Ottawa, December 12, 2012 – pleased to announce today that her Private Members Bill, C-313, has gained Royal Assent and will now become law. Bill C-313, An Act to Amend the Food and Drugs Act concerning Non-Corrective contact lenses, will bring non-corrective contact lenses under a Class II medical device categorization in line with the same regulations for prescription contact lenses.  The Eye-care community has been calling for such enhanced regulatory oversight for many years now.

There were numerous concerns coming from the eye-care community towards the lack of regulatory and professional oversight for cosmetic lenses when compared to what Health Canada has in place for corrective lenses, especially considering that both have the same impact, medically speaking, on the human eye”.

added that “Today marks the culmination of a long process to bring federal oversight to this issue by declaring non-corrective lenses to be class II medical devices. This will allow for regulatory oversight by Health Canada to ensure that producers, importers and retailers in Canada will require the necessary licensing associated with distributing a class II medical device and will greatly enhance consumer protections concerning the growing cosmetic lens industry.”

A special coming-into-force provision has been worked into the legislation to allow a grace period for Health Canada to enact the legislation to allow for those who will be impacted by the new regulatory oversight to bring themselves in line with the new provisions.  From here, Provincial regulatory bodies of the eye health professions can now advocate for Provincial governments to bring in professional oversights on the cosmetic contact lens industry with the Federal regulations providing a stable foundation to do so.

C-313 was unanimously endorsed by all Members of the House of Commons at each stage of debate and passed easily through the Senate with all sides supporting the legislation.  The bill also enjoyed strong support from the eye-care industry as numerous leading stakeholders have voiced their support throughout the legislative process and hailed C-313 gaining Royal Assent today.

Dr. Lillian Linton, President of the Canadian Association of Optometrists stated,   “The eye care professions are grateful that non-corrective contact lenses will finally join corrective contact lenses as medical devices under the Food and Drug Act.  This has been a very long journey that started 12 years ago when these products started to show up and it was recognized that, regardless of any refractive error, contact lens inserted onto the cornea of the most sensitive organ in the human body has health risks associated with them.  We are pleased that this common sense initiative has come to fruition at the federal level and are hopeful that the royal assent of Bill C-313 will be the impetus for the provinces to adjust wording in their current contact lens regulations to include non-corrective contact lenses.”

Wishes to thank her colleagues in the House of Commons and the Senate for their gracious support of this important legislation, in addition to all other stakeholders who assisted in the legislative process with the MP.