Planning to import and sell clothing or other textiles products in Canada? In this guide, written by Shufen Lee based in Toronto, you will learn what textiles importers must know about restricted chemicals, labeling requirements, children’s clothing regulations, and flammability.
Do you need help with product compliance? (EU & US)
- Request a free consultation call today with Ivan Malloci to learn how we can help you with:
- Product Requirements Lists
- Product Certification
- Product & Packaging Labeling
- Lab Testing
Canada Consumer Product Safety Act
Textile products manufactured, imported, advertised or sold in Canada are subject to the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA). Products that are non-compliant with the Act and regulations are prohibited to be imported and sold in Canada.
The specific regulations apply to textile products that are made under CCPSA are the Textile Flammability Regulations and Children’s Sleepwear Regulations, which will be discussed below.
Products that are a danger to human health or safety
Under CCPSA, consumer products that are of danger to human health or safety are not allowed to be manufactured, imported into Canada, advertised or sold in Canada.
The CCPSA defines the concept of “danger to human health or safety.” Here are the key elements of that definition:
1. Unreasonable hazard, whether existing or potential;
2. The hazards are posed in, or as a result of, the products’ normal or foreseeable use; and
3. The hazard may reasonably be expected to have an acute or chronic adverse effect on health, either immediately or longer-term, and includes injury and death
To have a better idea which chemical substances that may pose hazards, you should ensure your products do not have any chemical substances that are banned according to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, which is regulated under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA).
We recommend lab testing your products before importing them to Canada. The laboratories can confirm which substances and heavy metals could potentially be a danger to human health or safety.
Although lab testing is not always mandatory, Health Canada has the authority under CCPSA to order manufacturers and importers at any time to conduct a test on the product to verify compliance with the Act or regulations.
If the product is believed to be a “danger to human health or safety”, a recall order can be issued to prohibit consumer products from being imported and sold in Canada. Sometimes, corrective measures may be issued instead such that modification of the product can be made in order to meet compliance requirement set in the Act and regulations
Mandatory Incidence Reporting
Under CCPSA, you must report a problem with the textile product to Health Canada when there are any incidence in Canada or elsewhere that results in consumer’s death or serious injury within an allowable timeline after the day you become aware of an incidence
Textile Labeling Act (TLA) and Textile Labeling and Advertising Regulation (TLAR)
The act and regulation under TLA and TLAR specify the mandatory labeling requirements for consumer textile products.
The disclosure label should bear the fiber content information expressed in percentages by mass, and the dealer identity information (as outlined below).
What textile products are covered or are listed in Schedule 1?
Textile products identified in Schedule 1 must be labeled in accordance with the Act and Regulation.
- Bedspreads, blankets, quilts, and comforters
- Sleeping bags
- Draperies, drapery liners, and curtains
What textile products are covered or are listed in Schedule 2?
Textile products listed in Schedule 2 are exempted from the labeling requirement. However, if you choose to label them, they must be labeled correctly.
Examples of consumer products that are listed in Schedule 2 are:
- Boots, shoes
- Pet accessories
- Lawn and beach furniture
a. Fiber content
According to the regulation, the generic name of each fiber present, in an amount of 5% or more, must be stated as a percentage of the total fiber mass of the product. The fiber must be shown in order of predominance. The fiber content must also be shown in both English and French except for areas where only one official language is used.
When a consumer textile product consists of different parts and when the fiber content of each part is different from others, separate disclosure for each part must be made. For example:
- 65% polyester
- 35% cotton/coton
- 50% polyester
- 50% cotton/coton
What about fiber present in an amount of less than 5%?
Fiber present in an amount of less than 5% may be stated as “other fiber”. An appropriate disclosure for a fabric made from a blend of cotton and spandex is:
- 97% cotton/coton
- 3% other fiber/autre fibre
When more than one fiber is present in an amount of less than 5%, they may be combined and identified as “other fibers” accompanied by the percentage of the total fiber mass of the product. For example, for a fabric made up of cotton, metallic and spandex, appropriate disclosure is:
- 92% cotton/coton
- 8% other fibers/autres fibres
What about trimming, ornamentation, and findings?
Trimming is any textile fiber product that has been added to a consumer textile product for a decorative purpose such as embroidery, appliqué, braid, lace, ribbon, ruffles, piping, belts, rickrack, collars and cuffs. Trimming must be disclosed if it is present in an amount greater than 15% of the total outer surface area of the textile products.
If trimming is present in an amount of 15% or less, it does not require disclosure, provided it is clear that the fiber content is disclosed “exclusive of trimming”.
For example, where a consumer textile product has nylon lace added to it, and the total area of the lace is 15% or less of the total area of the textile product, then an appropriate fiber content disclosure is:
- 75% cotton/coton
- 25% polyester
- Exclusive of trimming and ornamentation/ garniture et ornement non compris
If you choose to disclose the fiber content of the trimming, an acceptable disclosure is:
- 75% cotton/coton
- 25% polyester
Where a textile product has several different trimmings, each present in amounts of less than or equal to 15% of the outer surface area, but which together comprise over 15% of the outer surface area, the trimmings may be labeled collectively, for example, as:
Similarly for elastic yarns, reinforcement yarns, ornamentation of an amount less than 5% less do not require disclosure, provided it is clear that the fiber content is disclosed “exclusive of “ if the total of other fiber(s) disclosed equals 100%.
Findings, which are added to the consumer textile product for a functional purpose such as interfacing, buttons, linings, zippers and shoulder pads, do not have to be disclosed. However, if they are disclosed, the textile fiber content must be shown in a separate part following all other disclosures. For example
What about reclaimed or unknown fiber content?
Reclaimed fiber refers to fibers produced from yarn waste, fabric cuttings, rags, and used garments. Where such fibres are used, the word “reclaimed”, “reprocessed” or “reused” must be shown immediately preceding the generic name. For example:
- 100% reclaimed wool/laine récupérée
If all or partial fiber content is unknown, the term “unknown fiber”, “undetermined fiber”, “miscellaneous fiber” or “mixed fiber” should be used. For example,
100% unknown fibers/fibres inconnues
Do you need to disclose fiber content when advertising?
Fiber content disclosure in advertising is not mandatory. However, if any disclosure to the fiber content is made, it must be done according to the act and regulations except that the percentage of fiber may be omitted and generic names are not required to be bilingual
b. Permanent vs non-permanent labels
Consumer textile products included in Schedule 1 of the Regulations, but not in Schedule 3, require a permanent label such that it can be expected to withstand and remain legible throughout at least ten cleanings.
Consumer textile products included in Schedule 3 of the Regulations may bear a non‑permanent label such as a hangtag, wrapper, sticker, etc. or, if desired, a permanent label.
Examples of textile products that do not require permanent labels or are included in Schedule 3 are:
- Headwear, wigs
- Neckties, bow ties
c. Seller Identity Information
The dealer identity must be disclosed by either disclosing the name and full postal address or for a dealer in Canada, an identification number known as “CA Number” obtained by applying to the Competition Bureau. The dealer identity need only be in one of the official languages.
d. Non-Required Information
- Fabric trademark
- Size conformation to specific size dimensions
- Care instruction
Should you wish to disclose this information, the disclosure must be neither false nor misleading.
e. Relabeling in Canada
If you improperly labeled consumer textile products when importing, you can relabel them in Canada provided a Competition Bureau officer is notified in advance of importation and on completion of the relabeling, the officer is notified for inspection of the labeled goods prior to sale
f. Country of Origin
The Act and regulations do not require that the name of the country of origin (e.g. Made in Vietnam) be identified on an imported textile product unless the representation is made to the fact that the product, fabric or fiber therein is imported. When such a representation is made, it is then required that the country of origin of that product or part be stated.
The declaration of the country of origin may be stated on the disclosure label or on a separate label in one of the official languages. Although the country of origin is not required to be shown on the disclosure label, Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) does require you to identify where the country where goods originate from when importing goods to Canada.
Textile Flammability Regulations
When importing textile products to Canada, the textile flammability regulations must be followed. This regulation is made under CCPSA, which specifies the flammability requirement for general textile products such as:
These products, when tested in accordance with the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) standard CAN/CGSB 4.2 No. 27.5 must have a flame spread time of one of the following:
Greater than 3.5 seconds where the products do not have a raised fiber surface; or
Greater than 4 seconds or less, where the products have a raised fiber surface and exhibit ignition or fusion of their base fiber
Separate flammability requirement applies to children’s sleepwear covered under the Children Sleepwear Regulation
Children Sleepwear Regulation
The Children’s Sleepwear Regulations made under CCPSA specified specific guidelines applied to the children sleepwear in sizes up to and including 14X
Children sleepwear can be categorized as either loose-fitting or tight-fitting sleepwear.
Examples of loose-fitting sleepwear:
- Dressing gowns
- Baby doll pajamas
- Tight-fitting sleepwear refers to any children’s sleepwear other than loose-fitting sleepwear such as
- Sleepwear designed for use in a hospital
- Sleepwear designed for infants weighing up to 7 kg,
- Polo pajamas and sleepers
a. Children Sleepwear Flammability
Separate flame-resistant requirements for tight and loose-fitting children’s sleepwear according to the CGSB standard. A lab test is the only way to ensure the flammability of your clothing products complies with the regulations.
|Loose-fitting sleepwear||Tight-fitting sleepwear|
|Test Method: Schedule 1 of the Children’s Sleepwear Regulations.||Test Method: CAN/CGSB-4.2 No. 27.5|
|An average char length for five specimens that do not exceed 178 mm||Must have a flame spread time of more than 7 seconds.|
|Not more than one individual specimen with a char length equal to the full length of the specimen (254 mm).|
b. Chemical Flame retardant
When children sleepwear is treated with flame retardant, “Flame retardant” or “Ignifugeant” must be clearly shown on the permanently affixed label. It is also mandatory to show care instructions in English and French for the care of the sleepwear to ensure that it is not exposed to agents or treatments that could reduce its flame-resistance.
In addition, any of the flame retardant components must not cause any acute lethality, dermal irritation, dermal sensitization, mutagenicity, and tumorigenicity when assessed in accordance with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Test Guidelines.
Although lab test is usually not mandatory, it is highly recommended for you to conduct toxicological testing to ensure your products do not cause any of the above harm.
c. Washing and Drying
If loose-fitting sleepwear is treated with flame retardant, Children’s Sleepwear Regulations require that flame resistance be tested after 20 successive washing cycles followed by one drying cycle in accordance with the procedure set out in accordance with National Standard of Canada. If the label shows “dry clean only”, the sleepwear must be dry cleaned five times successively.
Loose-fitting sleepwear that is not treated with flame retardant must be subjected to one washing and one drying cycle. If the label shows “dry clean only”, the sleepwear must be dry cleaned once.
Shufen Lee has been residing in Toronto since 2007 and holds a BMath at the University of Waterloo.
She is currently an independent research collaborator with Asiaimportal (HK) Limited.