The purpose of this letter is to inform establishments advertising, selling or importing children's toys that the Hazardous Products Act prohibits the advertising, sale or import of toys, equipment and other products for use by a child in learning or play that contain plant seeds as a stuffing material (subsection 4(1) & paragraph 10(c) of Part I of Schedule I).
At the federal level, safety requirements for toys, equipment and other products for use by a child in learning or play are prescribed by the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and the associated Hazardous Products (Toys) Regulations. Both the HPA and the regulations are administered and enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Directorate of Health Canada.
General information concerning consumer product safety may be found on Health Canada's Web site.
Part I of Schedule I to the HPA lists products that are prohibited from advertisement, sale and importation in Canada. Paragraph 10(c) specifies that the following products are prohibited:
Consequently, it is an offence under section 28 of the HPA to advertise, sell or import in Canada any toys, equipment and other products for use by a child in learning or play that contain any type of plant seed as stuffing material. This prohibition applies regardless of the seeds' viability, or whether or not they have been processed, treated or modified.
The prohibition was enacted to protect children from a number of health and safety risks. These risks are listed below:
Of note, the majority of the above health and safety concerns are not eliminated by the use of plant seeds that are sterile, infertile or otherwise incapable of germination or growth.
Plant seeds that are captured by paragraph 10(c) include, but are not limited to, the following:
It is reiterated that all plant seeds are captured by paragraph 10(c), the result of which is that no toy, equipment or other product for use by a child in learning or play may contain any type of seed as stuffing material.
Products classified as medical devices under the Food and Drugs Act are not regulated under Part I of the HPA. There are seed and/or grain filled medical devices on the market in Canada that look and feel like traditional soft stuffed teddy bears for children, but are intended for application of heat or cold to the body to ease injuries and other ailments. While these products may not necessarily be intended for use by a child as a toy, because of their shape, size, texture and visual appeal, they may be used as one.
Given this likelihood, it is recommended that, as much as possible, such medical devices also meet the safety requirements for toys as prescribed by the HPA.
It is an offence under section 28 of the HPA to advertise, sell or import any toys, equipment and other products for use by a child in learning or play that contain any type of plant seed as stuffing material. This prohibition applies regardless of the seeds' viability or whether or not they have been processed, treated or modified.
Canada's Food and Drugs Act applies to seed-stuffed products that are classified as medical devices, even where the products may be confused as a children's toy. Health Canada's Medical Devices Bureau should be contacted to determine the relevant safety requirements in place for such products.
For additional information, please contact your nearest Health Canada's Consumer Product Safety Office.