This guest blog post is provided by Health Canada which is responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health.

On June 20, 2011, the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act came into force. If you are a manufacturer, importer, distributor, advertiser, tester or retailer of consumer products, you should be aware of the Act and its new requirements.

What is a “consumer product?” The Act defines it as a product that may reasonably be expected to be obtained by an individual to be used for non-commercial purposes such as household, recreational or sports purposes. That could include anything from hockey helmets to table lamps to children's toys. Examples of products the Act doesn't cover include natural health products, food, cosmetics, medical devices and drugs — these products are covered by other legislation.

So if you are a supplier of a consumer product, there are a few things you need to know about the Act. First, the Act establishes mandatory reporting requirements. That means suppliers must report any serious incidents or safety issues related to their product to Health Canada. They also must alert the person who sold or provided them with the product.

These incidents could include a reported serious injury or death or insufficient information on a label or in the instructions. Incidents must be reported to Health Canada and your supplier within two days of becoming aware of the problem. Detailed information on what constitutes an “incident” and how to report it can be found on Health Canada's website.

You should also be aware of the Act's new record-keeping requirements. Under the Act, retailers must prepare and maintain documents that include the name and address of the person from whom they obtained the product, and where and when the product was sold. Manufacturers, importers, advertisers and testers of consumer products must also document the name and address of the person to whom they sold it. These records will help Health Canada quickly track products through the supply chain in case there's a problem. Detailed information on record-keeping requirements can also be found on Health Canada's website.

Health Canada wants industry to stay well-informed so we can all make a smooth transition under the new Act. If you have questions about mandatory reporting, record-keeping, or any other requirements, please visit the For Industry: Canada Consumer Product Safety Act webpage to download a Quick Reference Guide, Brochure, FAQs and more. Still have questions? Contact us toll free at 1-866-662-0666.