Vanessa’s Law unanimously passed in House of Commons

Bill C-17 was first proposed by Oakville's MP Terence Young in December 2013.

Vanessa with her father Terence Young MP Oakville
Vanessa’s Law unanimously passed in House of Commons
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Peter Turkington

Peter Turkington

Peter Turkington is a communications consultant and political strategist based in Oakville with clients throughout Canada and the U.S. With 15 years in the communications field and 25 years in the political arena, he has designed integrated communications campaigns for companies of every size: enterprise, mid-size, and small business. He has also provided political campaign strategy and advice to leaders at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

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The Government of Canada welcomes amendments that would strengthen transparency in the proposed patient safety legislation Vanessa’s Law (Bill C-17). Since introduction in December 2013, Vanessa’s Law has received broad support from members of Parliament, stakeholders and healthcare groups in recognition of the important drug safety improvements that it would deliver, should it become law.

The amendments to Bill C-17 were introduced by Member of Parliament, Terrence Young and adopted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health on June 12. The Bill has now passed Third Reading in the House of Commons and moves to the Senate for consideration.

Once implemented, Vanessa’s Law will save innumerable of lives a year in Canada, and prevent tens of thousands of injuries. – MP Terence Young

The amendments include:

  • the requirement that both positive and negative decisions about drug authorizations be disclosed on a public website
  • clinical trial information be disclosed on a public registry.

The amendments also better define the scope of confidential business information (CBI) and allow the Minister to disclose CBI about a product, should the product pose a serious risk to Canadians.

The amendments to Bill C-17 would enable Health Canada to continue strengthening its Regulatory Transparency and Openness Framework that was announced in April of this year by the Minister. The Framework commits Health Canada to a set of concrete initiatives that would make regulatory health and safety information more available to Canadians. With this information, Canadians can make well-informed decisions concerning their health and that of their families.

“It is difficult to overstate the importance of this Bill to patient safety. This is a generational change. Vanessa would be very pleased to know that her loss of life has led to the government of Canada acting to prevent others from suffering her fate,” said MP for Oakville Terence Young.

Quick Facts

  • Vanessa’s Law (Bill C-17) would give the Minister of Health new tools to better respond to drug safety issues, such as the power to recall unsafe drugs, impose stiff financial penalties, and require mandatory adverse reaction reporting by healthcare facilities.
  • The amendments to the Bill would enhance transparency concerning Health Canada’s regulatory decisions, information regarding clinical trials, and the scope of confidential business information and disclosure.
  • If passed, Vanessa’s Law would provide new tools to make pharmaceutical drugs, biologics and medical devices safer for Canadians.

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