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What are Canada's Regulations on Warning Labels?

March 19, 2018
Question 

a. We pack products in plastic pouches that we intend to ship to Canada. If the pouch is thicker than 1/1000 inch, then does it NOT require a suffocation warning?

b. We are starting a new distribution company in Canada and understand that a warning in both English and French about suffocation needs to be put on plastic bags. As a plastic bag distribution company, is it our responsibility to print the warning for our retailer customers or is it the retailer's responsibility?

Answer 

Canada’s Toys Regulations Act requires that certain types of plastic bags used to package toys contain warnings for suffocation hazards. Specifically, flexible film bags that are used to package toys, equipment, must have an opening less than 14 inches in circumference, or must be at least 0.75 ml thick and carry a warning. See Canada’s Toys Regulations, Section 4. The law provides warning language that can be used, and requires the warning to be in both English and French.

The responsibility of printing the bag is not spelled out in the statute; instead, it makes it the responsibility of the retailer and the product manufacturer not to sell a product without the required warning. As a matter of good product stewardship, and to avoid potential liability exposure, bag distributors and bag producers may want to advise their customers as to the requirements of the law so that they can avoid using the wrong product. Of course, the contract between the parties may also affect the duties of each with respect to compliance with such laws. You may wish to retain a qualified lawyer to assess more fully your liability in this situation.