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Consumer Product Safety

Guidance on Preparing and Maintaining Documents under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) - Section 13

June 2011

Introduction

The Next link will take you to another Web site Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) requires any person who manufactures, imports, advertises, sells or tests a consumer product for commercial purposes to prepare and maintain documents. In this guidance, any reference to "person" includes an individual or an organization as per section 2 of the Act.

The legislative text from Next link will take you to another Web site section 13 of the CCPSA is provided, below.

Section 13: Preparing and Maintaining Documents

  • 13. (1) Any person who manufactures, imports, advertises, sells or tests a consumer product for commercial purposes shall prepare and maintain
    • (a) documents that indicate
      • (i) in the case of a retailer, the name and address of the person from whom they obtained the product and the location where and the period during which they sold the product, and
      • (ii) in the case of any other person, the name and address of the person from whom they obtained the product or to whom they sold it, or both, as applicable; and
    • (b) the prescribed documents.
  • (2) The person shall keep the documents until the expiry of six years after the end of the year to which they relate or for any other period that may be prescribed.
  • (3) The person shall keep the documents at their place of business in Canada or at any prescribed place and shall, on written request, provide the Minister with them.
  • (4) The Minister may, subject to any terms and conditions that he or she may specify, exempt a person from the requirement to keep documents in Canada if the Minister considers it unnecessary or impractical for the person to keep them in Canada.
  • (5) A person who imports a consumer product for commercial purposes shall, no later than at the time of the product's importation, provide the Minister with those documents referred to in paragraph (1)(b) that are specified in the regulations.

This guidance document is an unofficial summary of the requirements under section 13, Preparing and Maintaining Documents. It is not intended to substitute for, supersede or limit the requirements under the Act. In case of any discrepancy between this summary and the legislation, the legislation will prevail.

For further information, specific questions or clarification, contact a Health Canada Product Safety Office.

1. Definitions

1.1. Advertisement

Refer to Next link will take you to another Web site section 2 of the CCPSA: includes a representation by any means for the purpose of promoting directly or indirectly the sale of a consumer product.

1.2. Consumer product

Refer to Next link will take you to another Web site section 2 of the CCPSA: 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.

1.3. Days

"Days" are calendar days.

1.4. Document

Refer to Next link will take you to another Web site section 2 of the CCPSA: means anything on which information that is capable of being understood by a person, or read by a computer or other device, is recorded or marked.

1.5. Health Canada/Minister

For the purposes of this guide any obligations under Next link will take you to another Web site section 13 for providing information or reporting to the Minister are referenced as being provided to Health Canada.

1.6. Importer

Adapted from Next link will take you to another Web site section 2 of the CCPSA: a person who imports consumer products into Canada.

1.7. Manufacturer

Adapted from Next link will take you to another Web site section 2 of the CCPSA: includes a person who produces, formulates, repackages and prepares as well as reconditions consumer products for sale.

1.8. Seller

Adapted from Next link will take you to another Web site section 2 of the CCPSA: includes a person who offers consumer products for sale or lease, exposes for sale or lease or has in possession for sale or lease. This definition includes a person who distributes to one or more persons, whether or not the distribution is made for consideration (i.e. giving away).

1.9. Year

Refer to section 2 of the Act: "Year" is interpreted as calendar year.

2. Background

The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) modernizes the consumer product safety regime in Canada. The CCPSA adopts modern tools and techniques that help protect the public from dangers to human health or safety posed by consumer products and brings Canada's consumer product safety system into line with our key trading partners.

Under Next link will take you to another Web site section 13 of the CCPSA, a retailer must prepare and maintain documents indicating who they obtained the product from and the location where and the period during which they sold the product. Any person who manufactures, imports, advertises, sells or tests a consumer product for commercial purposes who is not a retailer must prepare and maintain documents indicating who they obtained the product from or to whom they sold it (or both if applicable). Note that regulations under the CCPSA have additional record keeping requirements. A complete list of these regulations and their record keeping requirements are listed in Appendix A.

Requirements under section 13 may be similar to records already retained by business as part of their normal book keeping practices (i.e., documents for GST requirements or income tax purposes).

This guidance provides an overview of the requirements under section 13 of the CCPSA and describes the compliance and enforcement policy regarding this section. Specifically, it includes information on:

  • Requirements
    • Responsibilities of a person, and
    • Time and Manner for preparing and maintaining documents.
  • Exemptions
  • Recommendations for Preparing and Maintaining Documents
  • What Happens to the Information
  • Compliance and Enforcement

3. Requirements

Next link will take you to another Web site Section 13 of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) requires any person who manufactures, imports, advertises, sells or tests a consumer product for commercial purposes to prepare and maintain documents. The purpose of this requirement is to help improve the traceability of non-compliant products through the supply chain in the event that a danger must be addressed.

As part of the inspection process, an inspector may request access to documents that are required to be maintained under section 13 of the CCPSA and its regulations. In addition, subsection 13(3) of the CCPSA stipulates that persons shall, on written request, provide these documents to the Minister of Health.

Persons should be aware that, in addition to the requirements of section 13, there are additional record keeping requirements prescribed by regulations made under the CCPSA (see Appendix A).

3.1. Responsibilities of a Person

3.1.1. In the Case of a Retailer

Requirements for retailers differ from those for other persons. Subparagraph 13(1)(a)(i) requires retailers to keep documents that include the following information:

  • The name and address of the person(s) from whom they obtained the product; and
  • The location(s) where they sold the product and the time period during which they sold the product.

There is no requirement under the Act for retailers to keep documents of every consumer transaction or their personal information. Instead, subparagraph 13(1)(a)(i) requires retailers to keep documents that specify the location where and the time period when they sold the product. Some retailers maintain documents that record to whom each purchase was made. Such practices may be beneficial when corrective action concerning a consumer product is required.

3.1.2. In the Case of a Manufacturer, Importer, Advertiser, Seller or Tester

For persons who manufacture, import, advertise, sell or test a consumer product for commercial purposes (excluding retailers), subparagraph 13(1)(a)(ii) requires the person to prepare and maintain documents that indicate:

  • The name and address of the person(s) from whom they obtained the product; or
  • The name and address of the person(s) to whom they sold the product;
  • Or both as applicable.

3.2. Time and Manner

3.2.1. Period for Document Retention

Subsection 13(2) requires that the person keep the documents until the expiry of six years after the end of the year to which they relate, unless regulations specify another time period. For example, unless otherwise specified in a regulation, a document that relates to June of 2011 must be retained until December 31, 2017.

This period was chosen so that it aligned with existing document retention requirements that persons may already be required to meet, such as those required under the Income Tax Act.

3.2.2. Keeping and Providing Documents in Canada

Under subsection 13(3), persons "shall keep the documents at their place of business in Canada or at any prescribed place and shall, on written request, provide the Minister with them".

Whether records are stored in paper or electronic format, it is required that all records will be accessible at a person's place of business in Canada. For example, if a server that stores electronic files is located outside of Canada, those files must be easily and readily accessible on a computer terminal at the person's place of business in Canada.

Subsection 13(4) allows the Minister to grant an exemption if he or she considers that keeping the documents in Canada is unnecessary or impractical. Requests for an exemption from this requirement will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

As part of the inspection process, an inspector may request access to documents that are required to be maintained under section 13 of the Act and its regulations. During an inspection, persons should be prepared to provide documents upon request. Additionally, subsection 13(3) stipulates that persons shall, on written request, provide documents to the Minister of Health. Persons should be prepared to produce records upon request within the timelines set in the written request or within the time period as set out in the regulations (see Appendix A).

4. Exemptions

There may be cases of certain donated consumer products - such as when a donation is from a person other than a manufacturer, importer, distributor, or retailer - where requirements to prepare and maintain documents would do little to support product traceability.

As a result, Health Canada is developing a regulatory proposal to allow for an exemption from the documentation related requirements in sub Next link will take you to another Web site section 13(1), to apply to persons when they are the recipients of consumer products that are donated by a person other than a person who manufactures, imports, or sells consumer products.

5. Recommendations for Preparing and Maintaining Documents

The following are general document practices that are recommended for all persons required to prepare and maintain documents under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA).

5.1. Document Format

Documents can be provided to Health Canada in either electronic or hardcopy format. However, regardless of format, records should be provided in the following manner:

  • Required information clearly identified;
  • In either English or French; and,
  • Legible

When submitting records to Health Canada it is recommended that records be provided in a compiled format, such as a spreadsheet.

5.2. Incident Reports

Persons are encouraged to establish processes and procedures respecting consumer incident reports related to their consumer products in order to decrease the potential for non-compliance with the mandatory reporting requirements outlined in Next link will take you to another Web site section 14 of the CCPSA.

6. What Happens to the Information

Information that is submitted to Health Canada for the purposes of meeting record keeping requirements will be kept confidential under federal legislation, which governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal and confidential business information.

6.1. Confidential Business Information

To be considered confidential business information (CBI) under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), the information respecting a person's business or affairs must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. It is not publicly available;
  2. It is information in respect to which the person has taken measures that are reasonable in the circumstances to ensure that it remains not publicly available; and
  3. It has actual or potential economic value to the person or their competitors because it is not publicly available and its disclosure would result in a material financial loss to the person or a material financial gain to their competitors.

If a person who manufacturers, imports or sells a consumer product in Canada believes that information provided to Health Canada meets the criteria for CBI under the CCPSA, then they can indicate this to Health Canada at the time they provide the information.

6.2. Personal Information

The disclosure of personal information under the control of Health Canada must comply with the disclosure provisions set out in section 8 of the Privacy Act. Disclosure without the consent of the individual to whom the information relates must be made in compliance with subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act.

Subsection 8(2) sets out 13 instances where such disclosure may be made. In particular, paragraph 8(2)(b) states that personal information under the control of a government institution may be made "for any purpose in accordance with any Act of Parliament or any regulation made there under that authorizes its disclosure."

The Minister's authority to disclose personal information without the consent of the individual under the CCPSA is subject to two conditions:

  • The information may be disclosed only to a person or government that carries out functions relating to the protection of human health or safety; and
  • The disclosure must be necessary to identify or address a serious danger to human health or safety.

The ability to share personal information in those rare and serious circumstances helps enable rapid response to serious dangers to human health or safety. The other disclosure provisions contained in section 8 of the Privacy Act continue to apply.

7. Compliance and Enforcement

Where Health Canada is aware that a person has failed to provide information, the person may be issued a written order under Next link will take you to another Web site section 32 of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) outlining the steps necessary to ensure compliance.

8. For More Information

For further information, specific questions or clarification, contact a Health Canada Product Safety Office.

Appendix A - Additional Requirements under CCPSA Regulations

The following regulations and record keeping requirements have been transferred from the Hazardous Products Act to the CCPSA.

Additional Requirements under CCPSA Regulations
Regulation Records required to be kept Period to be kept Period to submit records upon request
Carbonated Beverage Containers Records describing tests carried out on the products and the results of such tests 2 years Not specified
Consumer Chemicals and Containers, 2001 Specification regarding child-resistant characteristics of the container (Section 10) and all Section 5 documents 3 years from the date of manufacture or import 15 days
Corded Window Covering Products Records that show that a product meets the requirements of the regulations 3 years from date of manufacture or import 15 days
Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Records that show that a product meets the requirements of the regulations 3 years from date of manufacture or import 15 days
Glass Doors and Enclosures Records that show that a product meets the requirements of the regulations 4 years from the date of manufacture or import 15 days
Lighters Records that identify luxury lighters and show the value of a luxury lighter on sale by the manufacturer, and the value for duty of an imported luxury lighter. 6 years from the date of sale or import Not specified
Certificate that a lighter has been tested and complies with the child-resistance requirements. 3 years 15 days for test protocol data