The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its Bureau of Product Standards (BPS), in cooperation with the Philippine Embassy in Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) Office of American Affairs, calls on all exporters to conform to product safety and standards when exporting non-food products to Canada.
The Trade Facilitation Office - Canada (TFOC) organized an informative seminar entitled, “Product Safety and Standards: Considerations for Exporting to Canada (non-food)” for Ottawa-based trade representatives from developing countries. Three salient points were highlighted during the briefing.
The Managing Director of Standards Council of Canada (SCC) presented Canada’s standard regime during the seminar. At present, there are four (4) standards development organizations in Canada, namely: Bureau de Normalisation du Quebec (BNQ), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) and Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC) with 12,500 volunteer members.
The development and use of both national and international standards as well as accreditation services were also emphasized for the enhancement of Canada’s competitiveness and social well-being. In developing standards, it is necessary to apply the following five (5) principles: impartiality and consensus, effectiveness and relevance, coherence, transparency and openness.
Another consideration is the product certification in Canada. Product categories under electrical safety, signal and security, fire fighting, protective equipment, tanks and piping for flammable fluids, and gas/fuels are regulated and require mandatory certification. These products must display the mark of a SCC-accredited certification body such as UL, ITS Canada, CSA and CGSB. For regulated building product with non-mandatory certification, proof of compliance with codes and standards is needed.
Lastly, it was explained in the seminar that the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), which came into force on June 20, 2011, strengthens the existing laws to better protect the health and safety of local people. CCPSA was aimed to give attention to consumer products which are not regulated under other legislative schemes, like toys, apparel and furniture.
The TFOC warns foreign exporters that the upcoming changes to Canada’s consumer product safety regulation will definitely affect them. Key changes would be prohibition on unsafe and potentially unsafe products; prohibition on false and misleading packaging, labeling or advertising; reporting and record keeping obligations for easy tracking, and; mandatory recalls, increased fines and penalties from C$ 1,000 to C$ 25,000.
Canadian importers may also insist on contractual conditions that impose liability on foreign exporters for non-compliant products and provide for refunds in the case of banned or recalled merchandise.
Therefore, foreign exporters are obliged to start implementing compliance strategies. Exporters must ensure that the products exported to Canada do not have potential to cause harm and injury. Also, exporters must make sure that product packaging and labeling indicate no misleading claims relating to product safety. Implement record keeping system to ensure information is available if requested by Canadian importers. And lastly, review agreements with suppliers and/or manufacturers and consider inclusion of conditions that shift liability up the supply chain in cases of defective products.
The law however allows non-compliant products to enter Canadian market if it is not to be sold to the general public; intended only for exhibition and participation in trade shows; is brought into compliance after entry into Canada; or is exported for further manufacturing and subsequent re-export.
“Filipino exporters of goods must abide by the trade law being implemented in Canada”, OIC/AD Cirila S. Botor states. “They are already informed about the changes that would happen, therefore it is expected of them to prepare now and ensure that all of their items conform to existing national or international standards on safety and quality as well as document pertinent information related to their product for easy access”, she adds.
The TFOC is a non-profit non-government organization founded and supported by the Canadian International Development Agency. It was established to provide Canadian market information to exporters and trade support organizations from developing and transition economy countries. Aside from that, TFOC also offers advice and contacts for exporters.
For more information please visit TFOC’s website, www.tfocanada.ca.
Department of Trade and Industry - Bureau of Product Standards 3/F Trade and Industry Building
361 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City Philippines 1200, Telephone: (632) 751-4700 Fax: (632) 751-4706