Market Research Series: Product Certification in Canada - What do I Need to Know?
August 18, 2020
Finding out how to certify a product in Canada can be a complicated process. The wormhole of legislative bodies and vast array of regulations often confuse people more than they inform. My research into this topic began when Duco consulting had a client ask for a detailed report on product certification. We wanted to share our findings here because, in hindsight, we would’ve given an arm and a leg for a condensed report such as this. In other words, we did the work so you don’t have to! So lean back and let me outline the process of product certification in Canada.
The first thing to decide when looking at product certification is whether the business in question needs it. Product certification most often refers to large scale, factory-based inspections that occur several times over a year and are decided contractually. For companies with a massive inventory and sales channels, certification is the most efficient way to ensure the legal safety of all products.
The other option is field evaluations. A field evaluation is an onsite inspection of each product individually. This is often used by new, startup companies with low stock that are looking to see if their products are up to par. The cons of field evaluations are that they are done on a product-by-product basis and have a limited number of evaluations they can carry out per year (varies by geography and company). However, if a company does surpass the maximum number of field evaluations, most companies let you switch to a product certification plan without much headache.
Whichever option you choose, you’ll have to get into contact with a Standards Council of Canada(SCC) accredited body. These are companies that have permission from the Canadian government to certify consumer products and they vary in size and ability so it will take some research to find the right one. The largest certifying body in Canada is the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and for large businesses, this is the obvious choice. However, no matter what your situation there will be an SCC accredited body that matches the scope of your company.
In most cases, the certifying body you choose will be able to inform you of all the standards and certifications your product will require. But there are some other resources that you can find linked at the end of this article. Of course, for each province/territory and product there will be different codes and regulating authorities that can help answer any additional questions but those are too numerous to list here.
Hopefully, this article has given you a head start on your research and you can return to your client with certainty.