Minister upholds Hazardous Products Act by announcing Board of Review for baby walkers

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Tony Clement, Canadian Minister of Health, today named the three Board of Review members who will inquire into the April 2004 decision to ban the sale, importation, and advertisement of baby walkers.

Under the Hazardous Products Act (HPA), the government is obliged to establish a Board of Review in response to a request from a manufacturer or distributor of the product.

The establishment of the Board does not affect the prohibition of baby walkers.

Canada was the first country to impose a ban on baby walkers. The ban was introduced with the intention of preventing Canadian children from injury and death. Evidence indicates that baby walkers can be fatally dangerous as infants do not have the necessary skills, reflexes and cognitive abilities to use them safely.

"This is an issue about the safety of our children. The members chosen have the qualifications required to review this decision, and make thorough recommendations that fully consider the safety of Canadian children," said Health Minister Clement.

The Board of Review will inquire into the "nature and characteristics" of baby walkers, and will hear representations and evidence from any person affected by the prohibition. When the inquiry is complete, the Board will submit a report with its recommendations to the Minister.

The three-person Board of Review is comprised as follows:

Jean-Claude Demers Q.C. (Chair): Admitted to the Bar in 1972, Mr. Demers was named Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of the Federal Department of Justice in 1986. As an ADM, Mr. Demers was acknowledged as an expert on labour relations and he now acts as an arbitrator, a mediator and counsellor in dispute resolution and other general matters involving public administration.

Dr. Geoffrey Dougherty: Dr. Dougherty is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University and the head of the Division of General Pediatrics at the Montreal Children's Hospital of McGill University Health Centre. He has more than 20 years experience in academic pediatrics and clinical research involving diverse fields in pediatric healthcare.

Dr. Jocelyn Pedder: Dr. Pedder has expertise in the field of impact trauma, as well as knowledge that pertains to the development and evaluation of injury prevention systems. In 1992, Dr. Pedder established her own company (RONA Kinetics and Associates Ltd.) Where she continues to work in the field of impact biomechanics, with a special emphasis on trauma and the performance of safety equipment.

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

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