Legislation to enact the Canada Consumer Product Safety
Act and complementary amendments to the Food and Drugs
Act, two key components of Canada's new Food
and Consumer Product Safety Action Plan, was tabled in the
House of Commons earlier this month.
The Food and Consumer Product Safety Action Plan,
announced by Prime Minister Harper in December, 2007, proposes
a series of initiatives to modernize and strengthen
Canada's safety system for food, health and consumer
products. Principal plan elements include:
emphasizing industry's responsibility to provide
mandatory reporting requirements;
new and stronger authorities to enable Canada to take
appropriate action with respect to unsafe products;
significantly increasing penalties for offending
more and better information for the public and
decision-makers on products; and
improving the safety of imported products.
Canada Consumer Product Safety Act
Intended, in part, to replace Part I of the Hazardous
Products Act, the CPSA will generally apply to all
Canadian consumer products, whether imported or domestically
manufactured. Certain products, such as food, cosmetics and
drugs, the sale of which is governed by other federal
legislation, will not be covered by the CPSA.
In addition to a general prohibition against the
manufacture, importation, advertisement and sale of consumer
products that are a danger to human health or safety, the CPSA
will include provision for:
increased maximum criminal fines of up to
the introduction, as an alternative to criminal
prosecution, of an administrative monetary penalty
mandated safety tests and results disclosure to Health
required notification to Health Canada and others of
reports of serious adverse incidents/defects;
the power to pull unsafe consumer products from store
the power to institute mandatory recalls and other
corrective measures; and
mandatory supplier record keeping.
Amendments to the Food and Drugs Act
Amendments to the FDA, many of which correspond to
provisions of the proposed CPSA, form the second cornerstone to
the Food and Consumer Product Safety Action Plan.
Principal provisions in the bill include:
extending the product safety cycle from confirming the
safety and efficacy of products before they are approved for
sale to include requiring manufacturers to demonstrate that
products remain safe and effective following their
introduction to the marketplace;
increasing the openness and transparency with respect to
the government's regulatory decision-making which
would include more information sharing;
substantially increasing fines and jail terms;
increasing authorities to monitor and prevent unsafe
products from entering the Canadian marketplace;
enabling Health Canada to develop regulations requiring a
mandatory adverse drug reaction reporting requirement for
Canadian health care institutions; and
empowering Health Canada to direct mandatory health
In connection with the tabling of the two bills, Prime
Minister Harper said "Today's action on consumer
safety is good news for Canada. It will improve our safety and
our health, make Canadian brands more competitive among global
consumers, and boost confidence at home as a country whose
product safety standards are second to none." The personal
involvement of the Prime Minister in this product safety
initiative and the fact that the government has moved as
quickly as it has to introduce legislation following its
December announcement suggest that these two bills may be on a
fast track for enactment.
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