Saturday, July 13, 2024

The Canadian Parliament’s Approach To the Use of Hand Sanitizer

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The emergence of Covid-19 has affected most, if not every country worldwide. It is considered the worst international health calamity of the 21st century and the greatest challenge humans have faced since World War 2.

The virus rapidly spread across the world, posing serious health, social, environmental, and economic concerns in many countries. This prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the novel coronavirus a global pandemic.

A report published by the WHO on the 18th of April 2020 stated that Covid-19 had affected the lives of over 2 million people, killing nearly 150,000 people in more than 200 countries worldwide.

To enact preemptive measures to curb the novel coronavirus during its early stages, countries looked to the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to provide information on how to curb the virus.

The global health governing bodies invested in intense scientific research to find out details about the virus such as its prevalence, how it spreads, and how it affects different people.

Findings from the ongoing research by the two global health governing bodies prompted them to outline certain recommendations to help fight Covid-19. Some of them include staying at home, use of protective face masks when out in public, and maintaining both social distancing and good hand hygiene.

Countries such as Venezuela, Vietnam, and the Czech republic proceeded to implement some of these measures into law such as mandatory face mask use. Canada has also been affected severely by the virus.

Canada experienced an 11% drop in its GDP. As of the 1st of September, the country had experienced about 130,000 cases and over 9,000 fatalities. Let’s take a look at what the Government of Canada has done so far to curb the spread of the virus, including the use of hand sanitizer Canada.

Canada’s Fight Against Covid-19

A lot of Canada’s hospitals were ready for an overwhelming fight against Covid-19. The Government of Canada realized that all levels of the healthcare system in Canada were bound to be involved in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was, therefore, important that all levels of government related to the provision of care both regionally and nationally, worked together to impact an effective response.

Initially, there were concerns about a deficiency in personal protective equipment (PPEs) but the country passed legislation that favored an increase in production. In July, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that companies operating within Canada produced so much PPE in response to the coronavirus such that the country was almost becoming self-sufficient.

Canada’s Stand on Hand Sanitizer

As stated earlier, hand hygiene is one of the measures outlined by the CDC and the WHO in fighting Covid-19. This came about as a result of the discovery that the coronavirus primarily spreads through oral droplets from an infected person that are released when the person is talking, sneezing, or coughing.

These droplets could either land on someone thus infecting them or on a surface that experiences high human traffic. When a non-infected person touches the surface, they run the risk of being infected with the virus.

Therefore, to curb the risk of contamination, Canadians were urged to wash their hands with soap and water whenever possible or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. As per Statistics Canada, the demand for hand sanitizer in the country rose by over 710% by mid-March 2020 as compared to the previous year.

In response to the unprecedented urgent need for hand sanitizer, Canada proceeded to implement various policies. Some of the policies involved both facilitating fast importation of hand sanitizer as well as the production of hand sanitizers that don’t fully meet regulatory requirements outlined by the Food and Drugs Act, the Hazardous Products Act, and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.

For instance, importers of hand sanitizers were required to use bilingual label copy on their online platforms. They would also provide distributors with a means of informing consumers where the bilingual label copy would be posted. This could be facilitated through a sticker applied directly to the product packaging or take-away pamphlets.

However, in June 2020, Health Canada recalled some hand sanitizer products from the market. Some of them include Sanilabs Hand Sanitizer, Eltraderm Hand Sanitizer, and Walker Emulsions Hand Sanitizer.

These products were said to have been made with an ingredient that could cause skin irritation to the skin hence the recall. Health Canada proceeded to publish a list of hand sanitizer brands that were approved for sale. 

Mandatory Use of Hand Sanitizer: Canada’s Approach

When it comes to making hand sanitizer mandatory, the government has not implemented such a measure yet and is looking very unlikely to. The reason for this is that there are no hand sanitizers approved with coronavirus-related claims.

To be fair, no hand sanitizer manufacturer has come out to claim that hand sanitizer can kill viruses such as Covid-19. All the same, they do help reduce the risk of infection and spread of pathogens. 

Will Making Hand Sanitizer Mandatory Help Fight Covid-19?

The onset of the Corona virus has affected the world in so many ways. Government administrations across the world have had to implement certain measures in response to the virus.

However, the variations in policy enactment and implementation meant that the severity of the coronavirus also varied a lot between countries. While some governments have been able to restrict its spread, others have not been as successful.

In Canada, millions of people have been affected health wise, financially, emotionally, and mentally. The provinces of Quebec and Ontario have recorded more than 85% of the country’s coronavirus cases.

As far as mandatory hand sanitizer use goes, the Government of Canada has not passed such a law and it’s not looking likely that it will either.

Because hand sanitizer use is not fully proven to kill pathogens, it cannot be concluded that making hand sanitizer use mandatory would be a progressive measure. Even if it was to implement such a law, policing would be difficult.

What they have done instead and have received wide applause for, is making it easier for Canadians to access hand sanitizer by implementing laws that allow for the quick production and sale of hand sanitizer products.

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