Taking Action on Consumer Safety – The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act
April 14, 2021
We are all concerned about the safety of the products and foods we consume everyday, especially following a number of highly-publicized product recalls over the last two years. Our Government has recognized this concern for Canadians and has taken it seriously by introducing sweeping new legislation to protect consumers. This legislation is Bill C-52: The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act that was introduced by our Government on April 08, 2008.

Canada's consumer, health, and food product safety regime has served Canadians well. However, the time has come to modernize it to catch up with the new economic realities of the global marketplace. Today, over 65 per cent of products brought into Canada are imports, whereas in the past, store shelves were mostly stocked with products made in Canada. While our country's food system has been regularly updated, the bulk of legislation regulating consumer and health products was drafted in the 1950's and 1960's. The time has come to set and enforce state-of-the-art safety standards on both domestic and imported goods.

The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act delivers on our Government's commitment made in the Speech from the Throne last fall, to build consumer confidence and to better protect the health and well-being of Canadians.

This legislative package also includes amendments to the Food and Drugs Act. The changes include a crack down on negligent manufacturers, importers, and retailers who knowingly endanger their customers. Public access to information about product safety would also be improved, giving Canadians more control over their own health protection. Other highlights of the legislation include:
  • A general prohibition against the manufacture, importation, advertisement or sale of consumer products that are a danger to human health or safety;
  • A requirement of mandatory reporting by suppliers of serious product-related incidents – including near-misses and defects, allowing for more targeted oversight;
  • Dramatically increased fines for violations; and
  • A new power for the federal government to order recalls of unsafe consumer products.
Together these measures represent an extraordinarily tough and thorough new approach to consumer safety. Our Government's aim is to prevent problems from occurring, targeting the highest risks, and responding rapidly to problems which occur. In addition, our Government will devote new resources to enhanced surveillance of products already on the market and introduce a requirement for manufactures to report incidents causing illness or injury within seven days.

The new legislation recognizes that the vast majority of Canadian manufacturers, importers, and sellers are conscientious corporate citizens that take their responsibilities for safety seriously. This bill will level the playing field for law-abiding Canadian businesses. Furthermore, those companies who wilfully expose Canadians to danger would be hit with hefty fines under the proposed legislation. The proposed fines will increase from the current maximum of $5,000 to a new maximum of up to $5 million.

Canadians have asked for greater protection from dangerous consumer products and our Government has delivered. The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, as well as amendments to the Food and Drugs Act is our Government's strong response to this demand.

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