Given the urgent need for products that can help limit the propagation of the coronavirus, like hand sanitizers and disinfectants, Health Canada has decided to facilitate access to products that do not necessarily respect all regulatory requirements, as a provisional measure.
For example, it will allow products to be sold whose sale is already authorized in Canada, but which do not fully comply with Health Canada requirements (like those whose labels are in English only, or whose packaging is different from the authorized packaging). It will also allow products to be sold that are not authorized for sale in Canada, but that are authorized in other similar jurisdictions.
In the United States, Congress’s most recent aid plan includes a temporary tax waiver that would make it less expensive for spirits producers to manufacture hand sanitizer.
Pur Vodka, a Quebec company, has actually decided to temporarily halt its production in order to use alcohol to manufacture hand sanitizer. “If someone tells me someday that it’s impossible to launch a business in one week, I will tell them that they’re wrong,” said the company’s founder in an interview.
We should remember this after the crisis: A lighter regulatory touch results in more quality products being available, more quickly. And lighter regulation encourages entrepreneurs to produce goods and services, and allows them to adapt very quickly to demand, which benefits everyone.
If there is too much regulation at the moment, it is very likely that there is too much in normal times as well. Let’s hope that in the aftermath of this crisis, there is a push to review and reduce unnecessary and burdensome regulations.