one hopes is maintained as she adjusts to her new responsibilities.

Also of note this past week is the dawning realization that, with an election essentially freezing all parliamentary activity in Canada, the contested and revised in committee Bill C-51 is off the table, although like food safety legislation in the United States, likely to raise its head in a new government or administration. One can only hope that the advances made between initial presentation and last public recap are maintained for the next evolution of this legislation.

More about the show itself in subsequent stories. Stay tuned.

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