Annex: About the Consumer Product Safety Program

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Contribute towards a safe marketplace for consumer products and cosmetics by preventing, detecting and responding to adverse health occurrences to Canadians.


To be a world leader in preventing, detecting and responding to health hazards and safety risks posed by consumer products and cosmetics.

Program description

The Consumer Product Safety Program (CPSP) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) and regulations made under it. CPSP is also responsible for cosmetic-related provisions of the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) and the Cosmetic Regulations .

Health Canada promotes, monitors, verifies and enforces compliance with the CCPSA and the FDA. The CPSP reviews reports submitted by industry and consumers and regularly monitors the marketplace to look for potentially dangerous products. When reports are received by the CPSP, they are reviewed and processed to determine if action is required to address the risk. Product returns or complaints from consumers will often trigger reporting requirements for industry, which leads to the submission of reports describing the incident and any corrective measure(s) that the company is implementing to address the health or safety concerns.

There is no incident reporting requirement for cosmetics under the FDA and Cosmetic Regulations, although the program does encourage consumers and industry members to report when they have health or safety concerns related to a cosmetic. Under section 30 of the Cosmetic Regulations, manufacturers and importers must notify Health Canada within 10 days after they first sell a cosmetic in Canada. Failure to notify may result in a product being denied entry into Canada or removed from sale.

The CPSP gathers information, both domestically and internationally, about injuries, emerging issues and new science related to consumer product safety. It conducts routine sampling and testing of products in the marketplace. It also works closely with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and other domestic and international regulators to verify the compliance of products being imported into Canada.

The CPSP uses this information to identify possible risks to Canadians posed by consumer products or cosmetics and conducts risk assessments to identify issues that may result in serious injury. This allows the CPSP to target the program's compliance and enforcement resources towards products that pose the greatest potential risk to people in Canada. The CPSP uses a triage-based approach to identify product-related health and safety issues for follow-up compliance and enforcement activity. The program monitors issues that do not require immediate attention to be prepared to take action if the risk changes over time.

Finally, the CPSP provides credible and reliable information that facilitates public education and provides tools for informed decision-making by the public.

The CPSP's authorities do not include products excluded from the CCPSA in Schedule 1, such as explosives, drugs, food, medical devices, ammunition, natural health products and tobacco products. They also do not include products regulated under the FDA beyond cosmetics.

What compliance and enforcement activities we do

The CPSP's compliance and enforcement activities focus on promoting and verifying compliance, as well as on correcting non-compliances with regulatory obligations, prohibitions, product standards, and reporting and notification requirements.

Cosmetic notifications

Under section 30 of the Cosmetic Regulations, manufacturers and importers must notify Health Canada within 10 days after they first sell a cosmetic in Canada. Failure to notify may result in a product being denied entry into Canada or removed from sale.

Targeted inspections

One of the key tools that the CPSP uses to support the goal of targeted oversight is planned, targeted inspections. The CPSP uses a risk-based approach to monitor and verify industry compliance with the regulations for consumer and cosmetic products on a cyclical basis.

The sampling and inspecting for compliance is targeted to those regulated product categories and establishments where the information available to the program suggests elevated levels of non-compliance. In many cases, inspectors can identify a higher probability of non-compliance based on previous market analysis or in the field using readily identifiable indicators, such labelling or packaging issues, missing certification marks or design issues that may lead to non-compliance.

Due to this targeted approach, the CPSP expects higher levels rates of non-compliance than if the sampling and inspecting was carried out randomly.

Establishment inspections

The purpose of conducting inspections of Canadian establishments is to evaluate industry's ability to identify and report incidents to the CPSP and evaluate record-keeping practices. The results of these inspections help the CPSP assess how well a company's internal product safety quality system is functioning and informs how the program can more effectively focus its CPSP's resources. The CPSP's establishment inspections are evolving to include a stronger compliance education approach in hopes to improve industry compliance.

Product inspections

The CPSP also conducts inspections targeted to specific product types to monitor and verify industry compliance with the CCPSA and the FDA. Compliance is verified by either conducting product sampling and testing or by requesting documents, such as test reports or safety information, to evaluate compliance with the relevant requirements. Projects are chosen every year depending on factors such as emerging trends, the level of risk a product poses, the type of product, industry's previous level of compliance, the hazards posed by the product and the vulnerability of product users.

How compliance and enforcement activities are done

In Canada, the safety of consumer products and cosmetics is regulated through a post-market approach. There is no pre-approval required for industry members to sell their consumer products and cosmetics in Canada. However, industry is responsible for ensuring the compliance of their products with the applicable legislation, including that the consumer products and cosmetics they manufacture, import, sell or advertise in Canada do not pose a danger to human health or safety.

Recall monitoring inspections

Whether an establishment agrees to voluntarily recall a product or has been ordered to do so (for consumer products under the CCPSA only), they should contact their supply chain accounts to ensure that the product is no longer offered for sale. Through recall monitoring inspections, CPSP verifies that selected supply chain accounts have received the notification of the recall from the responsible establishment and have taken the necessary steps to remove the product from sale, further minimizing the hazard in the Canadian marketplace.

Import admissibility recommendations

The CPSP works with the CBSA to identify non-compliant products being shipped into the country. By stopping non-compliant products at the border, CPSP is able to prevent these products from reaching the market and thus reduce the potential for risk to Canadians. CPSP receives referrals from CBSA for shipments that were flagged as being potentially non-compliant and requiring input from CPSP, half of which are normally cosmetics. Shipments may be refused for a variety of reasons, including that the products are prohibited or do not meet specific regulatory requirements.

The CPSP directs its resources to where the human health risks are greatest. This approach is similar to risk-based approaches used by our major trading partners. Tools used by the CPSP to identify and manage risks include:

Canada actively collaborates with the U.S. CPSC on consumer product safety, as both countries share similar distribution networks, general approaches to consumer product health and safety standards, and enforcement activities. Information gathered on products of concern in the United States is used by CPSP to determine if compliance or enforcement activities should be initiated in Canada. When Canadian establishments are initiating a product recall and are present in both jurisdictions, CPSP reminds them of their reporting requirements to the U.S. CPSC and vice-versa.

Appendix A: Acronyms

Appendix B: Examples of product types in "product categories"

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