Ontario eyes passage of tanning bed legislation by September

Mari-Len De Guzman
August 27, 2013
By
Aug. 27, 2013 — The Ontario government is bent on passing legislation that will prevent young people from using tanning beds by end of September. In a joint statement, Government House Leader John Milloy and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews announced it is pushing forward with Bill 30, or the Skin Cancer Prevention Act, and will file the necessary motions to ensure passage of the bill.
"In March our government moved to prevent skin cancer among young Ontarians by introducing Bill 30, legislation to ban youth access to tanning beds. After blocking the legislation for months, we are pleased to read in a published media report that the opposition are finally committed to fast-tracking this important bill," said Milloy and Matthews in a joint statement.

Bill 30, which aims to help prevent to prevalence of skin cancer, bans business owners from providing tanning bed service to people under the age of 18. It also prohibits direct marketing, selling or advertising of tanning beds to this group of people.

Under the Bill, individuals and corporations found to have contravened the ban can face up to $5,000 and $25,000 in fines, respectively.

"When the House returns next month, our government will move a programming motion and, if necessary, a time allocation motion, in order to quickly pass this life-saving bill into law by the end of September."

The liberal government has blamed the Opposition for effectively "blocking progress on Bill 30 since last spring."

"By running out the clock debating the Local Food Act, the Air Ambulance Amendment Act and Co-op Housing legislation, the opposition prevented this important tanning bed legislation from moving forward," they said.

In a report by The Globe and Mail, the Tories maintained they were willing to make a deal to move the bill forward, but could not reach an agreement with the other parties.

The World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer reports that the risk of skin cancer — particularly melanoma — increases by 75 per cent when tanning beds are used prior to the age of 35. The WHO has classified tanning beds in its highest cancer risk category, along with asbestos and tobacco.

Cases of melanoma in Ontario has been rising in youth and young adults ages 15-34 — especially among females aged 25-34 — according to statistics from the Ontario government.

Six other provinces in Canada have either introduced or implemented legislation restricting tanning bed use by youth, ranging from outright bans (Quebec, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland) to parental consent (Manitoba).

A number of countries also have legislation restricting or prohibiting tanning bed use by youth, including Britain, Iceland, Finland, Portugal, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden and France, according to the ministry.

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