Consumers must be protected. The U.S. came up with the the ‘‘Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008’’ (Public Law 110–314) on August 14, 2008. Canada passed the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) in late 2010 (Royal Assent) and it comes into force on June 20, 2011.
The new CCPSA is designed to protect the health and safety of Canadians by:
- prohibiting the manufacture, importation, advertisement or sale of any consumer products that pose an unreasonable danger to human health or safety;
- requiring industry to report when they know about a serious incident, or death, related to their product to provide government with timely information about important product safety issues;
- requiring manufacturers or importers to provide test/study results on products when asked;
- allowing Health Canada to recall dangerous consumer products; and
- raising fines and penalties for non-compliance.
About the Legislation
Canada and Canadians have been well served by our consumer product safety laws. However, modern realities such as more complex materials, speedier innovation to market, new source countries for products, and increased consumer demand for information require a 21st century approach.
Administered by Health Canada, the new Canada Consumer Product Safety Act adopts modern tools and techniques that strengthen protection and bring Canada’s consumer product safety system into line with our key trading partners.
The CCPSA reflects years of extensive consultations with a broad range of stakeholders, including industry representatives, consumer groups, children’s organizations, standards development organizations, other levels of government and the general public.
The new law applies to a wide variety of consumer products including children’s toys, household products and sporting goods, but excludes products like motor vehicles and their integral parts, food, drugs (including natural health products) and animals as these are regulated by other Canadian laws.
What are the key provisions of the new Canada Consumer Product Safety Act?
- Reporting of Incidents : The Act requires industry to provide information to Health Canada and to the product’s supplier (if applicable) concerning consumer product safety incidents or product defects that result, or could reasonably be expected to result, in death or harmful health effects. This “early warning” provision also applies to inadequate labelling or instructions that could lead to the same results, and to recall orders or other corrective measures initiated in other jurisdictions for human health or safety reasons.
- Maintaining Records/Paperwork : So that unsafe products can be traced back to their source, the CCPSA requires those who manufacture, import, advertise, sell or test consumer products for commercial purposes to prepare and maintain certain documents. Normally, these records would already be part of regular business practice. For example, the CCPSA requires that a retailer document the name and address of the product’s supplier, and the location and the period during which they sold the product (but not the name of the individual to whom the product was sold). These requirements are more detailed at higher levels of trade.
- Information on Product Safety: Health Canada can require manufacturers or importers to provide or obtain safety information – including studies or tests – that indicate whether a consumer product meets the requirements of the CCPSA.
- General Prohibition: Under the Act, there are prohibitions related to the manufacture, importation, sale or advertisement of consumer products that could pose an unreasonable danger to the health or safety of Canadians.
- Packaging and Labelling: Under the CCPSA there are prohibitions related to the packaging, labelling or advertisement of a consumer product in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive in respect of its safety.
Health Canada is preparing to implement the Act and is consulting Canadians as guidance is developed that will assist industry in complying with the new requirements.
Everyone has a Role to Play
Because product safety is in everyone’s best interest, everyone has a role to play. The CCPSA clearly defines industry‘s obligations, helps consumers to make informed choices about the products they purchase, and provides government with the tools to take action when necessary.