At a recent event, I listened to another woman in the natural industry talk about work-life balance and the view that it’s not really about balancing work and life because work is part of your life. It’s about balancing all the things in your life in the way and at the time that works for you. That sometimes you need to do more work and sometimes you need to spend more time with family and sometimes you need to take care of yourself. And, at the end of the day, what’s important is prioritizing and managing in a way that works for you.


Late last Thursday, Health Canada released the Consulting Canadians on the Regulation of Self-Care Products in Canada. Coincidentally I arrived in Vancouver to meet my husband for a weekend off.  Regular readers of my blog will recall that he spent the summer training for the GranFondo, a 122-km bicycle ride from Vancouver to Whistler. I am proud to say that he and his team did a great job and had a very successful day. I’m also proud to say that last weekend was an amazing example of life balance for me.

When a proposal like the Consulting Canadians on the Regulation of Self-Care Products in Canada is released, CHFA’s regulatory team and outside experts immediately go to work reviewing and analyzing the document to see how it will impact our industry and CHFA Members in particular. In this case, the proposal was not what we had expected to see. In fact, the details were concerning and raised many more questions than they answered. 

So what do we do when something like this happens? Well, we rally. And then we act. Early Friday, we had our first planning call, pulling together our staff and experts, who were literally across North America, to talk about our first steps and what we needed to do. We generated a top-level, first-steps plan and then we all went to work. Having an amazing team means you don’t have to do everything yourself, so in the spirit of balancing life, I managed a warm-up ride with my husband through Stanley Park on Friday afternoon before heading up to Whistler.

The four-plus hours it took for the riders to reach the finish line allowed me the time to have a few calls, get caught up on the emails and look at next steps. We generated a few more action items and went away with our next assignments. After a quick celebration, the winners retired for a rest before dinner — allowing me to spend a bit more time on what I was assigned to do before a leisurely group dinner to close out the day.

Sunday, we drove back to Vancouver. I took advantage of the drive to not only enjoy the beautiful scenery and the amazing weather, but to make a few calls and ensure my emails were up to date. The flight home, including an unplanned layover in Edmonton, gave me the opportunity to do a bit more work before watching a movie with my husband on the final leg.

For me, it was the perfect balance of work and life — we both got everything we needed to do done, and were also able to spend some time together enjoying the city, the weather and our time together. I was able to prioritize what I need to do for work, but also take some time for me and to support my husband in his moment. And that balance, the balance that works for me, is what really matters.

So what next? Well, we’ve already begun. The Consulting Canadians on the Regulation of Self-Care Products in Canada proposes that, in the future, many natural health products (NHPs) be regulated using the same rules as drugs. From where we sit, this is fundamentally wrong. Natural health products shouldn't be regulated like drugs. Natural health products are different in nature from drugs and must be treated differently.

77% of Canadians, like you, use NHPs as part of their healthy lifestyle. Natural health products are not drugs. Help us show Health Canada that NHP Regulations work.

Yours in health and happiness,


Emily Arsenault