Tax & Trade Blog
Amazon & Ebay Pledge to Health Canada
On September 28, 2023, Health Canada launched the Canadian Product Safety Pledge (the “Safety Pledge”) – a voluntary compliance initiative aimed at increasing product safety with respect to consumer products and cosmetics available to Canadians online.
The Safety Pledge consists of 14 voluntary commitments concerning protective and corrective actions that Health Canada has indicated are grouped into four categories :
- Detection and prevention of the sale of unsafe products;
- Cooperation with Health Canada;
- Raising of product safety awareness amongst sellers; and
- Empowerment of consumers on product safety issues.
The Safety Pledge is not a new innovation – the European Union, Australia, Japan and South Korea have all developed similar product safety pledges.
On September 29, Health Canada released a backgrounder indicating that Amazon Canada and eBay Canada – both of whom host third-party consumer products and cosmetics – became signatories to the Safety Pledge.
It was also noted that the Safety Pledge is intended to be part of Health Canada’s existing measures to protect against the product safety issues – including the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and the Cosmetic Regulationsof the Food and Drugs Act.
The full list of commitments under the Safety Pledge can be found in the “Guidance for Signatories” webpage.
Notably, these commitments include: (1) the identification and sanctioning of rogue third-party sellers (i.e., those intentionally and repeatedly selling products which are “recalled, prohibited or non-compliant” (commitment 3); and (2) having a clear contact point for communication with Health Canada (commitment 7).
Additionally, signatories commit to removing non-compliant products from sale within two business days of being informed by Health Canada that a product is non-compliant (commitment 8).
The Safety Pledge represents a positive development for companies complying with Health Canada’s onerous requirements with respect to Natural Health Products (“NHPs”) – particularly companies in the Direct Selling Industry.
By partnering with large e-commerce retailers Health Canada is essentially expanding its ability to crack-down on non-compliant products, freeing up dollars and space in the marketplace for products which comply with Health Canada’s requirements.
All in all, the Safety Pledge should be welcome news to Direct Sellers selling their products in Canada on a Health Canada-compliant basis, as this should help reduce the grey market of non-compliant products in Canada.