May 18, 1984

?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN ADVANCE PAYMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF ADVANCE
Permalink
LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Shall the title carry?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN ADVANCE PAYMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF ADVANCE
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN ADVANCE PAYMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF ADVANCE
Permalink

Title agreed to.


LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Shall the Bill carry?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN ADVANCE PAYMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF ADVANCE
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Bill reported, read the third time and passed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRAIRIE GRAIN ADVANCE PAYMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF ADVANCE
Permalink

RADIATION EMITTING DEVICES ACT

LIB

Pierre De Bané (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans)

Liberal

Hon. Pierre De Bane (for the Minister of National Health and Welfare) moved

that Bill C-5, an act to amend the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs.

Mr. Speaker, the mandate and powers vested in the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mrs. Begin) cover all matters that relate to promoting and safeguarding the health of the Canadian people and lie within the jurisdiction of this Parliament.

Today, we are exposed to various forms of radiation emitted by an increasing number of industrial and consumer products. Information is released daily to the general public on the dangers of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. However, many people do not fully realize that as far as exposure to ionizing radiation is concerned, the greatest danger stem from X-rays. Medical use of X-rays accounts for over 90 per cent of total exposure due to artificial sources.

On the other hand, X-rays form an essential part of modern medical practice. It is believed that half of all vital decisions concerning the health of patients are based on radiological procedures.

We must protect ourselves against ionizing and non-ionizing radiation because exposure to these types of radiation may have harmful effects which are apparent not only in exposed individuals but also in their descendants. In 1972, the federal Government introduced the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, thereby taking responsibility for regulating the safety of radiation emitting devices imported and sold in Canada. Since that time, the Department directed by my hon. colleague, the Minister of National Health and Welfare, has developed and implemented regulations for various types of devices, including TV sets, dental X-ray equipment, microwave ovens, X-ray devices for baggage inspection, equipment for ultrasound therapy, X-ray equipment for diagnostic purposes and X-ray equipment for therapeutic use.

After considerable experience in developing and implementing these regulations, the limitations of the legislation became clear. The present amendments are aimed at consolidating the legislation. They will make it possible to add to the Radiation Emitting Devices Act some important changes I shall mention later on.

May 18, 1984

First, there is the extension of the scope of the Act to cover all electro-magnetic and acoustic frequencies. This, for example, would permit the establishment of a standard for radio frequency heaters. Many of these devices have been found to emit radiation at levels well in excess of currently accepted international standards. Extending the scope of the Act to include all acoustic frequencies would permit an assessment of the health effects of high levels of infrasound which come from air conditioning, heating and ventilating systems, compressors and large diesel engines. The biological effects which have been attributed to infrasound include hearing loss, involuntary eye movements, nausea, slowed reactions and fatigue.

Second, there is the extension of control of devices for which standards have not been prescribed and which are defective or create a risk of injury to the health of the user. Under the present Act, new types of radiation-emitting devices for which standards have not been prescribed can be sold even though these devices may be hazardous or ineffective. For example, new applications for the use of lasers are being discovered. However, in view of advancing technology in this area, the establishment of adequate safeguards in the form of standards could require an appreciable period of time.

The third point is the extension of the control of devices for which standards are applicable at the time of sale, importation or lease. Under the existing Act, radiation emitting devices manufactured outside of Canada, prior to the establishment of prescribed standards, can continue to be imported and sold indefinitely, even though these devices are potentially hazardous to Canadian users. For example, the dental X-ray equipment, which was manufactured more than ten years ago and considered to be substandard, may continue to be sold or leased under the present Act unless it is amended.

The fourth point is the prohibition of false or misleading representations with respect to the design, construction, performance and safety of radiation emitting devices. The present Act contains no restrictions on false or misleading claims made by manufacturers or distributors.

Finally, there would be a provision for notification of devices which create a risk of injury to health, or do not meet the prescribed requirements. This provision will require a manufacturer or importer to notify the Minister of any device which, after sale or lease, the manufacturer or importer finds to be injurious to health, or fails to perform according to the indicated performance characteristics.

My dear colleagues can readily see that these amendments to the Radiation Emitting Devices Act are essential for the regulatory control of radiation emitting devices that are potentially hazardous to the Canadian user and are not now subject to the provisions of the present legislation. Parliament passed a Bill early in the 1970s to control radiation, but after 12 years of experience we have discovered that there are circumstances which that law does not cover and which should be under legislation. Therefore, this Bill is to ask for the support of the

Radiation Emitting Devices Act

House to cover those other matters in order that the Department of National Health and Welfare will be able to protect the health of the Canadian people. In view of that, I would invite my colleagues to give speedy passage to this Bill.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RADIATION EMITTING DEVICES ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

Thomas Scott Fennell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Scott Fennell (Ontario):

Mr. Speaker, the first place we should start on radiation emitting devices is right here in this House. I have never been in any one room where so many people are forced to wear glasses. I am sure it is indirectly having a negative effect on our health, and that it is caused by electronic products.

I am concerned with the broadness of this Bill. As the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Miss Begin) is aware, the Bill was originally drafted on September 12, 1979, by a Consrevative Minister. It is a little bit shocking that the Government has taken so long to upgrade this Bill, because each day there are new devices being developed and there are new problems resulting from the new devices. I agree that the Bill requires speedy passage. But there are problems and weaknesses in the Bill which were not in the original amendment submitted by the Conservative Minister in 1979.

First, the Bill should be restricted to radiation emitting devices. It should not, through the back door, be covering other noise levels, which are provincial territory. I am worried that the Bill will include such things as chain-saws. If a chain-saw is muffled to too great an extent, it does not have the same effect. That problem can be solved by wearing ear mufflers. I hope that the Minister is not intending to include such things as chain-saws, jackhammers, diesel engines and scrapers. That is not the intent of the Bill.

Originally, the Act was passed principally to cover X-ray equipment. It has now gone beyond that. As the Minister mentioned, it now includes lasers and video screens. There is a lot of doubt and a lot of misunderstanding concerning video screens. There are so many new technological changes in the workplace resulting from electronic devices that I agree the Bill must be broad enough to protect people from the hazards of the new devices of which we are not aware. However, I would be very annoyed if the Bill were designed in such a way as to protect, through the back door, against certain industrial noises which come under provincial jurisdiction.

I think the Bill will be given speedy reading, but it is our request that it be sent to committee and that it be examined carefully, clause by clause. It is a very serious Bill and it is particularly serious in this age of new technology. I would suggest that the Bill should only apply to new devices which are developed in the future arising out of new technology. It should not apply to the basic tools of construction and of other industries as that could have a negative effect on those industries at a time when we cannot afford to stop people from working.

Hopefully, with time things will improve. As the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (Mr. De Bane) pointed out, if the Bill is passed, it could have an effect on air conditioning and heating. I would like to point out to the Minister that perhaps we should deal, under this Bill, with some of the window air

May 18, 1984

Radiation Emitting Devices Act

conditioners in the House of Commons. People cannot work when those air conditioning units are operating. However, I do not think that that is the intent of this Act. It was certainly not the original intent. The intent is to protect people. Cases have been made regarding video terminals. People have argued that they have had a negative effect on pregnancy. There has been no proof of that, but I think we must investigate what are the effects on people.

Personally, I use a computer. I find that it is very tiring on my eyes to use that computer for more than 45 minutes to one hour at a time. There must be some hidden effect of which we are not aware and which we must address. I also feel that there must be an effect on children and that they must be suffering from watching television. Perhaps that should be looked at. Specifically, we should only be looking at electronic devices. Those devices should be monitored and vetted. I agree that they should be labelled and totally checked by analysts, as provided for in the Bill. That is what the Bill should address. It should not address the complaints of some people who are not directly affected. It is the do-gooders who do not like the noise. If we stop the machines, the noise stops but the people will have to stop working, and we cannot afford that today. Therefore, I think it is important that we remove the concept of industrial noise and make this very specifically "noise resulting from new technology in electronics".

There is one other area in the Bill which could be broadened. Possibly stereo systems could be allowed to play only at a certain level. I feel that is an infringement on the rights of the Canadian public. However, I must admit, as an individual, that there are many times when I would be delighted if people were not allowed to turn the noise level of their stereos up so high. I have raised children, so I am very much aware of this problem. I worry about their ears. But I do not believe we can regulate, or should regulate, that noise level.

As I said earlier, we must be careful in this Bill that we do not infringe upon the provincial areas of occupational health, which fall under the Workmen's Compensation Boards in the various provinces across this country, or which fall under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Labour in the various provinces.

I believe we have to be careful that we do not put ourselves in the position of going beyond our purpose.

With respect to the importation of radiation emitting devices, I believe the standards of those products are very important. There are many newly industrialized countries, NICs, which are producing these products with possibly lower standards than we require or are used to. We must ensure, when something is brought into Canada that it is not going to be a new danger to the people of this country. Radiation emitting devices are safe if proper safety standards are built in. But let us be very careful, before they are put on the consumer market or allowed to be sold in this country, that they are thoroughly tested so that ten years from now we do not find that we have problems in the health area because we had allowed these units in.

Labelling and packaging is very important. I notice some of the previous regulations call for signs. However, those signs do not really tell me enough. They do not give me the whole story. There must be warnings. For instance, I am not certain about microwave ovens. No one has satisfied me totally that there is not some radiation being emitted from them. I am concerned about children who are at home and have access to microwave ovens while their parents are at work. I am not satisfied that we have looked at all the ramifications with respect to the danger in the use of those units. I would like to have put in place some defence mechanism so that our health costs will not be affected in the future. If we make sure that there will not be illness resulting from these things, it will have a direct and positive effect on our health costs.

I agree with certain regulations in this Bill. I agree there are certain safety checks we must take. However, in this field, where there is a proliferation of new devices produced over the last few years, we must be very careful to have complete analyses dope, and a section should be added to define an analyst as a person designated by the Minister as an analyst under the Act. I do not believe that is stated clearly enough. I believe it must be someone with expertise in the field. I do not feel we can generalize and appoint a friend or acquaintance who happens to be adequate. Perhaps we should work this out with the provinces. It could be that they already have these people in their safety associations.

I would like to talk about manufacturers for a moment. Unfortunately, we do not produce a large amount of electronic equipment in this country. It is predominantly imported. We lost that industry because we did not move as quickly as the Japanese. We must make certain of who the manufacturer is, what the regulations are in the country of manufacture, and that the same standards which are acceptable in the country of origin apply. As well, they should meet the same standards as in the United States, which had these standards in place before us.

I have a great deal more to say on this subject but I do want to see this Bill go through second reading today, and I understand there are two more speakers. However, I want to say that we must be careful that we deal directly with radiation emitting devices and do not broaden the Bill beyond its scope. This is a very specific field with which we must deal. We must not get mixed up with other things, because if we do it will water this Bill down.

Having said that, I thank the House for bearing with me in my few remarks and I look forward to having a further discussion on this subject when we get the Bill to committee.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RADIATION EMITTING DEVICES ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
NDP

Daniel James Macdonnell Heap

New Democratic Party

Mr. Dan Heap (Spadina):

Mr. Speaker, this Bill amending the legislation which controls radiation emitting equipment is one which should be adopted whether in its present form or with any amendments. It is not a new idea. This is a Bill which has been updated from time to time as our legislation tries to catch up with new developments in industry.

I wish to speak about two specific points in the Bill and then add one generalization. The two points are, first, the matter of

May 18, 1984

acoustics and, second, the matter of video screens. I wish to comment generally that the consideration which should be given when approaching this subject should be much wider and deeper.

With respect to acoustics, I am not opposed to having this Bill cover the subject of sound waves and excessive sound. I have worked in industry. I have also been an alderman in a downtown area of a large city. I know that in the modern world, loud noise is becoming a serious problem. I do not believe it was, perhaps, in my parent's or grandparent's time, but in our time it is, and it has to be controlled. The instruments for controlling loud noise are not yet well developed and must be worked on.

I believe this legislation, if properly used, does not have to have the bad results which the previous speaker fears. It could, but it does not have to. What is needed is to develop precise criteria, test equipment and techniques as they are brought into the market. Rather than waiting for 10, 20 or 30 years of complaints, we must make it politically necessary to do something in a hurry. It is the same with video screens, televisions or microwave ovens, which might have bad effects on genetics and on the reproductive prospects of our people. I may be biased in favour of children. I have ten grandchildren. I am concerned when I hear of the long-range and often unpredictable effects of radiation. I would like to see us provide the framework for controlling and, if necessary, restricting devices found to have harmful genetic effects. That is one of the amendments before us today. It does not necessarily automatically ban new equipment. It does suggest that we have to develop precise criteria for the use of new equipment for processes and we have to test them early, not after we have found a whole generation or two generations of genetic defects.

This brings me to a point I am very much concerned with. As I say, having worked in industry and having represented the residents of an extremely busy and intense downtown district for almost nine years, I find that we are always being told that we cannot hinder progress. It would hurt the economy if we stopped these new processes or restricted these new kinds of equipment. Let them go ahead and maybe they will not hurt anyone. Who knows? Let us wait another ten years or 50 years to see whether asbestos is going to hurt anyone. That was the attitude more than a generation ago when asbestos was known by those responsible to be harmful. Let us not apply the "miner's canary" technique to our children. A canary was carried down in the mine by the miner so that if it fell over, the miner knew he should get out of there because there was poison gas in the mine and it would get him soon after the canary. Our children are delicate. Let us not wait until they are harmed before we test and, where necessary, let us restrict and correct the equipment to be used.

That will cost money, Mr. Speaker. Whether it is the federal or provincial Government the ultimate reason given for neglecting these new health hazards is that they do not have enough inspectors or the inspectors do not have enough equip-

Radiation Emitting Devices Act ment. Mr. Speaker, if we are going to have and use the wonderful labour saving devices which modern science enables us to create, if we are going to have one person do the work of 100 through these new machines, then we have an opportunity to find useful work for the other 99. A few of them can economically be put to work testing the new substances, the thousands of new and poisonous chemicals in industry, the many new potential radiation hazards we have from new equipment. They can be tested. We can hire the technicians and the inspectors, and we can buy the equipment to do the testing.

I hope this Bill will provide a framework for doing that. It will still be up to governments to decide to spend the money to enforce this legislation in an intelligent way, and I hope that will be done. I hope that whatever discussions there may be in committee, they will not shut off that possibility but will, rather, open it up.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RADIATION EMITTING DEVICES ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

Dave Nickerson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dave Nickerson (Western Arctic):

Mr. Speaker, the Government will undoubtedly be pleased to hear that I can confirm there is a disposition on this side to deal with this Bill by the appointed time and have it sent on its merry way to the proper committee.

Having read the Bill, I approve in general of the legislation. The principle of the Bill is to widen slightly the definition of radiation emitting devices, not in the way that the Hon. Member for Ontario (Mr. Fennell) read it, because we do have difficulties with very broad interpretations. But if the principle is to widen it somewhat to deal with new types of equipment coming on the market, then we will be pleased to see this Bill go into committee for further study.

Reference has been made to radiation associated with products like microwave ovens and televisions. Television has been with us a long while and I believe the amount of radiation emitted from the average colour TV set has been reduced considerably over the last little while. But we still have something to worry about with children who spend a lot of time sitting very close to television sets.

There is a question about the harmful effects that cathode ray tubes from video screens might have, especially on pregnant female operators. I would imagine that this is why we have included in the amendments to this Bill the term "genetic injury", whereas previously we had confined ourselves to death and personal injury. I think there is considerably more research needed into the dangers associated with these types of radiation emitting devices. Certainly it will be difficult to determine the long-run genetic effects of low levels of radiation to which people might be subjected over an extended period of time. We might want to look at transferring some of these radiation emitting devices, not those of the X-ray or gamma-ray type, but those types that emit alpha particles and beta particles presently covered, I believe, under the Atomic Energy Control Act. These are becoming numerous because they are not only used in atomic energy production but are showing up quite frequently in many walks of industrial life. Given that, it might be more appropriate to deal with some types of alpha and beta radiation emitting devices under this

Regulatory Reform

Act rather than under the Act by which they are presently covered. I am thinking about bore hole logging devices used in the oil industry and new types of equipment coming on stream for in situ analysis in mines, a kind of instant assay equipment. That might be better dealt with under this legislation.

I just wanted to say that the regulations form an integral part of this Bill. Hopefully, they will be available for study in committee. I have looked at the search and seizure provisions of this Bill and they seem to be quite acceptable. The penalty clause of the present Act might be changed to bring it more into line with this inflationary period, as well as similar Acts of Parliament and statutes of provincial legislatures. In closing, I repeat that in principle we on this side are in favour of this Bill.

Mr. De Bane (for the Minister of National Health and

Welfare) moved that Bill C-5, an Act to amend the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, be now read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RADIATION EMITTING DEVICES ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RADIATION EMITTING DEVICES ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RADIATION EMITTING DEVICES ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink

Motion agreed to, Bill read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs.


LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

It being four o'clock, the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RADIATION EMITTING DEVICES ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS-MOTIONS

LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Shall all orders and items preceding No. 105 stand by unanimous consent?

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS-MOTIONS
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS-MOTIONS
Permalink

REGULATORY REFORM

May 18, 1984