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Textile labelling: Glossary

Care information

The provision for care information in the form of either written words or symbols (Canadian, U.S., or International) is not mandatory. However, in accordance with the Textile Labelling Act, where care information is provided, the information must appear in a manner which is neither false nor misleading and must accurately reflect an appropriate method of care for the article to which it applies. Written care instructions may be provided in English or French. It should be noted, however, that the Province of Quebec has additional requirements concerning the use of the French Language.

The Canadian Care Labelling Program

The National Standard of Canada "Care Labelling of Textiles"
CAN/CGSB-86.1-2003 supersedes CAN/CGSB-86.1-M91.

Since care labelling of textile is a voluntary program in Canada, the Competition Bureau leaves the decision to businesses if an when they want to adopt the new standard, published in December 2003 by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB), which is harmonized with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) care symbols and the symbols in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard (both not yet finalized).

Copies of this standard can be purchased from the CGSB

CGSB Sales Centre
Ottawa, Canada K1A 1G6

Tel: 819-956-0425
or 1-800-665-CGSB (Canada Only)
Fax: 819-956-5644
Open 8:00 am to 4:30 pm EST

Also, Consumer Connection, Office of Consumer Affairs of Industry Canada, is the only Government Web site to display the new symbols found in the new standard.

Consumer textile article

The term, "consumer textile article", means any textile fibre, yarn or fabric, or any product made in whole or in part from a textile fibre, yarn, or fabric that is in the form in which it is to be sold to any person for consumption or use. This term does not include textile fibre products which are to be used in the manufacturing, processing, or finishing of any product for sale.

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Dealer responsibility

A "dealer" means a person who is a manufacturer, processor, finisher, or retailer of a textile fibre product, or a person who is engaged in the business of importing or selling any textile fibre product.

It is the responsibility of the dealer to ensure that all information provided on labels and in advertisements is accurate. The Textile Labelling Act prohibits a dealer:

  • from selling, importing into Canada, or advertising consumer textile articles unless they are labelled with fibre content and dealer identification in accordance with the Act and Regulations;
  • from making, in an advertisement, any representation with respect to the fibre content of the article unless it is in accordance with the Regulations; and
  • by means of a label, advertisement or otherwise from making any false or misleading representations relating to textile fibre products.

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Flammability standards

Under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, there exists a basic, minimum flammability standard for all consumer textile articles, in particular children's soft toys, articles of bedding, carpets, rugs and mats, mattresses and tents. Children's sleepwear has strict standards depending upon the design of the sleepwear. Products which do not meet the established requirements cannot be sold, advertised or imported into Canada. All questions regarding the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act should be directed to the nearest Product Safety Office of Health Canada.

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Imported items

The Textile Labelling Act prohibits a dealer from importing incomplete or improperly labelled consumer textile articles into Canada. Provisions for relief from this prohibition has been provided in the Regulations. In accordance with the Regulations, a dealer may import incompletely or improperly labelled consumer textile articles and label them in Canada, provided an Industry Canada inspector has been notified at the time, or in advance of importation, of all pertinent details respecting the nature and quantity of the importation, the date and port of entry and the address of the premises where the relabelling of the articles will be completed. On completion of the re-labelling and prior to resale, the dealer must notify the inspector, to afford a reasonable opportunity to inspect the labelled goods.

Where a dealer imports textile fibre products into Canada, the Textile Labelling Act and the Regulations do not require that the name of the country of origin be identified unless a representation is made to the fact that the article, fabric or fibre therein is imported. When such a representation is made, it is then required that the country of origin of that article or part be stated. For example, a Canadian shirt manufacturer making men's shirts from imported fabrics need not state that the fabrics are imported unless it is desirable to do so. If it is stated that the shirts are indeed made from imported fabrics, then the country of origin of those fabrics must be stated. The declaration of the country of origin may be stated on a disclosure label or a separate label in either of the official languages.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency - Customs, Excise and Taxation requires country of origin marking on specific goods. Prospective importers should obtain further information by communicating with:

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency - Customs and Trade Administration Branch
Trade Policy & Interpretation Branch
Connaught Building
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0L5

Tel: 1-800-461-9999
Fax: 613-952-1698

or their local office of Canada Customs and Revenue Agency - Customs, Excise and Taxation.

Some textile articles must also be covered by an import permit issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Any questions regarding an application for an Import Permit, should be directed to:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Export and Import Controls Bureau
Textiles and Clothing Section
P.O. Box 481, Station A
Ottawa, ON  K1N 9K6

Tel: 613-996-3711
Fax: 613-995-5137

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A "label" is any label, mark, sign, device, imprint, stamp, brand, or ticket.

Labels containing information relating to fibre content fall into two classifications: representation labels and disclosure labels.

A representation label is a label containing any representation as to the textile fibre content of the article to which it is applied and may contain supplementary information not required by the Regulations.

A disclosure label is a representation label containing required information supplied according to the provisions of the Act and Regulations for a consumer textile article.

Both required and non-required information may be shown on the same label.

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Manufacturers are not required under the Textile Labelling Act and Regulations to manufacture garments that conform to specific size dimensions or use specific size codes. The determination of garment dimensions and designation of size codes or "sizes" are left to the discretion of the dealer. However, in accordance with the Textile Labelling Act, where a size dimension has been identified, it must be accurate.

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Textile Articles Exempt from the labelling requirements

The following list details examples of those consumer textile articles exempt from the labelling requirements of the Act and Regulations. Although these articles are exempt, if they are labelled, they must be labelled in a manner which is neither false or deceptive.

Consumer textile articles not prescribed by the regulations

  • Articles intended for a one-time use only.
  • Overshoes, boots, shoes, indoor slippers, footwear liners and insoles.
  • Handbags, luggage, carrying cases, brushes.
  • Toys, ornaments, pictures, lamp shades, tapestries, wall hangings, wall coverings, room dividers, screens, book covers, book marks, gift wrap, flags and pennants.
  • Sports and games equipment other than sports garments.
  • Lawn and beach furniture, including lawn and beach umbrellas and parasols, and hammocks.
  • Playpens, crib-pens, strollers, jumpers, walkers and car seats for infants or children.
  • Labels, adhesive tapes and sheets, cleaning cloths, wipers, therapeutic devices and heating pads.
  • Pet accessories.
  • Belts, suspenders, arm bands, garters, sanitary belts and bandages.
  • Curler head covers, hair nets and shower caps.
  • Carpet underpadding.
  • Musical instruments and accessories.
  • Straw or felt headwear, padding or helmets worn in sports.
  • Non-fibrous materials that do not have a fabric support, including films and foams.
  • Household twine, string, craft ribbon not intended to be used in the construction of prescribed consumer textile articles, baler twine, binder twine and gift wrap ribbon.
  • Items which are exported, or sold to or by a duty-free store.

Consumer textile articles which are made up for the following businesses, institutions, and agencies for their own use, or for use by or resale to their employees or students, are also exempt from labelling:

  • Commercial or industrial enterprises.
  • Federal, provincial, municipal departments or agencies.
  • Public utilities.
  • Educational institutions.
  • Health care facilities.

In addition, consumer textile articles sold by a manufacturer to its own employees, and consumer textile articles that are made up for religious orders or organizations for use by or resale to its members, are also exempt from labelling.

Finally, consumer textile articles that are clearly identified by means of a label, sign, mark, etc. as "second-hand" or "used" do not require labelling.

Although the above articles are exempt, if they are labelled, they must be labelled in a manner which is neither false nor deceptive.

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Textile fibre product

The term, "textile fibre product", means any consumer textile article and any textile fibre, yarn, or fabric used or to be used in a consumer textile article.

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Trade marks and descriptive terms

Where a textile fibre must be shown by its generic name, such as in a disclosure label, the Canadian registered trade mark for that fibre, yarn or fabric or a factual descriptive term, may be shown immediately preceding or following the generic name of the fibre(s). The trade mark or descriptive term must not be larger or more prominent than the type in which the generic name is shown. For example, a comforter with a "combed" cotton outer shell and a filling of "Dacron" polyester could be labelled as:

Outer Shell/Extérieur:
Combed Cotton/Coton peigné
Dacron Polyester/Polyester Dacron
exclusive of trimming/garniture non comprise

A Banlon yarn could be labelled as:

Banlon Nylon/Nylon Banlon

Fabric trade marks such as Viyella and Ultrasuede could be used as in the following examples:


It is important to note that the registration of a mark under the Trade Marks Act does not imply that its use will necessarily comply with the requirements of other federal statutes. The use of a registered trade mark or of a coined, trade or brand name may provide a false or erroneous impression as to the actual fibre content, origin, performance, etc. of the textile fibre product, and could therefore be considered as a false or misleading representation relating to a textile fibre product and in contravention of the Textile Labelling Act. Generally, labels must not use the name of another fibre of which it is an imitation or substitute, or which it resembles in a manner likely to deceive.

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Upholstered and stuffed articles

The fibre content of the filling or stuffing used in upholstered furniture, mattresses, box-springs, cushions, chair pads, pot holders, oven mitts, place mats and mattress protectors is not required to be disclosed under the Textile Labelling Act and its Regulations. However, in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, all fillings or stuffings are regulated. All manufacturers of upholstered or stuffed articles, whose goods are destined for sale in these provinces, should contact the respective offices dealing with the provincial requirements for upholstered and stuffed articles.

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