Buying consumer products online

Learn about the potential risks of buying consumer products online and how you can minimize them.

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Risks of buying online

In Canada, consumer products must meet all of the current regulatory and legislative requirements to protect the public. This responsibility belongs to:

  • sellers
  • importers
  • advertisers
  • manufacturers

However, not all consumer products that are found online meet Canadian regulatory requirements. For instance, Canadians may be able to buy products from web sites based in other countries. Sometimes, these online products:

  • are prohibited in Canada
  • are counterfeit or not as advertised
  • may have been recalled for failing to meet health or safety requirements
  • may not have the necessary labelling or instructions, which could lead to misuse or injury

Minimize your risk

Like many other jurisdictions, consumer products in Canada are not approved prior to sale. They’re monitored for safety after they’ve been released onto the market, but not every product is tested. It’s important for consumers to make informed decisions about their purchases, especially those made online.

Always read and follow:

  • age recommendations
  • warnings
  • safety messages
  • instructions

Check the Recalls and Safety Alerts Database for information about products that have been recalled. Consumer products, including children’s toys, can be recalled for health and safety reasons.

Report a concern

If you experience a health or safety problem with a consumer product:

  • report it to the manufacturer or retailer it was bought from
  • contact us
Report a problem or mistake on this page
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