Canada: Government Takes Action to Protect the Health and Safety of Residents

Feb. 6, 2009
The government of Canada on Jan. 29 introduced proposed legislation that will modernize and strengthen product safety laws by overhauling existing rules to further protect the health and safety of Canadians.

The proposed Canada Consumer Product Safety Act will provide better oversight of consumer products in Canada by improving the government’s ability to take timely compliance and enforcement actions when unsafe products are identified. It will also encourage compliance through higher fines and increased penalties for violators.

“Our government is committed to protecting consumers from unsafe products, and has consulted widely with the public on this proposed legislation,” said Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq. “We will continue to work with industry to enhance consumer product safety, and provide Canadian families with better information so they can make informed choices about the products they buy.”

The proposed Canada Consumer Product Safety Act will work to prevent problems from occurring, target the highest risk products, and respond to problems more rapidly and effectively. It will prohibit the manufacture, importation, advertisement or sale of consumer products that pose an unreasonable danger to human health or safety. It will also require mandatory reporting by suppliers of serious product-related incidents, including those where injury may have been averted, or defects that could cause serious injury or illness.

To improve the safety of imports, Health Canada will continue to work in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency to identify potentially unsafe products at the point of importation, before they are distributed in the Canadian marketplace. Health Canada also will be able to double the number of product safety inspectors over the next 5 years.

The proposed legislation is part of the Government’s Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan, a comprehensive set of measures designed to make Canadians safer by strengthening and modernizing the regulation of food, health and consumer products.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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