Canada: Involved with Consumer Products in Canada? Be Prepared for the New "Canada Consumer Product Safety Act"

Last Updated: December 20 2010
Article by Michael Smith and Court Peterson

Most Read Contributor in Canada, September 2016

Bill C-36, the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (the Act), has passed through the House of Commons and the Senate and received Royal Assent on December 15th. It is due to be proclaimed in force by the Governor in Council shortly.

The Act will affect manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers, advertisers, and testers of most consumer products sold in Canada, and their insurers. Steps should be taken now to ensure compliance and proper risk allocation once the Act is implemented. Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) has been closely tracking the legislation in its various incarnations since it was first introduced and is able to provide the necessary advice in that regard.


  • The importation and sale of certain specified consumer products is banned
  • The government now has sweeping powers to order a recall of consumer products
  • The government may order manufacturers and importers to test and study consumer products at their expense
  • It is an offence to package, label, or advertise consumer products with false or deceptive health or safety claims
  • There are new onerous record-keeping requirements placed not only on manufacturers and importers, but also on retailers, product testers, and advertisers
  • "Incidents" involving consumer products occurring anywhere in the world must be reported to the government within two days and the manufacturer or importer must follow up with a detailed report within 10 days, including proposed remedial measures. "Incidents" include actual and possible serious adverse health effects resulting from the product, mislabelling, and recalls in other jurisdictions
  • The government has broad powers to search for and seize information relating to consumer products without a warrant
  • The penalties imposed under the Act are severe including fines of up to $5 million and prison terms of up to two years. Directors and officers can be held liable


Breadth of the New Legislation

  • The Act imposes obligations not only on parties in the distribution chain of consumer products (i.e. manufacturers, importers, retailers), but also on advertisers and testers of products
  • The Act covers only certain types of products. Notable exceptions include: cars, food, drugs, cosmetics, boats, and aircraft.

Some Products Banned

  • The Act bans the manufacture, importation, advertising, or sale of certain consumer products listed in its schedules, such as: baby walkers with wheels, BPA baby bottles, and lawn darts with elongated tips.


  • Section 31 of the Act gives the federal Minister of Health the right to order an immediate recall of a consumer product that the minister believes is "a danger to human health or safety"
  • Recall powers were not previously available to the government
  • The recall can affect a person who manufactures, imports, or sells the product for commercial purposes
  • It is noteworthy that retail sellers of a product can be made responsible for the recall even though they may have had nothing to do with the product defect
  • Retailers should ensure that supply agreements expressly allow recovery of recall expenses from distributors and manufacturers and that there is sufficient security for such expenses.

Tests and Studies

  • Section 12 of the Act allows the government to order a manufacturer or importer to test, study, and compile information regarding a consumer product at their expense.

Deceptive Labelling, Packaging, and Advertising

  • Section 9 of the Act makes it an offence to label or package a consumer product in a manner that creates "an erroneous impression regarding the fact that it is not a danger to human health or safety", or that is misleading "regarding its certification related to its safety or its compliance with a safety standard or regulations". Section 10 makes is an offence to advertise or sell such a product.


  • Section 13 requires retailers to maintain documents that indicate the name and address of the person from whom they obtained the product and the location where, and the period during which, they sold the product
  • Manufacturers, importers, advertisers, and testers of consumer products for commercial purposes must maintain documents that indicate the name and address of the person from whom they obtained the product, and to whom they sold it, as applicable
  • It is noteworthy that persons outside of the distribution chain, i.e. advertisers and testers of products, have these record-keeping obligations as well.


  • The Act imposes a positive obligation to report "incidents". "Incidents" include actual and possible serious adverse health effects resulting from the product, mislabelling, and recalls in other jurisdictions
  • Section 14(2) of the Act requires manufacturers, importers, and sellers of consumer products for commercial purposes to report an "incident" occurring anywhere in the world to the Minister of Health within 2 days after the day on which they become aware of it
  • Section 14(3) of the Act requires manufacturers or importers to provide the Minister with a written report containing information about the incident, the product involved in the incident, any products that they manufacture or import that to their knowledge could be involved in a similar incident, and any measures they propose be taken with respect to those products, within 10 days after the date on which they became aware of the incident.

Inspection Powers

  • The Act provides very broad search and seizure powers for inspectors. Inspectors can enter any place without a warrant except houses
  • Sections 19 through 30 set out the inspection powers under the Act. These powers include the right to enter premises at any reasonable time and to examine, inspect, test, seize, detain, take photographs and make recordings of records and products. Section 20 explicitly prohibits a person from knowingly obstructing, hindering, or making a false or misleading statement, to inspectors
  • Confidential Business Information is not exempt from inspection and disclosure. Under s. 16 of the Act, the Minister may disclose confidential business information to a person or a government that carries out functions relating to the protection of human health or safety or the environment without the consent of, or prior notice to, the business, if the recipient agrees in writing to maintain the confidentiality of the information and to use it only for the purpose of carrying out those functions
  • Under s. 17, the Minister may, without the consent of the person to whose business or affairs the information relates and without notifying a person beforehand, disclose confidential business information about a consumer product that is a serious and imminent danger to human health or safety or the environment, if the disclosure of the information is essential to address the danger. The Minister must then notify that business within 1 day after disclosure.


  • Section 41 of the Act provides for significant fines and penalties. A person who contravenes the Act is liable:
    • on conviction on indictment to a fine of up to $5 million dollars or up to two years in prison or both; and,
    • on summary conviction, for a first offence, to a fine of up to $250,000 or to imprisonment up to six months, or both and, for subsequent offense, to a fine of not more than $500,000 or to imprisonment for a term of more than 18 months or to both
  • Due diligence is a legitimate and recognized defence to prosecution for "offences", but not for "violations" for which relatively minor Administrative Monetary Penalties (like a "ticket") are assessed
  • Section 41(3) of the Act provides that a person who contravenes certain sections of the Act or who knowingly or recklessly contravenes the any part of the Act, a provision of the regulations, or an order made under the Act, is guilty of an offence and is liable:
    • on conviction on indictment, to a fine in an amount that is at the discretion of the courts or to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years or to both; or
    • on summary conviction, for a first offense, to a fine of not more than $500,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months or to both and, for a subsequent offense, to a fine of not more than $1 million or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years or to both
  • Directors, officers, agents, and mandataries are parties to the offence and can be prosecuted if they assented to, or acquiesced in, the commission of the offence.


  • It remains to be seen whether or not the government will invest the resources necessary to implement and administer the new powers under the legislation in a manner that accomplishes its stated objectives. E.g. will there be enough inspectors hired to "police" the consumer product world?
  • Any regulations proposed under the Act have not yet been published

About BLG

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.