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The CCPSA and Children’s Products

In Canada, child products, including toys and other items intended for children, are subject to regulations set forth by Health Canada under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. It is the CCPSA.

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The CCPSA, Its Related Acts, and Chemical Restrictions in Children's Products

These regulations aim at ensuring that products intended for use by children do not pose harm to their health or safety. Chemical restrictions play a significant role in Canadian legislation. Here is an overview of the chemical restriction regulations for child products in Canada:

Canada Consumer Product Safety Act - the CCPSA

This legislation (S.C. 2010, c. 21) governs the safety of consumer products, including those intended for children. It gives Health Canada the authority to establish and enforce safety requirements for consumer products. Importantly, dozens of regulations stem from this Act. Some of them directly impact child products, like the:

  • Children’s Jewellery Regulations (SOR/2018-82);
  • Children’s Sleepwear Regulations (SOR/2016-169); or
  • Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations (SOR/2016-152).

Heavy Metals Restrictions

First, heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic are highly toxic. Indeed, they can pose serious health risks, especially to children who may ingest them through mouthing or contact with products. Health Canada has set strict limits on the amount of these heavy metals allowed in child products. For example:

    • Lead: Lead is known to cause neurological and developmental issues in kids. Health Canada restricts the lead content in accessible parts of products for the youth to lower levels, typically measured in parts per million (ppm) or mg/kg. As a rule of thumb, the maximum concentration should be 90 ppm. This limit applies, for instance, to jewelry for the youth and surface coatings applied to toys. Surface Coating Materials (SOR/2016-193) Consumer Products Containing Lead Regulations (SOR/2018-83) have set that limit of 90 ppm.
    • Mercury, Cadmium, Arsenic: Similarly, restrictions are placed on the levels of these heavy metals in child products to minimize exposure and potential health risks. As a result, cadmium can not exceed 130 ppm in jewelry for kids.


Similarly, per Regulations SOR/2016-15, cribs, cradles, and bassinets must have reduced concentrations of heavy metals. The in-scope elements include antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, lead, mercury, and selenium. Other requirements may apply as well.

Finally, several methods can help you verify the presence of heavy metals in your products.

Phthalates Restrictions

Phthalates are chemicals commonly used to soften plastics. Despite their valuable properties, some types of phthalates have been banned or restricted in toys and childcare items due to their potential adverse health effects. Indeed, scientists suspect hormonal disruption and developmental issues associated with some phthalates. 

Consequently, under the Phthalates Regulations (SOR/2016-188), children’s products cannot have over 1,000 ppm of some phthalates, including:

  • benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), 
  • dibutyl phthalate (DBP),
  • di(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), 
  • dodecyl phthalate (DIDP)
  • diisononyl phthalate (DINP), 
  • di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP).

Flame Retardants

Some flame retardant chemicals, such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), have also been restricted or banned in children’s products due to concerns about their persistence and potential health impacts.

Formaldehyde Restrictions

Formaldehyde is another restricted chemical in children’s items. It has commonly been present in adhesives and resins used in wood products. Health Canada limits formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products used in children’s furniture and other items to reduce exposure to this potentially harmful substance.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Finally, limits also apply to VOCs emitted from certain materials used in children’s products to ensure indoor air quality and minimize potential health risks associated with exposure to these chemicals.

Duties for Producers of Children's Products

Manufacturers, importers, and retailers are responsible for ensuring that the child products they sell comply with these chemical restriction regulations set forth by Health Canada. Non-compliance can result in penalties, recalls, and other enforcement actions.

Moreover, Canada is not the only country protecting children against harmful substances in products. For example, the USA with CSPA and the European Union with REACH Annex XVII also restrict hazardous chemicals in these products. Manufacturers selling worldwide should ensure to meet the strictest obligations.

What can Parents do?

Consumers need to look for products that meet Canadian safety standards and regulations, especially when purchasing items intended for use by children. Furthermore, parents and caregivers should regularly check for recalls and safety alerts issued by Health Canada to stay informed about potential hazards associated with child products.

The Gist of the CCPSA

What is the CCPSA regulation? It is a crucial legislation governing consumer product safety in Canada. The CCPSA came into force in 2011 and replaced the former Hazardous Products Act. It aims to protect children as well as the public in general. It intends to address or prevent dangers to human health or safety of consumer products. The main aspects of the CCPSA include the following:

Scope of the CCPSA

First, the CCPSA applies to consumer products intended for use, consumption, or enjoyment in Canada, including products manufactured domestically or imported into the country for sale or distribution

General Safety Requirement

The CCPSA imposes a general requirement that consumer products do not pose any danger to human health or safety when used as intended or in a foreseeable manner.

Prohibited and Restricted Products per the CCPSA

In detail, the CCPSA empowers the Minister of Health to designate specific products as prohibited or subject to restrictions if they pose an unreasonable danger to health or safety. Examples of prohibited products include toys with high levels of the toxic substances above.

Mandatory Reporting of Incidents

Notably, manufacturers, importers, and sellers of consumer products must report incidents involving their products that result in death, serious injury, or other health or safety hazards to Health Canada.

Powers of Inspection and Enforcement under the CCPSA

Health Canada has broad powers of inspection and enforcement under the CCPSA to verify compliance with safety requirements, investigate incidents, and take appropriate enforcement actions, including recalls, warnings, and prosecution of non-compliant parties.

Product Testing and Evaluation

Notably, the CCPSA authorizes Health Canada to conduct tests and evaluations of consumer products to determine compliance with safety requirements and to identify potential hazards.

Penalties and Enforcement Measures Enabled by the CCPSA

Non-compliance with the CCPSA can result in penalties, fines, or other enforcement measures, depending on the severity and nature of the violation.

Overall, the CCPSA establishes a comprehensive framework for ensuring the safety of consumer products in Canada and provides Health Canada with the authority and tools necessary to protect the public from potential health or safety risks associated with consumer products.

For any questions on CPPSA and how to ensure that your products comply, contact Enviropass!