Planning on shopping this Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Health Canada is reminding consumers to make informed buying decisions, and to be aware of the potential risks with online and cross-border shopping. Here are some helpful tips to avoid buying unsafe products and to help keep your loved ones safe.
Be smart when buying online
It is important to remember that not all consumer products found online are safe. In Canada, to help protect the public, consumer products must meet all current legislative and regulatory requirements. However, Canadians shopping on websites based in other countries may be able to buy some products that:
- are prohibited in Canada;
- are counterfeit or not as advertised;
- may have been recalled for failing to meet Canadian regulatory requirements; or
- may not have the necessary labelling or instructions, which could lead to misuse or injury.
Even when buying from Canadian-based retailers, it’s important to understand that Health Canada does not approve every product before it is sold. Industry is responsible for ensuring that the products they place on the Canadian market comply with the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. Products are monitored for health or safety risks after they’ve been released onto the market, but not every product is checked or tested.
To learn more about the potential risks of buying consumer products online and how you can minimize those risks, visit Buying Consumer Products Online. You can also check the Recalls and Safety Alerts Database for information about products that have been recalled.
Be aware of prohibited products and cross-border shopping rules
Some consumer products are not allowed into Canada by law and can be detained at the border. Visit Information for Canadians Travelling Outside of Canada for a list of products that are prohibited from being sold, imported or advertised in Canada, such as:
- Baby walkers
- Balloon blowing kits
- Infant self-feeding devices
- Jequirity beans
- Lawn darts with elongated tips
- Relight candles
- Yo-yo balls with long cords
- Certain novelty magnet sets and children’s toys with small powerful magnets
If you are planning to cross-border shop or shop online, it pays to know which consumer products have Canadian safety requirements that are different from those in other countries. The following is a partial list:
- Baby gates
- Car seats
- Cribs, cradles and bassinets
- Hockey helmets and face protectors
Take special care with certain consumer products
Some consumer products lead to more health and safety incidents or require particular care. These include:
Televisions can tip over. About 70% of reported TV tip-over incidents in Canada involve children between 1 and 3 years of age, so it is important to put TVs on low, stable furniture that is made for their weight and size, and to properly attach TVs to the stand. For more information, check the Furniture, appliance and television safety webpage.
- Electronics and lithium ion batteries
Batteries that power electronics, household devices and children’s toys can pose risks of fire and explosion, or cause serious injury and even death if swallowed, for example, button batteries. Learn how to safely install, use, store and dispose of these products on the Battery Safety webpage.
- USB chargers
Many uncertified USB chargers were recently found by Health Canada to pose a high risk of electric shock and fire, and were recalled as a result. Use only certified electrical products that have a recognized certification mark on the product itself, not just the packaging. If you are unsure of whether a product is certified, ask the retailer to show you the certification mark on the product before you buy it.