After two years of regulatory overlap and double reporting to
both provincial and federal regulatory bodies, the Ontario
government has addressed industry concerns and eliminated the need
to report safety incidents involving consumer electrical products
to the Electrical Safety Authority (the
"ESA") under the Electricity Act,
In 2011, the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (the
"CCPSA") introduced sweeping changes to
the Canadian consumer product regulatory regime by imposing
mandatory incident reporting obligations on manufacturers,
importers and sellers of consumer products in Canada. While the
goal was to introduce a comprehensive and modern regime, these new
reporting obligations also resulted in concurrent reporting
obligations to both Health Canada under the CCPSA and to the ESA
under previously-existing provincial legislation. While Health
Canada stated at the time that it would work with other regulatory
bodies to address this duplication, double reporting has been
required for the last two years.
On June 26, 2013, the Ontario government addressed this overlap
and eliminated the need for parallel reporting in the context of
consumer electrical products. Specifically, Ontario Regulation
438/07 (the "Product Safety Regulation")
was amended, removing industry's obligation to report serious
electrical incidents to the ESA. While the ESA will continue to
maintain responsibility for market oversight of industrial products
and for pre-market approval requirements for all electrical
products offered for sale in Ontario (including consumer electrical
products), all reports of consumer electrical product safety
incidents should now be submitted solely to Health Canada pursuant
to the CCPSA.
The Product Safety Regulation was also amended to: (a) introduce
a definition of "consumer product" that is consistent
with the one found in the CCPSA; and (b) remove ESA's authority
to order notification to the public and require corrective action
in respect of consumer electrical products (unless it relates to
the approval of an electrical product), which is now solely vested
in Health Canada.
These changes harmonize the federal and provincial product
safety regimes for consumer electrical products in Ontario and will
come as welcome clarification to manufacturers, importers and
sellers of these products.
The foregoing provides only an overview. Readers are
cautioned against making any decisions based on this material
alone. Rather, a qualified lawyer should be consulted.
The recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in BMW Financial Services Canada, a Division of BMW Canada Inc. v. McLean provides some useful insight into the relationship between automobile dealers and the financing arms of the manufacturers for whom those dealers are franchisees.
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