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Risky Business

Risky Business: Canada's Changing Science-Based Policy and Regulatory Regime

  • Book Info
    Risky Business
    Book Description:

    The essays in this volume ask what risks Canadians might be exposed to as fiscal pressures strain the capacity of regulators in areas such as food, drugs, pesticides, fisheries, and the environment.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7939-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. 1 Canadaʹs Changing Science-Based Policy and Regulatory Regime: Issues and Framework
    (pp. 3-28)

    As a century ends and a new millennium begins, a series of episodes and controversies, both Canadian and global, have brought the issues of science in the formation of government policy and regulations to the fore in ways that are in many respects unprecedented. In Canada these have centred on controversies surrounding the collapse of fish stocks in the Atlantic fishery and the issue of tainted blood and the failure of the countryʹs blood regulatory system. Concerns have been raised about the independence of science in the Health Protection Branch at Health Canada and about the nuclear reactors used to...

  6. Part 1: Macro-Issues and Policy Controversies

    • 2 Government Science and the Public Interest
      (pp. 31-48)

      What is the role of the federal government in conducting science and technology¹ within its own laboratories and facilities? Within the context of the emerging knowledge-based economy, and within the current period of government restructuring, this question is very timely. The tensions are clear. Despite the strong activity in science by several provincial governments, the performance of science and technology by national governments in a number of advanced industrial economies, including Canada, has fallen since the early 1980s.² The number of non-traditional science-performing nation states - many of which are becoming Canadaʹs trading partners - has risen. Science-based issues are...

    • 3 Between Expertise and Bureaucracy: Risk Management Trapped at the Science-Policy Interface
      (pp. 49-74)

      Recent experience in Canada indicates that there is some serious misalignment in the interplay between science and public policy. Indeed, one might conclude that the two appear to be fundamentally incompatible with each other, so much so that their respective outcomes could be expected to dovetail only by pure chance. This experience is useful, for it tells us that an old pattern - where government departments directly do scientific work which is then applied to policy choices - is obsolete. This chapter argues the case for a new paradigm, where governmentsmanagehealth and environmental risks, and draw upon independent...

    • 4 Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease): Lessons for Public Policy
      (pp. 75-101)

      The bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) saga is generally, and rightly, regarded as having constituted the largest single failure in U.K. public policy since the Suez Crisis of 1956. It almost certainly did more damage to Britainʹs public finances, and to the United Kingdomʹs international reputation and relationships than did the perfidious events of 1956. That fact alone might suggest that an account of BSE could interest policy analysts in other countries, but when seen from a North American perspective two issues come into particularly sharp focus. First, an analysis of the history of BSE policy making, and its consequences, might...

    • 5 Can Eco-Labelling Undermine International Agreement on Science-Based Standards?
      (pp. 102-130)

      The major issues in this book concern the capacity of Canadaʹs regulatory institutions to regulate their various sectors on a sound scientific basis, the possible impact of such regulation on the competitiveness of Canadian industries whose activities are being regulated, and the level of public trust in the scientific and technical abilities of the regulatory agencies themselves. This chapter focuses mainly on the last area - the question of public trust - and considers whether that public trust can be manipulated in such a way that the relevance of the scientific basis of regulation is undermined. In short, can the...

    • 6 Risk-Based Regulatory Responses in Global Food Trade: A Case Study of Guatemalan Raspberry Imports into the United States and Canada, 1996–1998
      (pp. 131-155)

      On 11 June 1998, the associate medical officer of health for the City of Toronto, Dr Barbara Yaffe, announced that health officials were investigating more than sixty cases of cyclospora in people who had consumed contaminated food between 7 May and 15 May 1998 at seven different private dinners and catered events around the city (Canadian Press, 1998; Robertson, 1998a). While health officials were understandably reluctant to implicate any specific food, others immediately observed that in the previous two years, approximately 2,500 North Americans had been stricken with cyclospora, almost exclusively linked to the consumption of fresh raspberries from Guatemala,...

    • 7 Socioeconomic versus Science-Based Regulation: Informal Influences on the Formal Regulation of rbST in Canada
      (pp. 156-182)

      Over the past decade, the potential use of recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) in the Canadian dairy industry has stimulated vigorous policy debate. Battles were waged over the science of rbST, the socioeconomics of rbST, and the process by which rbST was to be regulated (Mills, 1996; Powell and Leiss, 1997). As one of the first veterinary drugs manufactured using biotechnology to enter the Canadian food regulatory process, rbST generated significant concern among a variety of actors with vested interests in the outcome of its regulation. This confronted regulators with the difficult task of balancing the formal scientific criteria by which...

  7. Part 2: Science in Regulatory and Risk Management Institutions

    • 8 The Therapeutic Products Programme: From Traditional Science-Based Regulator to Science-Based Risk-Benefit Manager?
      (pp. 185-207)

      Few areas of Canadaʹs science-based regulatory system have faced the array of challenges and choices that are part of the routine of the Therapeutic Products Programme (TPP) of Health Canada. Embracing areas such as drug regulation, medical devices, biologicals such as vaccines and blood products, and complementary or natural medicines, the TPP is an organizational and regulatory amalgam with a daunting job to do. Though different in scope and form from its formerly separate predecessor bodies, the Drugs Directorate and the Medical Devices Bureau, the TPP is an entity whose essential rhythms of activity will be familiar to former ministers...

    • 9 The Canadian Food Inspection Agency: Modernizing Science-Based Regulation
      (pp. 208-233)

      The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which came into being April 1997, is the lead governmental bureau in Canada devoted to the regulation of animal, food, and plant health as well as consumer safety in regards to the labelling and packaging of food products. As a recent innovation in public administration and science-based policy making, the CFIA warrants a close look as a science-based regulatory organization. This involves consideration of the role and nature of scientific knowledge and research supplied by natural scientists as well as technical and professional personnel in support of food policy making and related regulatory functions.¹...

    • 10 The Pest Management Regulatory Agency: The Resilience of Science in Pesticide Regulation
      (pp. 234-260)

      Protecting people and the environment from risks associated with pesticides raises some unusual and interesting public policy issues that do not have exact counterparts in other areas of science-based regulation. These issues relate mainly to the publicʹs regular and involuntary exposure to pesticides and the deliberate use of pesticides in the environment. The issues also relate to the particular configuration of economic and political or public stakeholder interests associated with pesticide regulation.

      During the past fifteen years or so, the political influence of stakeholders, the development of global markets, and budgetary pressures have led to extensive legal, organizational, and procedural...

    • 11 Fisheries and Oceans Canada: Science and Conservation
      (pp. 261-285)

      This chapter examines the role of science in the regulatory regime of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada with a focus on its Science Branch. Science-based regulation in fisheries refers to the direct use of the knowledge and research provided by research scientists, biologists, and technicians within DFO trained in diverse disciplines related to marine, freshwater, and oceanographic analysis of Canadaʹs ocean and freshwater resources. This scientific capacity is required to carry out the mandate of the department, as embodied in the Fisheries Act of Canada, for the conservation and sustainability of Canadaʹs marine and coastal resources that...

    • 12 Patient Science versus Science on Demand: The Stretching of Green Science at Environment Canada
      (pp. 286-306)

      This chapter examines Environment Canada as a science-based policy and regulatory institution. In concert with the bookʹs overall purpose, it is aninstitutionallyfocused examination in that it tries to cover some basic realities that would confront the author or any reader of this book if we became minister or deputy minister of the environment tomorrow. Institutional analysis means that Environment Canada must be seen as an amalgam of laws, political and bureaucratic players, and organizations with cultures and histories, interacting with diverse interests with strong contending views about what has been done and what needs to be done about...

    • 13 A Question of Balance: New Approaches for Science-Based Regulation
      (pp. 307-333)

      This chapter examines several overall new institutional approaches crucial to enhancing the openness and efficacy of science-based regulation in Canada. New approaches are necessary to react to the changing context for government, globalization, diminished public confidence, and fiscal constraint. Virtually all of the operations of government in Canada are caught up in this process of profound transformation. There is virtually no area of government activity that is not subject to intense scrutiny and assessments of the potential for change. Even the most stable and fundamental roles of government are being subjected to review (Aucoin, 1997).

      Among the elements of public...

    • 14 Central Agencies, Horizontal Issues, and Precarious Values: Coordinating Science Policy in the Federal Government
      (pp. 334-362)

      Science and technology (S&T) policy can be viewed as the quintessential horizontal policy and administrative challenge that confronts the federal government: scientific activity spans departments and agencies across the system, and it has always supported competing policy goals and been of interest to very different sectors of society. Moreover, we know that many of the boundaries that defined the traditional categories of scientific inquiry, as well as the borders of the institutions that sponsor that work, have been melting away. For a variety of reasons, then, considerable pressure has emerged for the federal government to better coordinate the activities of...

    • 15 Conclusions: New Institutions and Prospects for Change
      (pp. 363-386)

      The central contribution of this book is that it is the first to offer a reasonably focused and comprehensive examination of Canadaʹs science-based policy and regulatory regime. A reading of both the macroissues in Part 1 and of the agency and institutional chapters in Part 2 clearly suggests that this complex and important regulatory regime is undergoing significant change. The more detailed and different levels of analysis provided by the macro-policy and institutional chapters have served as prerequisites for offering a further set of conclusions and observations about the nature of the new institutions now in place and the prospects...

  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 387-387)