Annual compliance verification reporting for the Consumer Product Safety Program 2020-2021


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Organization: Health Canada

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Executive summary

Health Canada's Consumer Product Safety Program (program) helps protect people in Canada by assessing the health risks and safety hazards of consumer products and cosmetics.

From April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, the program received the following reports and notifications:

  • 2,234 reports, including 1,136 from industry and 1,098 from consumers
  • 58,641 cosmetic notifications

The program also conducted a number of compliance verification activities:

  • 262 planned product-based inspections
  • 3,734 monitoring inspections to ensure recalled products were not for sale
  • 1,358 referrals from the Canada Border Services Agency, which led to 482 shipments into Canada being refused
    • of these shipments, 400 were personal and 82 were commercial

The program took corrective actions on 944 different non-compliant products. These corrective actions included:

  • 171 voluntary recalls (150 from reported incidents and 21 from inspections), with 4.3 million units of products recalled in Canada
  • 204 stop sales and 26 stop distributions
  • 27 corrections and 516 commitments

Learn about how the program is delivered:

Top recalled consumer product categories

These were the top 5 product categories for recalled consumer products:

  1. home and automobile maintenance (20%)
  2. housewares (19%)
  3. sports, recreation and hobby (12%)
  4. clothing, textiles and accessories (9%), children's products (9%) and electronics (9%)
  5. appliances (8%) and outdoor living (8%)

Working with international partners

Health Canada continues to work with other countries to publish joint recalls. Canada's Consumer Product Safety Program and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) had 49 joint recalls in 2020-21. This affected close to 4 million units.

In collaboration with the U.S. CPSC and Mexico's Consumer Protection Federal Agency (known as PROFECO), the program conducted a tri-lateral recall in 2020-21. This affected 9,956 units.

Targeted inspections

Table 1 includes product inspection activities that were completed by March 31, 2021. Inspection activities that started in 2020-21 but weren't completed by March 31, 2021, will be captured in the next annual report.

Details on the results of the individual projects are found in the enforcement summary reports. Publication of these reports is part of the Government of Canada's commitment to regulatory transparency and openness.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019-20 mandatory incident report project was deferred to 2020-21 (details are found in the table).

Table 1. Summary of the product inspection activities for 2020-21
Project Number of inspec-tions Evaluation means (and applicable legislation) Number of samples assess-ed Findings of non-compliance Corrective measures
Recall Stop sale Stop distri-bution Trader commit-ment Other
Started in 2019-20 and completed in 2020-21
Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations, 2001 (CCCR, 2001) 23 Sampling and testing to the CCCR, 2001 60 37 12 1 12 10 2 product corrections
Mandatory incident reporting 5 Document review N/A 1 0 0 0 1  
Surface coating materials – furniture and artist brushes 22 X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF) screening and wet chemistry testing at the Product Safety Lab 31 1 1 0 0 0 0
USB chargers 53 Sampling and testing to the CSA standard 56 24 10 6 0 0 8 product corrections
Cosmetics – alpha-hydroxy acids 41 Sampling and testing to the Food and Drugs Act , section 24 of the Cosmetics Regulations 45 14 0 0 5 6 3 referrals to the Health Products and Food Branch
Cosmetics – methyl-isothiazo-linone 20 Visual assessment of ingredient lists 391 5 0 3 0 2 (amended labelling errors) 0
Toys – magnets 23 Sampling and testing to the Toys Regulations 20 5 4 0 0 0 1 public advisory
Started in 2020-21 and completed in 2020-21
Flame Jetting 12 Verification of flame mitigation devices and review of establishment records 15 4 3 0 0 1 0
Cosmetics – advance notice of importation 36 Document review 99 33 1 0 1 31 0
Children's jewellery 27 XRF screening and wet chemistry testing at the PSL to the Children's Jewellery Regulations 36 6 6 0 0 0 0
Total 262   753 130 37 10 18 51 14


Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations, 2001 (CCCR, 2001) Hobby products

Health Canada chose this product category for compliance verification due to:

  • frequent inquiries from industry
  • a general lack of knowledge of applicable regulations
  • a history of non-compliance within the hobbyist industry

The 2019-20 compliance verification project found compliance issues and a lack of safety knowledge by industry with a non-compliance rate of 73%. Numerous cyanoacrylate glues were recalled for 2 reasons:

  1. poor labelling
  2. missing child resistant closure systems

After taking care of the risky products on the marketplace, Health Canada issued letters to various importers and manufacturers of hobby products in late 2020. The letters clarified the requirements set out in the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations, 2001 (CCCR, 2001). This was also a chance to inform the hobbyist industry on the Consumer Product Safety Program.

Taking action on dangerous magnetic toys

This year's activity was the first compliance verification to evaluate industry's compliance since the Toys Regulations were updated to include magnetic toy requirements in 2018. Overall, 25% of the magnetic toys were not in compliance. They did not meet the magnetic force requirements of the regulations and posed an ingestion hazard. Swallowing small powerful magnets can be very serious and life-threatening, as magnets attach in the digestive system.

Given the recent update to the regulations and the rate of non-compliance, Health Canada will be updating its webpage to include other powerful magnets, such as hematite magnets. We will continue to focus on this area to improve compliance and prevent life-threatening accidents.

International cooperation on children's jewellery

For this compliance verification project , Health Canada worked with various regulators in the European Union (EU) for the first time. The project showed a compliance rate of 83% in Canada. Non-compliances were due to the samples containing lead and/or cadmium that exceeded the regulatory limit.

By working together, EU regulators and Health Canada were able to take these products off the market in both jurisdictions. The lessons learned from this project will inform future collaborations.

Extinguishing flame jetting risks

Firepots are decorative products used to create an inviting space, both indoors and outdoors. However, firepots used with fuel containers have caused severe injuries and fatalities in Canada.

Flame jetting can happen very quickly when fuel is poured into a firepot that is still burning or hot. The flame ignites the fuel vapours around the pouring fuel and the flame then travels up the fuel stream and into the fuel container. This can cause flaming fuel to eject out of the container onto the user and nearby people or objects.

The Consumer Product Safety Program has determined that firepots and fuel containers that do not meet the appropriate safety standards pose a danger to human health and safety.

As a result of this year's compliance verification project on pourable fuel containers, Health Canada posted 3 voluntary recalls. Working with industry, we have made these products on the Canadian market safer to use.

Learn about flame jetting and portable products that use fuels


Through the Consumer Product Safety Program, Health Canada is able to quickly identify and act on product safety risks. We are also able to keep consumers informed about health and safety issues related to consumer products and cosmetics.

We will use the information from 2020-21 compliance verification activities and the reports we received from consumers and industry to plan future activities. This information will help the federal government target product safety risks to better protect the health and safety of consumers.

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