Educational institutions should be aware of the requirements under Bill C-28 – the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act – which was passed by the Canadian government in December 2010. The Act will come into force on June 20, 2011.
Among other things, the Act requires any person who advertises or sells a consumer product for commercial purposes to maintain certain documents. For instance, retailers must maintain the name and address of the person from whom they obtained the product, the location where and the period during which they sold the product, and any other prescribed documents. The documents must be kept at the retailer’s place of business in Canada for 6 years after the end of the year to which they relate or for any other period that may be prescribed.
WHAT IS A CONSUMER PRODUCT?
It is not uncommon for educational institutions to sell “consumer products”, which is defined to mean “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.” In addition, the definition of “sell” includes distribution, whether or not it is made for consideration.
For example, this Act would capture the sale of jewellery, t-shirts, and laptops. The Act does not apply to items such as food, as it is regulated under the Food and Drugs Act.
The Act also requires any person who sells a consumer product for commercial purposes to provide the Minister of Health, and the person they received the consumer product from, with all information in their control regarding an incident related to the product within two days after becoming aware of the incident. An “incident” does not simply mean where death or a serious adverse effect on a person’s health has occurred, but also includes an occurrence that may reasonably have been expected to result in an individual’s death or in serious adverse effects on health, as well as a defect or characteristic, or incorrect or insufficient information on a label or instruction (including the lack of a label or instruction), that may reasonably be expected to result in an individual’s death or in serious adverse effects on health. It also includes a recall or measure that is initiated for human health or safety reasons.
BENEFITS OF THE ACT
These requirements under the Act are intended to assist with product tracing should a consumer product need to be recalled. They also are intended to assist with the prevention of, and to provide a more effective measure to address, danger to human health or safety.