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7 things to know if you sell, import or manufacture consumer products

In 2011, Health Canada introduced legislation regulating consumer products called the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act that still applies today.

Products are generally things, not services, but tangible things like soap or shower rods, flashlights or candles. Simply put, if you make, import or sell anything you can touch, this legislation likely applies to you. 

Of course there are exceptions, like tobacco, but only in certain ways, and natural health products are singled out for special treatment. But if you want to be safe, start with the assumption that everything is included under the Act. 

Here are 7 things you need to know if you don’t want to be penalized or fined:

  • Things must be safe—not according to you, but according to Health Canada.
  • The law it does not define ‘safety’, but what is dangerous.
  • What is dangerous is not always intuitive (Health Canada once claimed that rice was dangerous when inhaled). 
  • When in doubt about the thing you sell, import, or manufacture, go to the Act and Regulations; tedious, perhaps, but better safe than sorry.
  • If you even suspect something you sell, import or manufacture might be dangerous, you may need to make a report and take immediate action.
  • Always remember that with government regulation, common sense doesn’t necessarily make sense; to repeat, go to the Act when in doubt.
  • Better still, call a business counsellor at 1-888-234-2232 if it’s complicated.

And here are some other questions to ask yourself:

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