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(Feb 23, 2009) Canada's Conservative government recently introduced a bill in the House of Commons to create a Canada Consumer Product Safety Act to replace extant legislation that has not been thoroughly reviewed in over 40 years. (Bill C-6, 40th Parl. 2d Sess., available at http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=3633883&La
nguage=e&Mode=1
(last visited Feb. 13, 2009).) The key provisions of this proposal include:

  • a general prohibition on the manufacture and sale of consumer products that pose an unreasonable danger to human health or safety;
  • mandatory reporting of incidents to provide early warnings;
  • authorizing of the government to require manufacturers to provide information on products;
  • new standards for labeling;
  • new document retention requirements;
  • new recall and inspection powers; and
  • increased fines and penalties.

The bill applies to "unreasonable" hazards. The inclusion of this term is intended to make it clear that the government recognizes that not all hazards can be eliminated. Health Canada has listed sharp knives and hot stoves as examples of consumer products that are potentially dangerous but that would not be generally prohibited under the new legislation. (Health Canada, Canada Consumer Product Safety Act—Frequently Asked Questions, available at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/legislation/acts-lois/cps_faq-spc-eng.php (last visited Feb. 13, 2009).) In response to industry concerns about regulatory delays, the bill would require review officers to act within a "reasonable" time and the results of reviews to be communicated "without delay."

The proposed Canada Consumer Product Safety Act also aims to implement tighter inspection of foreign products by the Canadian Border Services Agency. This will apply in particular to products from countries that have "histories of poor compliance." (Id.)

Author: Stephen Clarke More by this author
Topic: Consumer protection More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Canada More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 02/23/2009