Canada–European Union regulatory success stories

Sharing consumer product safety information

Regulators in Canada and Europe have been working together to better protect the health and safety of consumers. In November 2018, an administrative arrangement was signed between Health Canada and the European Commission to exchange information between the European Union’s (EU’s) Rapid Alert System on non-food products (RAPEX) and Regulatory Action Depot / Dépôt d’Actions Réglementaires (RADAR), which is Canada’s consumer product incident reporting system.

The exchange of information started on June 5, 2019; this exchange provides Canadian and European regulators with:

  • detailed consumer product safety information
  • easier access to important information related to recalled products
  • improved capacity to coordinate recalls or surveillance activities
  • improved collaboration between regulators

Sharing timely and detailed consumer product safety information will help Canadian and EU officials fulfill their mandate of improving the safety of consumer products for their citizens.

Outreach and education

Canada and the EU have launched several successful joint outreach campaigns.

Toy recalls

In 2020, Canada and the EU promoted the importance of product recalls and safety alerts.

The awareness campaign about product recalls included a post on the Healthy Canadians Facebook page and a tweet from the Health Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Twitter account. The EU Justice and Consumers Facebook account posted about product recalls using the same image as was used in the Healthy Canadians post, and the EU Consumer Affairs Twitter account tweeted the same image and a similar message.

The joint campaign encouraged people to check product recalls before purchasing items or gifting toys to loved ones.

Button battery safety

In 2019, Canada and the EU launched an outreach campaign warning about the potential risks button batteries pose to children. Health Canada posted on the Healthy Canadians Facebook account and tweeted on the Health Canada and PHAC Twitter account about the risks of button batteries. The Facebook and Twitter posts:

  • drew attention to batteries used in toys
  • warned people about the dangers of keeping batteries near children
  • explained the harm that batteries could cause if they are ingested by a child

EU Consumer Affairs tweeted about the safe use of batteries using the same image as is found in the Health Canada tweet and post. The EU tweet warned people about the danger that small toy batteries posed to children.

Maintaining and improving product selection for Canadians

In February 2019, Canada launched a pilot project that allowed EU sunscreens to enter Canada without being quarantined and tested for a second time at the border. The pilot program simplified the import process and decreased the import cost per sunscreen by an estimated $100,000 annually. As a result, the program encouraged imports of European sunscreen.

Canadians now have a wider selection of sunscreens to choose from without lowering standards of safety and quality. Due to the success of this pilot, the exemption from quarantine of EU sunscreens and anti-dandruff shampoos has been implemented through regulation. Health Canada is exploring the possibility of expanding the list of exempt products through a consultation with external stakeholders.

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