This is chapter 4 of the Consumer Product Safety in Canada orientation module. A transcript of the video follows below.
Chapter 4: Impacts of Conformity assessment on the market place
An uncertified and thus potentially unsafe product can create negative public perception and rattle consumer confidence in your business. Product recalls are costly and disruptive to your operations, your company's reputation, and to your industry.
Use of proper conformity assessment practices along the entire supply chain leads to a savvier and more confident consumer base. It creates greater demand for better quality consumer products and services.
Counterfeit & unsafe products are counter-productive to consumer confidence, and to the broader Canadian economy.
Products that are consistently brought to market according to recognized standards and that are regularly assessed to verify conformance to standards/protocols, contribute to Canada's reputation in the manufacturing and trade arena, both at home and abroad. Demonstrating safety, competency and quality provides peace of mind for Canadian consumers.
Disregarding the importance of conformity assessment can introduce a host of avoidable issues, such as:
- Potential damage, serious injury, loss of life
- Legal liability in case of incidents (for example, fines and criminal action)
- Enforced corrective measures (for example, recall orders)
- Loss of revenue
- Lower consumer confidence, and
- Product incompatibility within the supply chain/industry
Preventing prohibited, counterfeit, or unsafe products from entering Canada can be challenging. There is no single governing body to provide parameters for universal product safety.
Some cross-border safety issues include:
- Inconsistent product safety sanctions and remedies
- Divergently product safety requirements, regulations, standards and technical requirements
- Increased pressure on resources of product safety regulators
- Regulatory complexity of other countries
- Harmonized international enforcement activities to streamline trade flow, and
- Inconsistent business obligations from country to country
To facilitate product safety across borders, Canada encourages:
- Improved access to, and exchange of, policy information, warnings and alerts
- Harmonization of standards and conformity assessment recognition internationally, and
- Enforcement of regulations and associated penalties for violation
For more information on cross-border safety challenges, consult the Health Canada and Canada Border Services Agency websites.
For the purposes of supporting a harmonized global system of conformity assessment and accreditation recognition, SCC has signed several international and regional agreements that focus on cooperation.
These agreements are designed to reduce the need for duplication of some conformity assessment activities such as product testing, inspection or accreditation.
Depending on your business sector, there may be a recognition agreement in place between Canada and other trade partner countries. The existence of such agreements or lack thereof will play a key role in your choice of conformity assessment solutions.
Canadian manufacturers, importers, exporters and distributors all benefit from international and regional cooperation agreement. The standardization chapters of these trade agreements are fundamental to the preservation of Canada's manufacturing sector and to its ability to participate in global supply chains.