Preventing counterfeit, illegally labelled and grey market goods from the Canadian marketplace is tremendously important for Canadian businesses and consumers. These goods present health and safety risks to Canadian consumers, in addition to lost economic opportunities for producers.
Goods that claim to be something they are not. Usually, this involves putting a well-known trademark on an imitation of a product to deceive customers into thinking the product is genuine.
Products that do not adhere to Canadian labelling requirements. Retailers are also obligated to ensure that the products they sell are compliant with the appropriate regulations.
Legitimate goods that were intended for sale in one jurisdiction and that were later imported into another jurisdiction without authority for resale.
The Combating Counterfeit Products Act
Counterfeit products have been addressed by the federal government via legislation that will give border officers the authority to intercept, search and seize counterfeit goods coming into Canada.
The act will also make it easier to prosecute those importing, selling or distributing counterfeit products in Canada and will act as an important deterrent. FHCP will continue to advocate for additional action on reducing counterfeit products in the marketplace.
E-commerce, Safety and Fair Market Practices
With the explosive growth of online shopping, remarkable new opportunities and challenges arise for brand owners. With the addition of new, efficient shipping platforms that put speed of delivery as a primary objective, what consumers order and what they actually receive may not be quite the same thing.
Safety issues can arise; for example, allergen labelling, where each country has specific mechanisms to alert consumers to the presence of an allergen. Consumers may assume they are purchasing nut-free when they ordered the product, and will therefore consume the product without close scrutiny of the label.
For consumer products goods, there can be more than just labelling differences; products can contain different ingredients depending on each country’s requirements. Consumers are now inadvertently purchasing products with ingredients that have not yet been approved for use in Canada.
FHCP is actively engaged with Health Canada and the CFIA to discuss how to address these issues and ensure Canadians have access to safe, appropriately labelled and formulated products.
FHCP is part of the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network (CACN), which is a coalition of individuals, companies and associations united against product counterfeiting and copyright piracy in Canada and internationally.
Visit the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website for combating counterfeit products. CBSA also maintains a Border Watch toll-free line for the reporting of suspicious border activity.