Information for Regulated Parties on the Enforcement Approach for the General Prohibitions under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act

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What are the General Prohibitions?

The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) sets out in paragraphs 7(a) and 8(a) obligations that Health Canada describes as general prohibitions (GPs) with respect to consumer products that pose a danger to human health or safety.

Broadly speaking, the GPs prohibit manufacturers and importers from manufacturing, importing, advertising or selling a consumer product that is a danger to human health or safety, and prohibit any person from advertising or selling a consumer product that they know is a danger to human health or safety, a phrase defined in section 2 of the CCPSA. The GPs are fundamental to the purpose of the CCPSA, which is to help protect the public by addressing or preventing dangers to human health or safety that are posed by consumer products in Canada, including those that circulate within Canada and those that are imported.

The CCPSA defines danger to human health or safety as:

Any unreasonable hazard — existing or potential — that is posed by a consumer product during or as a result of its normal or foreseeable use and that may reasonably be expected to cause the death of an individual exposed to it or have an adverse effect on that individual’s health — including an injury — whether or not the death or adverse effect occurs immediately after the exposure to the hazard, and includes any exposure to a consumer product that may reasonably be expected to have a chronic adverse effect on human health.

Regulated parties must comply with the CCPSA, including the GPs, at all times. Accordingly, regulated parties must always ensure that their consumer products do not pose a danger to human health or safety and must do so proactively, without waiting for communications from Health Canada.

This document describes how Health Canada proposes to apply the GP in particular contexts and sets out Health Canada’s expectations for regulated parties.

Health Canada may revisit certain aspects of this approach when warranted.

The enforcement approach:

This document aimes to describe an approach to enforcing the GPs in certain contexts that is transparent, clear, consistent, and that communicates, to regulated parties and the public, Health Canada’s expectations for regulated parties.

This enforcement approach:

Roles and responsibilities:

The CCPSA makes it clear that “[t]he Parliament of Canada recognizes that along with the Government of Canada, individuals and suppliers of consumer products have an important role to play in addressing dangers to human health or safety that are posed by consumer products.”

Consumer’s Role

Consumers are encouraged to:

Regulated Parties’ Role

Manufacturers, importers, advertisers and sellers of consumer products in Canada are responsible for ensuring their products are safe and comply with the CCPSA. In addition, regulated parties are expected to:

Health Canada’s Role

Health Canada regularly monitors the marketplace for the purpose of verifying whether consumer products comply with the CCPSA and do not pose a danger to human health or safety. When evaluating if a consumer product poses a danger to human health or safety in the CCPSA context, Health Canada may consider among other things if the product meets nationally or internationally recognized performance criteria for the hazard of concern, such as:

While Health Canada may consider a number of options to mitigate a danger to human health or safety, regulated parties are responsible for assessing their consumer products for dangers to human health or safety and implementing effective risk mitigation measures. Ultimately, a regulated party must ensure that whatever means they choose results in their consumer product being compliant with the CCPSA.

The tables below outline the various stages of Health Canada’s assessment as to whether a product poses or could pose a danger to human health or safety. These tables aim to increase openness and transparency as they relate to Health Canada’s interpretation and application of the GPs in relation to particular hazards of concern.

Health Canada will notify regulated parties, via listserve and e-mails, when it adds a hazard to Tables 1, 2, or when it makes additions to Table 3.
Regulated parties are encouraged to subscribe to the Consumer Product Safety electronic listserve.

For more general information related to the hazards identified below, please contact Health Canada at hc.ccpsa-lcspc.sc@canada.ca or by telephone at 1-866-662-0666 (toll-free within Canada and the United States).

Table 1: Identified Hazards of Concern

Table 1 lists hazards associated with classes of consumer products for which Health Canada has identified potential health or safety concerns. In deciding to publish a hazard associated with classes of CCPSA consumer products on Table 1, Health Canada may use a wide array of information sources, including:

Health Canada will monitor and collect information on hazards associated with classes of consumer products published on Table 1. A hazard associated with a class of consumer product may remain on Table 1 for an extended period due to a number of reasons, including a lack of reliable information to further assess the potential danger to human health or safety, Health Canada’s concerns about the hazard even though some regulated parties have taken mitigation measures concerning the hazard.

At this stage, while Health Canada has identified hazards of concern associated with the classes of consumer products listed in Table 1, the department has not identified the class of consumer product as posing a danger to the health and safety of Canadians. At the same time, Health Canada is not stating whether each consumer product in Canadian commerce with this feature complies with the CCPSA. Regulated parties are encouraged to take steps to mitigate the identified hazards if they have not already.

Of note, Health Canada may take enforcement actions on a class of consumer products listed on Table 1 at anytime if there is reason to believe they pose a danger to human health or safety. In other words, hazards do not need to appear on Table 2 or Table 3 before Health Canada can take enforcement actions concerning consumer products with those hazards.

As always, in case of an incident involving consumer products under the CCPSA, consumers are encouraged to report the incident to Health Canada and the place where they bought them. Hazards associated with classes of consumer products may be removed from Table 1 if Health Canada concludes they are not a danger to human health or safety or that the hazard no longer exists.

Table 2: Possible Dangers to Human Health or Safety (Danger to Human Health or Safety Assessments)

A hazard associated with a class of consumer products may move from Table 1 to Table 2 after Health Canada conducts a danger to human health or safety assessment for it and proposes that the hazard poses a possible danger to human health or safety.

Health Canada would move a hazard associated with classes of consumer products from Table 1 to Table 2 after taking into account a number of factors including the severity of the hazard, the risk level, number of incidents, whether vulnerable populations are affected by the hazard, number of units sold, and effectiveness of existing risk mitigation tools. The purpose of this step is for Health Canada to assess whether hazards associated with classes of consumer products identified under Table 1 may pose a danger to human health or safety and analyze if the risk mitigation measures identified in the Table would sufficiently mitigate these hazards.

Table 2 outlines hazards associated with classes of consumer products for which Health Canada has conducted a danger to human health or safety assessment. At this stage, Health Canada invites stakeholders for comments with set due dates. Health Canada will consider these comments when making a determination on whether a hazard associated with a class of consumer product is a danger to human health or safety.

Upon completion of this assessment, Health Canada may add a hazard associated with a class of consumer product to Table 3. If there is insufficient information to suggest a hazard associated with a class of consumer product poses a danger to human health or safety and Health Canada still has concerns, then the hazard may remain on Table 1. The hazard may be removed from Table 1 if Health Canada concludes that it does not represent a danger to human health or safety. However, the danger to human health or safety assessment will remain on Table 2 for reference.

Health Canada may take enforcement actions on hazards associated with a class of consumer products being assessed on Table 2 any time, without necessarily moving them to Table 3, when there is reason to believe they pose a danger to human health or safety.

Table 3: Notice of Danger to Human Health or Safety

Table 3 displays hazards associated with classes of consumer products that Health Canada has concluded to be a danger to human health or safety. The manufacture, import, advertising or sale of consumer products that pose a danger to human health or safety is prohibited under the CCPSA and may be subject to compliance and enforcement actions.

The list below is not an exhaustive list of all hazards or all products that are or may be a danger to human health or safety. Health Canada may take immediate compliance and enforcement action when there is a reason to believe that a product poses a danger to human health or safety or is non-compliant with the CCPSA or its regulations, regardless of whether it is listed in the tables below.

Table 1 – Identified Hazards of Concern

What is included?

What should a regulated party do?

Table 1: Identified Hazards of Concern
Class of Consumer Product Added to Table Hazard Performance Criteria being evaluatedTable 1 Footnote b
Pacifier holders Upon initial posting of the tableTable 1 Footnote a Choking, laceration, strangulation, finger entrapment, or suffocation EN 12586:2007+A1:2011 – Child use and case articles – Soother holder – Safety requirements and test methods, or the equivalent.
Liquid laundry detergent packets Upon initial posting of the tableTable 1 Footnote a Poisoning after ingestion or eye irritation after ocular exposure ASTM F3159-15e1 – Standard Safety Specification for Liquid Laundry Packets, or the equivalent.
Button batteries Upon initial posting of the tableTable 1 Footnote a Internal injury after ingestion IEC 62115:2017 – Electric toys - Safety, UL 4200A – Standard for Safety of Products Incorporating Button or Coin Cell Batteries of Lithium Technologies, or the equivalent.
Toys with lasers Upon initial posting of the tableTable 1 Footnote a Eye injury IEC 62115:2017 – Electric toys - Safety, or the equivalent.
Vaping devices and cannabis accessories used for vaping Upon initial posting of the tableTable 1 Footnote a Burn, fire, or explosion ANSI/CAN/UL 8139 – Electrical Systems of Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping Devices, or the equivalent.
Direct plug-in nightlights Upon initial posting of the tableTable 1 Footnote a Burn or fire CSA C22.2 NO. 256:14 (R2019) – Direct Plug-in Nightlights (Bi-national standard, with UL 1786), or the equivalent.
Power banks (portable battery chargers) Upon initial posting of the tableTable 1 Footnote a Burn, fire, or explosion UL 2054 – Standard for Household and Commercial Batteries, UL 2056 – Outline of Investigation for Safety of Power Banks, ANSI/CAN/UL 2743 – Standard for Portable Power Packs, or the equivalent.
Portable electric heaters Upon initial posting of the tableTable 1 Footnote a Burn or fire CSA C22.2 NO. 46-13 (R2018) – Standard for Electric Air-Heaters, CAN/CSA E60335-2-30:13 (R2018) – Household and similar electrical appliances - Safety - Part 2-30: Particular requirements for room heaters (Adopted IEC/CEI 60335-2-30:2009, fifth edition, 2009-11, with Canadian deviations), or the equivalent.
Fuel-burning portable generators Upon initial posting of the tableTable 1 Footnote a Carbon monoxide poisoning Carbon monoxide detector with automatic shutoff.
Metal bristle barbecue grill brushes Upon initial posting of the tableTable 1 Footnote a Internal injury after ingestion CSA Z630:19 – Barbecue grill brushes, or the equivalent.
Disposable flammable liquid fuel containers Upon initial posting of the tableTable 1 Footnote a Burn or fire after flame jetting ASTM WK60590 – New Standard Specification for Flame Mitigation Devices for Disposable Flammable Liquid Fuel Containers, or the equivalent.
Table 1 Footnote a

Table 1 was first published in 2020-07 to consolidate information for regulated parties in an effort to increase openness and transparency regarding Health Canada's evaluation of products where a hazard concern has been identified. Prior to posting of the table, Health Canada has been communicating these concerns in a variety of ways, as appropriate, including direct messages to stakeholders or during standard development work.

Table 1 Return to footnote a referrer

Table 1 Footnote b

In addition to considering these performance criteria for the purposes of paragraphs 7(a) and 8(a) of the CCPSA, regulated parties must ensure they comply with other product-specific requirements under the CCPSA and its regulations as well as requirements under any other applicable legislation, such as requirements mandated by Canadian provinces and territories.

Table 1 Return to footnote b referrer

Table 2 – Possible Dangers to Human Health or Safety (Danger to Human Health or Safety Assessments)

What is included?

What should a regulated party do?

Table 2: Possible Dangers to Human Health or Safety (Danger to Human Health or Safety Assessments)
Class of Consumer Product Possible danger to human health or safety Identified Performance Criteria Comments Due Date Danger to Human Health or Safety (DHHS) AssessmentTable 2 Footnote b
Danger to Human Health or Safety Assessments
Seeking CommentsTable 2 Footnote a
None at this time - - - -
Previous Danger to Human Health or Safety Assessments
Products containing small powerful magnets Internal injury after ingestion Magnet strength and size limits outlined in one of these 4 documents, or the equivalent:
  • The Toys Regulations under the CCPSA;
  • ASTM F963-17 – Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety;
  • EN 71-1:2014+A1 – Safety of toys. Mechanical and physical properties; or
  • ISO 8124-1:2018 – Safety of toys - Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties.
- DHHS Assessment

Children’s upper outerwear with drawstrings

Strangulation or vehicular dragging

ASTM F1816-18 – Standard Safety Specification for Drawstrings on Children’s Upper Outerwear with modifications, or the equivalent

-

DHHS Assessment

Decorative lighting strings

Electric shock, burn, or fire

CSA C22.2 NO. 37-17 – Decorative Lighting Products, or the equivalent.

-

DHHS Assessment

Ski and snowboard helmets

Impact

Address impact absorption, helmet stability, and retention strap strength using one of these 4 standards, or the equivalent:

  • CSA Z263.1-14 – Recreational alpine skiing and snowboarding helmets;
  • ASTM F2040 - 11 – Standard Specification for Helmets Used for Recreational Snow Sports;
  • SNELL RS-98 – Recreational Snow Ski and Snow Board Helmets; or
  • EN 1077:2007 – Helmets for alpine skiers and snowboarders.
-

DHHS Assessment

High chairs

Entrapment or fall

Address entrapment, tray detachment, structural integrity, and stability using one or a combination of these 4 standards, or the equivalent:

  • ASTM F404-14a – Standard Consumer Safety Specifications for High Chairs;
  • AS 4684-2009 – High Chairs – Safety Requirements;
  • BS EN 14988:2006 – Children’s High Chairs; or
  • ISO 9221:1992 – Furniture – Children’s High Chairs.
-

DHHS Assessment

Free-standing clothing storage units

Tip-over

ASTM F2057-19 – Standard Safety Specification for Clothing Storage Units, or the equivalent.

-

DHHS Assessment

Class 3B and Class 4 handheld portable lasers

Burn or eye injury

IEC Standard IEC 60825-1:2014 Ed.3 – Safety of laser products - Part 1: Equipment classification and requirements, or the equivalent.

-

DHHS Assessment

USB chargers

Electric shock, burn, or fire

CAN/CSA C22.2 NO. 60950-1-07 (R2016) – Information Technology Equipment – Safety – Part 1: General Requirements (Bi-National standard, with UL 60950-1)

-

DHHS Assessment

Containers of pourable alcohol-based fuels

Burn or fire after flame jetting

ASTM WK60590 – New Standard Specification for Flame Mitigation Devices for Disposable Flammable Liquid Fuel Containers, or the equivalent

-

DHHS Assessment

Portable firepots that use pourable fuels

Burn or fire after flame jetting

Address flame jetting using ASTM F3363-19 – Standard Specification for Unvented Liquid/Gel Fuel-Burning Portable Devices, or the equivalent.

-

DHHS Assessment

Table 2 Footnote a

Health Canada will be seeking comments from stakeholders and this table will be updated as the process moves forward.

Table 2 Return to footnote a referrer

Table 2 Footnote b

Links to danger to human health or safety assessments for classes of consumer products listed on Table 2 will be added to this column at a future date.

Table 2 Return to footnote b referrer

Table 3 – Notice of Danger to Human Health or Safety

What is included?

What should a regulated party do?

Table 3: Notice of Dangers to Human Health or Safety (for which no current CCPSA regulation applies)
Class of Consumer Product Added to Table Danger to Human Health or Safety Examples of Acceptable Performance Criteria

Products containing small powerful magnets

Upon initial posting of the tableTable 3 Footnote a

Internal injury after ingestion

Magnet strength and size limits outlined in one of these 4 documents, or the equivalent:

  • The Toys Regulations under the CCPSA;
  • ASTM F963-17 – Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety;
  • EN 71-1:2014+A1 – Safety of toys. Mechanical and physical properties; or
  • ISO 8124-1:2018 – Safety of toys - Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties.

Children’s upper outerwear with drawstrings

Upon initial posting of the tableTable 3 Footnote a

Strangulation or vehicular dragging

ASTM F1816-18 – Standard Safety Specification for Drawstrings on Children’s Upper Outerwear with modifications, or the equivalent.

Decorative lighting strings

Upon initial posting of the tableTable 3 Footnote a

Electric shock, burn, or fire

CSA C22.2 NO. 37-17 – Decorative Lighting Products, or the equivalent.

Ski and snowboard helmets

Upon initial posting of the tableTable 3 Footnote a

Impact

Address impact absorption, helmet stability, and retention strap strength using one of these 4 standards, or the equivalent:

  • CSA Z263.1-14 – Recreational alpine skiing and snowboarding helmets;
  • ASTM F2040-11 – Standard Specification for Helmets Used for Recreational Snow Sports;
  • SNELL RS-98 – Recreational Snow Ski and Snow Board Helmets; or
  • EN 1077:2007 – Helmets for alpine skiers and snowboarders.

High chairs

Upon initial posting of the tableTable 3 Footnote a

Entrapment or fall

Address entrapment, tray detachment, structural integrity, and stability using one or a combination of these 4 standards, or the equivalent:

  • ASTM F404-4a – Standard Consumer Safety Specifications for High Chairs;
  • AS 4684-2009 – High Chairs – Safety Requirements;
  • EN 14988:2006 – Children’s High Chairs; or
  • ISO 9221:1992 – Furniture – Children’s High Chairs combined with the entrapment hazard mitigation criteria from one of the above 3 standards.

Free-standing clothing storage units

Upon initial posting of the tableTable 3 Footnote a

Tip-over

ASTM F2057-19 – Standard Safety Specification for Clothing Storage Units, or the equivalent.

Class 3B and Class 4 handheld portable lasers

Upon initial posting of the tableTable 3 Footnote a

Burn or eye injury

IEC Standard IEC 60825-1:2014 Ed.3 – Safety of laser products - Part 1: Equipment classification and requirements, or the equivalent.

USB chargers

Upon initial posting of the tableTable 3 Footnote a

Electric shock, burn or fire

CAN/CSA C22.2 NO. 60950-1-07 (R2016) – Information Technology Equipment – Safety – Part 1: General Requirements, or the equivalent.

Containers of pourable alcohol-based fuels

Upon initial posting of the tableTable 3 Footnote a

Burn or fire

ASTM WK60590 – New Standard Specification for Flame Mitigation Devices for Disposable Flammable Liquid Fuel Containers, or the equivalent.

Portable firepots that use pourable fuels

Upon initial posting of the tableTable 3 Footnote a

Burn or fire

Address flame jetting using ASTM F3363-19 – Standard Specification for Unvented Liquid/Gel Fuel-Burning Portable Devices, or the equivalent.

Table 3 Footnote a

Table 3 was first published in 2020-07 to consolidate information for regulated parties in an effort to increase openness and transparency regarding Health Canada's evaluation of products that pose a DHHS. While these entries were added to Table 3 upon initial posting of the table in 2020-07, the DHHS were previously communicated by Health Canada to regulated parties. Health Canada publishes information on compliance and enforcement activities, including those related to DHHS, in the consumer product safety enforcement summary reports and recalls page.

Summary reports: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/consumer-product-safety/reports-publications/industry-professionals/enforcement-summary-report.html

Recalls page: https://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/index-eng.php

Table 3 Return to footnote a referrer

Conclusion:

CCPSA paragraph 7(a) prohibits any person from manufacturing, importing, advertising or a selling a consumer product that is a danger to human health or safety. In addition, CCPSA paragraph 8(a) states that no person shall advertise or sell a consumer product that they know is a danger to human health or safety.

Regulated parties must comply with the CCPSA and its regulations at all times, including the GP requirements described in paragraph 7(a) and 8(a). Accordingly, regulated parties must always ensure that their consumer products do not pose a danger to human health or safety and must do so proactively, without waiting for communications from Health Canada.

This enforcement approach seeks to describe a predictable pathway for Health Canada’s assessment of dangers to human health or safety and the enforcement of the general prohibitions under the CCPSA. Transparency, openness and communication of information are key elements in achieving the objectives sought by this enforcement approach.

To seek further information on this enforcement approach please feel free to contact Health Canada at hc.ccpsa-lcspc.sc@canada.ca or by telephone at 1-866-662-0666 (toll-free within Canada and the United States).

Glossary

Consumer Product:
"means a product, including its components, parts or accessories, that may reasonably be expected to be obtained by an individual to be used for non-commercial purposes, including for domestic, recreational and sports purposes, and includes its packaging" (CCPSA, section 2). Products listed in section 4 and in Schedule 1 of the CCPSA are not considered consumer products and are excluded from the application of the CCPSA.
Hazard:
A substance, product, human activity, condition, or situation that is a potential source of harm to human health or safety.
Incident:
For the purposes of subsection 14 (1) of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, with respect to a consumer product, an incident is:
  1. an occurrence in Canada or elsewhere that resulted or may reasonably have been expected to result in an individual's death or in serious adverse effects on their health, including a serious injury;
  2. a defect or characteristic that may reasonably be expected to result in an individual's death or in serious adverse effects on their health, including a serious injury;
  3. incorrect or insufficient information on a label or instructions – or the lack of a label or instructions – that may reasonably be expected to result in an individual's death or in serious adverse effects on their health, including a serious injury; or
  4. a recall or measure that is initiated for human health or safety reasons by
    1. a foreign entity,
    2. a provincial government,
    3. a public body that is established under an Act of the legislature of a province,
    4. an aboriginal government as defined in subsection 13(3) of the Access to Information Act, or
    5. an institution of an entity referred to in subparagraphs (ii) to (iv).
Performance criteria:
Measurable criteria against which a product's characteristics can be assessed. Performance criteria may be quantitative (e.g., length, weight) or qualitative (e.g., colour, visible flame, damage). Performance criteria appear in a wide variety of documents, including: laws (regulations), rules, safety standards, quality control documents, standard operating procedures, test methods, etc. When performance criteria are mandatory by law, they are usually called "requirements".
Regulated parties:
Any person subject to the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and its regulations. The term may include individuals, companies and other organizations that manufacture, sell, distribute, advertise or import consumer products.
Risk:
The effect of exposure to a hazard on human health or safety, which integrates the likelihood of occurrence of possible outcomes with an estimate of the magnitude of the associated severity of these outcomes.
Risk mitigation measure:
Any process, tool, action, system, activity or combination of these in any form that may help reduce the risk posed by a hazard.
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