Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act
The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act is a regulatory statute. It requires that prepackaged consumer products bear accurate and meaningful labelling information to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions. The Act prohibits the making of false or misleading representations and sets out specifications for mandatory label information such as the product's name, net quantity and dealer identity. The Act allows designated inspectors to: enter any place at any reasonable time; examine prepackaged products, open packages, examine and make copies of documents or papers; and seize products, labelling, packaging or advertising material which do not conform with the Act and Regulations.
Subsection 4(1) prohibits a dealer from selling, importing or advertising a prepackaged product unless it has applied to it a declaration of net quantity as prescribed by the Act and Regulations. Subsection 4(2) requires that this declaration appear on the principal display panel, is clearly and prominently displayed, easily legible and in distinct contrast to other information or representations shown on the label. Section 10 requires that each prepackaged product containing a declaration of net quantity bear a statement of the product's identity in terms of either its common name, generic name or function, as well as a declaration of the dealer's name and principal place of business.
Section 5 prohibits a dealer from making representations in advertisements with respect to the net quantity of a prepackaged product unless they are in accordance with the Act and Regulations.
Section 6 prohibits a dealer from selling or importing into Canada any prepackaged product that does not meet the packaging requirements outlined in the Regulations.
Subsection 7(1) prohibits the sale, importation or advertisement of a prepackaged product that has a label applied to it that contains false or misleading representations relating to or reasonably regarded as relating to that product. Subsection 7(2) provides guidance on what types of expressions, words, figures, depictions, descriptions, symbols or illustrations may be considered to be false or misleading representations. Subsection 7(3) prohibits providing less product, beyond the prescribed tolerances, than the declared net quantity.
Subsection 9(1) prohibits dealers from selling, importing or advertising prepackaged products in a container that has been constructed, filled or displayed in such a manner that may mislead consumers as to the quality or quantity of the product. Subsection 9(2) provides a defence for this practice if the dealer can establish that the container was filled in accordance with accepted production practices.
Offence and punishment — Every dealer who contravenes any of sections 4 to 9 is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of up to $5,000 on summary conviction, or to a fine of up to $10,000 upon indictment. Every person who contravenes any provision of the Act, other than any sections 4 to 9, or any regulation made under paragraph 18(1)(d), (e) or (h), is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment up to six months on summary conviction, or to a fine of up to $3,000 and/or imprisonment up to one year upon indictment.
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