Product Safety

Recent Updates

The importance of product safety in retail

Retailers across the country play an integral role in the everyday safety of individuals by ensuring the items we buy are not dangerous. Examples of the ways retailers keep consumers safe:

  • Removing products from store shelves when a safety hazard is identified in a product. In many cases, this is done before a recall has even been issued. 
  • Communicating with customers about recalled products.
  • Sharing information with Health Canada and manufacturers

In order to enhance and prevent future issues, RCC and its retail members are continually working with standard development bodies, manufacturers, and regulators to strengthen and develop new standards when needed.  

Product safety issues RCC advocates for on behalf of retailers

Harmonizing regulatory requirements between Canada and the U.S.

RCC has been a significant contributor to the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council which focuses on harmonizing regulations between the U.S. and Canada. Having disparities in this area limits product choice and availability in the Canadian market, which ultimately adds to the cost of many household items.  

We know harmonization is achievable and is beneficial to all Canadians. For example, in the area of food safety, there is now mutual recognition of U.S. and Canadian food safety standards under the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. There is no reason to have these differences with our largest trading partner.  

The government should take every opportunity to help keep the cost of consumer goods as low as possible by reducing unnecessary regulations and red tape. RCC continues to urge the government that.

Harmonization of product safety regulations will increase choice and lower costs. 


Standards should be the standard

Although product safety regulations are needed and have their place, in most circumstances a standard is better. Regulations usually take years of consultations and deliberation before they are finalized and published. Once finalized, it can take decades to update out of date standards. On the other hand, standards typically take much less time to produce and are more nimble if changes are needed due to innovations or new technologies. 

With the example of BBQ brushes, Health Canada and Retail Council of Canada lead the production of a new CSA BBQ Brush standard in under two years from start to finish. Having a standard will now give Health Canada leverage to issue a recall if a BBQ brush being sold does not meet these requirements.

RCC will continue to advocate that standard development be the first line of defence for most product safety emerging issues.  


COVID-19 and product safety

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to retailers across the country on several fronts, including procuring essential items such as face masks, hand sanitizers, disinfectants, and even soap. Retail Council of Canada worked closely with Health Canada and other government departments to ensure Canadians did not lose access to these essential items amid global shortages by advocating that certain regulatory requirements, such as labelling rules that had no impact on the product itself, be temporarily exempt.

RCC will continue our engagement with Health Canada until the situation normalizes and supply returns to normal.  


Ongoing regulatory changes

RCC remains involved in all ongoing product safety regulatory consultations and amendments, including the new Corded Window Coverings Regulations, new drone regulations, cosmetic regulations, and others.  

To stay informed, retailers can subscribe to RCC’s Retail Policy Newsletter and members can inquire about joining RCC’s Product Safety and Recall Committee.  

Product safety resources for retailers

Product safety and recall committee

The Product Safety and Recall Committee is comprised of senior retail professionals with an objective to stay ahead of the curve on key issues and to help shape industry standards. The committee also develops and shares best practices through working groups and allows members to be heard by Health Canada officials concerning the issues impacting their businesses most. 

Inquire about joining

Recent recalls and alerts

The government’s Recalls and Safety Alerts website provides easy access to a comprehensive list of recalls, advisories, and safety alerts. You can also subscribe to receive ongoing alerts.  

Find out more

Regulatory requirements for non-medical masks/fashion face coverings

With the high demand for face masks, RCC has received numerous questions from retailers asking what regulatory requirements there are for selling non-medical face masks or fashionable face coverings. To help retailers navigate what they need to know regarding face masks, we have assembled answers to frequently asked questions and a more detailed list of requirements.  

Read more

Temporary measures for the labeling of hand sanitizers, disinfectants, soaps, and cleaning products

The government has placed restrictions on some of its temporary measures for sanitizers, household cleaners, and soaps, specifically on language labeling requirements, which were originally put in place to minimize supply disruptions. 

See details 

Canada consumer product safety act- information for retailers

The purpose of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act is to protect the public by addressing or preventing dangers to human health or safety that are posed by consumer products in Canada. The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act contains rules about manufacturing, importing, selling, advertising, and testing consumer products in Canada. To assist retailers, the government has created a guide that outlines product safety responsibilities for retailers. 

Read Guide

BBQ brush standards

The new Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Barbecue Grill Brush Standard has been released and is now available for purchase at CSA’s Store.

It is also available for anyone to view free of charge in English or French

Drone toolkit for retailers

Transport Canada recently published its toolkit for retailers and other safety partners online including posters and assets that retailers can display in-store and educate customers about safe and legal drone use. 

Find out more

Contact Cory Anderson, Senior Manager, Government Regulations & Regulatory Affairs, at canderson@retailcouncil.org for more information on:

  • Joining the RCC Product Safety and Recall Committee 
  • Current product safety issues affecting retailers

Be heard. Save money. Stay informed.

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