Law:Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act

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R.s.c., 1985, c. C-38

An Act respecting the packaging, labelling, sale, importation and advertising of prepackaged and certain other products


Contents

Short Title

Short title

1. This Act may be cited as the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 1.


Interpretation

Definitions

2. (1) In this Act,

“advertise”

« publicité » ou « annonce »

“advertise” means make any representation to the public by any means whatever, other than a label, for the purpose of promoting directly or indirectly the sale of a product;

“apply”

Version anglaise seulement“apply” means, in respect of a label, to attach to, imprint on, include in or cause to accompany in any other way a product;

“Commissioner”

« commissaire »

“Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Competition appointed under the Competition Act;

“container”

« contenant »

“container” means a receptacle, package, wrapper or confining band in which a product is offered for sale but does not include package liners or shipping containers or any outer wrapping or box that is not customarily displayed to the consumer;

“dealer”

« fournisseur »

“dealer” means a person who is a retailer, manufacturer, processor or producer of a product, or a person who is engaged in the business of importing, packing or selling any product;

“inspector”

« inspecteur »

“inspector” means any person designated as an inspector

(a) for the enforcement of this Act under the Department of Industry Act, or

(b) for the enforcement of this Act as it relates to food, as defined in section 2 of the Food and Drugs Act, under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act;

“label”

Version anglaise seulement“label” means any label, mark, sign, device, imprint, stamp, brand, ticket or tag;

“Minister”

« ministre »

“Minister” means the Minister of Industry and, for the enforcement of this Act as it relates to food, as defined in section 2 of the Food and Drugs Act, means the Ministe of Agriculture and Agri-Food;

“prepackaged product”

« produit préemballé »

“prepackaged product” means any product that is packaged in a container in such a manner that it is ordinarily sold to or used or purchased by a consumer without being re-packaged;

“prescribed”

Version anglaise seulement“prescribed” means prescribed by the regulations;

“product”

« produit »

“product” means any article that is or may be the subject of trade or commerce but does not include land or any interest therein;

“sell”

« vendre »

“sell” includes

(a) offer for sale, expose for sale and have in possession for sale, and

(b) display in such manner as to lead to a reasonable belief that the substance or product so displayed is intended for sale.

Functions of Commissioner

(2) The functions of the Minister of Industry in relation to the administration of this Act except subsection 11(1), and in relation to the enforcement of this Act except as it relates to food, as that term is defined in section 2 of the Food and Drugs Act, may be exercised by the Commissioner on behalf of that Minister.

R.S., 1985, c. C-38, s. 2; 1992, c. 1, s. 145(F); 1995, c. 1, ss. 62, 63; 1997, c. 6, s. 40; 1999, c. 2, s. 44.


Application Of Act

Application notwithstanding other Acts

3. (1) Subject to subsection (2) and any regulations made under section 18, the provisions of this Act that are applicable to any product apply notwithstanding any other Act of Parliament.

Exemption

(2) This Act does not apply to any product that is a device or drug within the meaning of the Food and Drugs Act.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 3.


Prohibitions

Prohibition respecting labels

4. (1) No dealer shall sell, import into Canada or advertise any prepackaged product unless that product has applied to it a label containing a declaration of net quantity of the product in the form and manner required by this Act or prescribed and in terms of either

(a) numerical count, or

(b) a unit of measurement set out in Schedule I to the Weights and Measures Act,

as may be prescribed.

Declaration of net quantity to be readily distinguishable

(2) A declaration of net quantity referred to in subsection (1) shall be located on the principal display panel of the label and shall be clearly and prominently displayed, easily legible and in distinct contrast to any other information or representation shown on the label.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 4; 1976-77, c. 55, s. 3.

Prohibition respecting advertising

5. No dealer shall, in advertising any prepackaged product, make any representation with respect to the net quantity of the product except in accordance with this Act and the regulations.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 5.

Prohibition respecting packaging

6. No dealer shall sell or import into Canada any prepackaged product that is packaged in such a manner that it does not meet the packaging requirements established in relation to that product by regulations made pursuant to subsection 11(1).

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 6.

Representations relating to prepackaged products

7. (1) No dealer shall apply to any prepackaged product or sell, import into Canada or advertise any prepackaged product that has applied to it a label containing any false or misleading representation that relates to or may reasonably be regarded as relating to that product.

Definition of "false or misleading representation"

(2) For the purposes of this section, “false or misleading representation” includes

(a) any representation in which expressions, words, figures, depictions or symbols are used, arranged or shown in a manner that may reasonably be regarded as qualifying the declared net quantity of a prepackaged product or as likely to deceive a consumer with respect to the net quantity of a prepackaged product;

(b) any expression, word, figure, depiction or symbol that implies or may reasonably be regarded as implying that a prepackaged product contains any matter not contained in it or does not contain any matter in fact contained in it; and

(c) any description or illustration of the type, quality, performance, function, origin or method of manufacture or production of a prepackaged product that may reasonably be regarded as likely to deceive a consumer with respect to the matter so described or illustrated.

Where, within prescribed tolerances, net quantity not less than declared

(3) Where a declaration of net quantity shows the purported net quantity of the prepackaged product to which it is applied, that declaration shall be deemed not to be a false or misleading representation if the net quantity of the prepackaged product is, subject to the prescribed tolerance, not less than the declared net quantity of the prepackaged product and the declaration otherwise meets the requirements of this Act and the regulations.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 7.

Labels on edible and potable prepackaged products

8. No dealer shall apply to any edible or potable prepackaged product a label that contains any representation with respect to the number of servings contained in the container of the prepackaged product unless that label contains a declaration of net quantity of each serving in the form and manner prescribed and in terms of either

(a) numerical count, or

(b) a unit of measurement set out in Schedule I to the Weights and Measures Act,

as may be prescribed.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 8; 1976-77, c. 55, s. 3.

Containers of prepackaged products

9. (1) No dealer shall sell, import into Canada or advertise any prepackaged product that is packaged in a container that has been manufactured, constructed or filled or is displayed in such a manner that a consumer might reasonably be misled with respect to the quality or quantity of the product.

Recognized and accepted production practice, if necessary for packaging, a defence

(2) No dealer is guilty of the offence of selling, importing into Canada or advertising a prepackaged product that is packaged in a container that has been filled in such a manner that a consumer might reasonably be misled with respect to the quality or quantity of the product if the dealer establishes that the container was filled in accordance with a recognized and accepted production practice that is reasonably necessary for the purpose of packaging the product.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 9.


Labels

Label containing declaration of net quantity

10. Each label containing a declaration of net quantity of the prepackaged product to which it is applied shall

(a) be applied to the prepackaged product in such form and manner as may be prescribed; and

(b) show, in such form and manner and in such circumstances as may be prescribed,

(i) the identity and principal place of business of the person by or for whom the prepackaged product was manufactured or produced for resale,

(ii) the identity of the prepackaged product in terms of its common or generic name or in terms of its function, and

(iii) such information respecting the nature, quality, age, size, material content, composition, geographic origin, performance, use or method of manufacture or production of the prepackaged product as may be prescribed.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 10.


Standardization Of Containers

Packaging requirements established by regulation

11. (1) Where the Governor in Council is of the opinion that there is an undue proliferation of sizes or shapes of containers in which any prepackaged product or class of prepackaged product is sold and that the effect of the undue proliferation of sizes or shapes is to confuse or mislead or be likely to confuse or mislead consumers with respect to the weight, measure or numerical count of a prepackaged product, the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister, may make regulations establishing packaging requirements that limit the sizes and shapes of containers in which that prepackaged product or class of prepackaged product may be sold.

Advice for establishing packaging requirements

(2) For the purpose of establishing packaging requirements for any prepackaged product or class of prepackaged product, the Minister shall seek the advice of at least one organization in Canada of consumers and one organization of dealers in that prepackaged product or class of prepackaged product and may seek the advice of the Standards Council of Canada or any organization in Canada engaged in standards formulation.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 11.


Research And Studies

Packaging and labelling research and studies

12. (1) The Minister may conduct research and studies relating or incidental to the packaging and labelling of any prepackaged product, including matters relating or incidental to unit price marking, date and storage marking and the shapes and sizes of containers.

Consultation

(2) The Minister may, in conducting any research or studies pursuant to subsection (1), consult with or seek the advice of any department or agency of any government, any dealers or any organization of dealers or any organization in Canada of consumers.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 12.


Enforcement

Certificate to be produced

13. (1) An inspector shall be furnished with a certificate of his designation as an inspector and on entering any place described in subsection (2) shall, if so required, produce the certificate to the person in charge of that place.

Powers of inspectors

(2) Subject to subsection (2.1), an inspector may at any reasonable time enter any premises of a dealer or any other place in which the inspector believes on reasonable grounds there is any prepackaged product that is owned by a dealer and may, where the inspector believes on reasonable grounds that, for any purpose relating to the enforcement of this Act, it is necessary to do so,

(a) examine any prepackaged product found therein;

(b) open and examine any package found therein that he believes on reasonable grounds contains any prepackaged product; and

(c) examine any documents or papers, including books, reports, records, shipping bills and bills of lading, or any data entered or recorded by any system of mechanical or electronic data processing or by any other information storage device, that he believes on reasonable grounds contain any information relevant to the enforcement of this Act and make copies thereof or extracts therefrom.

Warrant required to enter dwelling-house

(2.1) Where any premises or place referred to in subsection (2) is a dwelling-house, an inspector may not enter that dwelling-house without the consent of the occupant except under the authority of a warrant issued under subsection (2.2).

Authority to issue warrant

(2.2) Where on ex parte application a justice of the peace is satisfied by information on oath

(a) that the conditions for entry described in subsection (2) exist in relation to a dwelling-house,

(b) that entry to the dwelling-house is necessary for any purpose relating to the administration or enforcement of this Act, and

(c) that entry to the dwelling-house has been refused or that there are reasonable grounds for believing that entry thereto will be refused,

the justice of the peace may issue a warrant under his hand authorizing the inspector named therein to enter that dwelling-house subject to such conditions as may be specified in the warrant.

Use of force

(2.3) In executing a warrant issued under subsection (2.2), the inspector named therein shall not use force unless the inspector is accompanied by a peace officer and the use of force has been specifically authorized in the warrant.

Assistance to inspectors

(3) The owner or the person in charge of a place entered by an inspector pursuant to subsection (2) and every person employed therein shall give the inspector all reasonable assistance to enable the inspector to carry out his duties and functions under this Act and shall furnish the inspector with any information he may reasonably require with respect to the administration of this Act and the regulations.

R.S., 1985, c. C-38, s. 13; R.S., 1985, c. 31 (1st Supp.), s. 6.

Obstruction and false statements

14. (1) No person shall obstruct or hinder, or knowingly make any false or misleading statements either orally or in writing to, an inspector engaged in carrying out his duties and functions under this Act.

Interference

(2) Except with the authority of an inspector, no person shall remove, alter or interfere in any way with any product or other thing seized and detained by an inspector pursuant to subsection 15(1).

Examining and sampling allowable

(3) An inspector shall, at the request of the person from whom a product or other thing was seized, allow that person or any person authorized by that person to examine the product or other thing so seized and, where practicable, furnish a sample thereof to such person.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 14.

Seizure

15. (1) Where an inspector believes on reasonable grounds that any provision of this Act or the regulations has been contravened, the inspector may seize and detain any product or any labelling, packaging or advertising material by means of or in relation to which the inspector believes on reasonable grounds the contravention was committed.

Seizure limitation

(2) Except to the extent that the product or other thing, or a sample thereof, is required as evidence, an inspector shall not seize any product or other thing pursuant to subsection (1) where, in the opinion of the inspector, the seizure of the product or other thing is not necessary in the public interest.

Notice to person of provision contravened

(3) Where an inspector has seized and detained any product or other thing pursuant to subsection (1), he shall, as soon as practicable, advise the person in whose possession the product or other thing was at the time of seizure of the provision of this Act or the regulations that the inspector believes has been contravened.

Detention limitation

(4) Any product or other thing seized pursuant to subsection (1) shall not be detained

(a) after the provisions of this Act or any regulations that are applicable to the product or other thing have, in the opinion of an inspector, been complied with;

(b) except to the extent that the product or other thing, or a sample thereof, is required as evidence, after an inspector or the Minister is, on application made by the owner of the product or other thing or by the person in whose possession the product or other thing was at the time of seizure, satisfied that it is not necessary in the public interest to continue to detain the product or other thing; or

(c) after the expiration of sixty days after the day of seizure, or if the seizure is in respect of a contravention of the Act as it relates to food as defined in section 2 of the Food and Drugs Act, one hundred and eighty days after the day of seizure, unless, before that time,

(i) the product or other thing has been forfeited pursuant to section 17,

(ii) proceedings have been instituted in respect of the contravention in relation to which the product or other thing was seized, in which event the product or other thing may be detained until the proceedings are finally concluded, or

(iii) notice of an application for an order extending the time during which the product or other thing may be detained has been served in accordance with section 16.

Storage and removal

(5) A product or other thing seized by an inspector pursuant to subsection (1) shall be kept or stored in the building or place where it was seized, except where the product or thing, or a sample thereof, is required as evidence or the person in whose possession the product or thing was at the time of seizure or the person entitled to possession of the building or place requests that it be removed to some other proper place, in which case the product or thing or the sample thereof, as the case may be, may be removed to and stored in any other proper place at the direction of or with the concurrence of an inspector.

R.S., 1985, c. C-38, s. 15; 1997, c. 6, s. 41.

Application to extend period of detention

16. (1) Where proceedings have not been instituted in respect of the contravention in relation to which any product or other thing was seized and detained pursuant to subsection 15(1), the Minister may, before the expiration of the period referred to in paragraph 15(4)(c) and on the serving of prior notice in accordance with subsection (2) on the owner of the product or other thing or on the person in whose possession the product or other thing was at the time of seizure, apply to a provincial court judge within whose territorial jurisdiction the seizure was made for an order extending the time during which the product or other thing may be detained.

Notice of application

(2) The notice referred to in subsection (1) shall be served by personal service at least five clear days prior to the day on which the application is to be made to the provincial court judge or by registered mail at least seven clear days prior to that day and shall specify

(a) the provincial court judge to whom the application is to be made;

(b) the place where and the time when the application is to be heard, which time shall be not later than ten days after service of the notice;

(c) the product or other thing in respect of which the application is to be made; and

(d) the evidence on which the Minister intends to rely to show why the time during which the product or other thing may be detained should be extended.

Order of extension granted

(3) Where, on the hearing of an application made under subsection (1), the provincial court judge is satisfied that the product or other thing seized should continue to be detained, the provincial court judge shall order that

(a) the product or other thing be detained for such additional period of time and on such conditions relating to the detention for that period as he deems proper, and

(b) on the expiration of that period, the product or other thing be restored to the person from whom it was seized or to any other person entitled to possession thereof,

unless, before the expiration of that period, subparagraph 15(4)(c)(i) or (ii) applies.

Order of extension refused

(4) Where, on the hearing of an application made under subsection (1), the provincial court judge is not satisfied that the product or other thing seized should continue to be detained, the provincial court judge shall order that the product or other thing be restored to the person from whom it was seized or to any other person entitled to possession thereof on the expiration of the period referred to in paragraph 15(4)(c), unless

(a) before the expiration of that period of time, subparagraph 15(4)(c)(i) or (ii) applies; or

(b) at the time of the hearing, that period has then expired, in which event the provincial court judge shall order the restoration thereof forthwith to the person from whom it was seized or to any other person entitled to possession thereof.

R.S., 1985, c. C-38, s. 16; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 203; 1997, c. 6, s. 42.

Forfeiture on consent

17. (1) Where an inspector has seized any product or other thing pursuant to subsection 15(1) and the owner thereof or the person in lawful possession thereof at the time of seizure consents in writing to the forfeiture of the product or other thing, the product or other thing is thereupon forfeited to Her Majesty.

Forfeiture or other disposal on conviction

(2) Where a person is convicted of an offence under this Act and any product or other thing seized pursuant to subsection 15(1) by means of which or in relation to which the offence was committed is then being detained, the product or other thing

(a) is, on that conviction, in addition to any punishment imposed for the offence, forfeited to Her Majesty if the forfeiture is directed by the court; or

(b) shall, on the expiration of the time for bringing an appeal from the conviction or on the final conclusion of the proceedings, as the case may be, be restored to the person from whom it was seized or to any other person entitled to possession thereof on such conditions, if any, relating to sale or advertising as may be imposed by order of the court and as, in the opinion of the court, are necessary to avoid the commission of any further offence under this Act.

Articles deemed not to have been seized

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), any product or other thing released from detention pursuant to paragraph 15(4)(a) or (b) shall be deemed not to have been seized pursuant to section 15.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 17.


Regulations

Regulations

18. (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations

(a) exempting, conditionally or unconditionally, any prepackaged product or class of prepackaged product from any or all of the provisions of this Act or the regulations;

(b) exempting, conditionally or unconditionally, any type of transaction in relation to any prepackaged product or class of prepackaged product from the prohibition contained in section 4;

(c) defining the expression "principal display panel" for the purposes of this Act;

(d) prescribing the information that shall be shown on the container of a prepackaged product where any representation is made thereon that the prepackaged product is being offered for sale below the usual retail price;

(e) requiring the statement on the container of a prepackaged product of any information or representation required to be shown in a label, in addition to or in place of the statement of that information or representation in a label;

(f) prescribing the form and manner in which, including the language or languages in which, any information or representation required to be declared or shown in any label, on any container or in any advertisement shall be declared or shown;

(g) prescribing any expressions, words, figures, depictions or symbols the use of which, in relation to a prepackaged product, shall be deemed, unless the contrary is proven, to constitute a false or misleading representation;

(h) subject to any other Act of Parliament, extending or applying any provision of this Act to or in respect of any product or class of product specified in the regulations that is not a prepackaged product but is ordinarily sold to or purchased by a consumer

(i) otherwise than for resale or for use in the course of a business, trade or calling, or

(ii) with a label applied thereto, whether or not that label contains a declaration of net quantity;

(i) respecting the detention of products and other things seized and detained under section 15;

(j) respecting the disposition of products and other things forfeited under section 17;

(k) prescribing any matter or thing that by this Act may be prescribed; and

(l) generally for carrying out the purposes and provisions of this Act.

Where statement on container deemed to be label

(2) Where any information or representation is required by the regulations to be stated on the container of a prepackaged product in place of the statement of that information or representation in a label and is so stated, that statement on the container shall be deemed to be a label and to be applied to the prepackaged product.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 18.


Publication Of Proposed Regulations

Publication and opportunity for representations

19. A copy of each regulation or amendment to a regulation that the Governor in Council proposes to make under section 11 or 18 shall be published in the Canada Gazette and a reasonable opportunity shall be afforded to consumers, dealers and other interested persons to make representations with respect thereto.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 19.


Offences And Punishment

Contraventions of sections 4 to 9

20. (1) Subject to subsection (2.1), every dealer who contravenes any of sections 4 to 9 is guilty of an offence and liable

(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $5,000; or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Contravention of other provisions or regulations

(2) Subject to subsection (2.1), every person who contravenes any provision of this Act, other than any of sections 4 to 9, or any regulation made under paragraph 18(1)(d), (e) or (h), is guilty of an offence and liable

(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both; or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding $3,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.

Offences relating to food

(2.1) Every person who contravenes a provision referred to in subsection (1) or (2) as that provision relates to food, as defined in section 2 of the Food and Drugs Act, is guilty of an offence and liable

(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both; or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding $250,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both.

Criminal liability of officers, etc., of corporations

(3) Where a corporation commits an offence under this Act, any officer, director or agent of the corporation who directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in the commission of the offence is a party to and guilty of the offence and is liable on conviction to the punishment provided for the offence whether or not the corporation has been prosecuted or convicted.

R.S., 1985, c. C-38, s. 20; 1997, c. 6, s. 43.

Offence by employee or agent

21. (1) In any prosecution for an offence under this Act, it is sufficient proof of the offence to establish that it was committed by an employee or agent of the accused, whether or not the employee or agent is identified or has been prosecuted for the offence, unless the accused establishes that the offence was committed without his knowledge or consent and that he exercised all due diligence to prevent its commission.

Limitation period

(2) Any proceedings by way of summary conviction for an offence referred to in subsection 20(1) or (2) may be instituted within but not later than twelve months after the time when the subject-matter of the proceedings arose.

Limitation period for offences respecting food

(2.1) Any proceedings by way of summary conviction for an offence referred to in subsection 20(2.1) may be instituted within two years after the time when the subject-matter of the proceedings becomes known to the Minister.

Minister’s certificate

(2.2) A document purporting to have been issued by the Minister, certifying the day on which the subject-matter of any proceedings became known to the Minister, is admissible in evidence without proof of the signature or official character of the person appearing to have signed the document and is evidence of the matters asserted in it.

Venue

(3) A complaint or an information in respect of an offence under this Act may be heard, tried or determined by a court if the accused is resident or carrying on business within the territorial jurisdiction of that court although the matter of the complaint or information did not arise in that territorial jurisdiction.

R.S., 1985, c. C-38, s. 21; 1997, c. 6, s. 44.

Identification appearing in labels

22. (1) In any prosecution for an offence under this Act, evidence that a label applied to a product bore identification purporting to identify the person by or for whom the product was manufactured or produced is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof that the person whose identification appeared in the label is the person by or for whom the product was manufactured or produced and the person responsible for the information and representations in the label.

Identification appearing on containers

(2) In any prosecution for an offence under this Act in relation to a product to which a label purporting to identify the person by or for whom the product was manufactured or produced is not applied, evidence that a container of the product bore identification purporting to identify the person by or for whom the product was manufactured or produced is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof that the person whose identification appeared on the container is the person by or for whom the product was manufactured or produced and the person responsible for the information and representations on the container.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 22.

Articles received or in transit before contravened regulation in force

23. (1) No person shall be convicted of an offence under this Act in relation to the sale, importation or advertising of a product if the person establishes to the satisfaction of the court that the product in relation to which the offence was committed was received by, or was in transit to, the person from a dealer before the coming into force of the regulation that created the requirement with which the person has failed to comply.

Advertising before contravened regulation in force

(2) No person shall be convicted of an offence under this Act in relation to the advertising of a product if the person establishes to the satisfaction of the court that the advertisement

(a) was published, or

(b) was authorized in final form and despatched for publication,

before the coming into force of the regulation that created the requirement with which the person has failed to comply.

1970-71-72, c. 41, s. 23.


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