Recently, Canadian news media has been covering the story of a Newfoundland teenager who was reportedly injured by a hockey puck when the cage of his goalie mask shattered. Although there is no report of any ensuing litigation, an interesting aspect of this from a product liability perspective is that the mask had, in fact, been recalled earlier this year. That recall was implemented in conjunction with both Health Canada and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Notice of the recall was posted on Health Canada’s website, on social media and by retailers.

Were this case ever to come to court it would raise interesting questions about the extent to which a manufacturer is protected from liability by having designed and implemented corrective action such as a recall in cooperation with, and under the supervision of, Health Canada pursuant to the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. It underscores the importance of ensuring that the design and implementation of corrective action plans are carefully considered and appropriately documented.

This story also highlights the impact that media can have on the reputation of a product manufacturer notwithstanding its efforts to comply with prevailing regulatory requirements and the need for media relations planning.