Under the Textile Labelling Act, the following must be labelled before they are sold in Canada to consumers:
- any textile fibre, yarn or fabric
- any product made in whole or in part from a textile fibre, yarn or fabric.
This is to enable consumers to choose items according to their fibre content and to protect them from false claims.
Definition of “fabric”
A fabric is any material that is woven, knitted, crocheted, knotted, braided, felted, bonded, laminated or otherwise produced from, or in combination with, a textile fibre.
Definition of “textile fibre” and “textile fibre product”
A textile fibre is any natural or manufactured matter that is capable of being made into a yarn or fabric. This includes kapok (fibre from the kapok tree), feathers and down, and animal hair or fur that has been removed from an animal skin.
A textile fibre product is any consumer textile item or any textile fibre, yarn or fabric used in such an item. Consumer textile items do not include textile fibre products that are used in the manufacturing, processing or finishing of any product for sale.
If you are the manufacturer, processor, finisher or retailer of a consumer textile fibre product, or a person who is engaged in the business of importing or selling a consumer textile fibre product in Canada, it is your responsibility to ensure that:
- each item carries a label that meets the requirements of the Textile Labelling Act and Textile Labelling and Advertising Regulations
- all claims about the product (such as its quality, performance, or origin) are accurate.
When labelling textiles, it is information to ensure that all information on the label is accurate and not misleading. It is also important for you to be familiar with the following:
1. Information that must appear on the label
The following information must appear on the label:
- Fibre content
- generic name of each fibre present in an amout of 5% or more of the total mass
- amount of fibre fibre (expressed as a percentage of total mass)
- sectional disclosure, when appropriate
- Plumage (down and feathers) content
- prescribed terminology for down, feathers and down blends
- amount of plumage (expressed as a percentage of total mass), when appropriate
- sectional disclosure, when appropriate
- Dealer name and place of business, or CA Identification number
2. Form and application of the label
A “label” is any label, mark, sign, device, imprint, stamp, brand or ticket. The information contained on the label must be factual, legible and accessible to the prospective consumer at the time of purchase.
Labels containing information about fibre content fall into two categories: representation labels and disclosure labels.
- A representation label is one that includes information about the textile fibre content of the item the label is applied to. This label may also contain other information not required by the Regulations.
- A disclosure label is a representation label that contains information required under the provisions of the Act and Regulations for a consumer textile article. A disclosure label must be applied so that it is legible and accessible to the prospective consumer at the time of purchase.
Both required and optional information may be shown on the same label.
Permanent versus non-permanent label
A permanent label must remain affixed and legible for at least 10 cleanings. Non-permanent labels include hang tags, wrappers, and stickers. The type of label required depends on the nature of the textile product:
- List of consumer textile articles requiring permanent labels
- List of consumer textile articles eligible for a non-permanent label
Note: There are exceptions and special requirements for certain types of products (for example, prepackaged, homemade and custom-made items, and carpets cut to a customer’s specifications).
Below are two examples of appropriate textile labels:
50 Victoria Street
Gatineau QC J8X 3X1
Outer Shell: 100% nylon
40% waterfowl feathers
Extérieur : 100 % nylon
60 % duvet
40 % plume d’oiseaux aquatiques
For important information about mandatory information, bilingual requirements, and other requirements as well as labelling examples see Detailed textile labelling requirements.
Exempted organizations and consumer textile products
Textile items that are made up for the following types of organizations for their own use or for use by (or resale to) their employees or students, are exempt from labelling. Some items, such as second-hand goods, or disposable items created for one-time use do not require textile labels. However, if these items are labelled, they must be labelled in a way that is neither false nor deceptive.
- commercial and industrial enterprises
- federal, provincial, and municipal departments and agencies
- public utilities
- educational institutions
- health care facilities
- manufacturers of textile items
- items made up for religious orders or organizations.
- Products intended for one-time use only
- Items clearly identified (for example, with a label, sign, mark) as second-hand or used.
- Items that are exported, or sold to or by a duty-free store
- Overshoes, boots, shoes, indoor slippers, footwear liners and insoles
- Handbags, luggage, carrying cases, brushes
- Toys, ornaments, pictures, lampshades, tapestries, wall hangings, wall coverings, room dividers, screens, book covers, bookmarks, gift wrap, flags and pennants
- Sports and games equipment other than sports garments
- Lawn and beach furniture, including lawn and beach umbrellas and hammocks
- Playpens, cribs, 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, armbands, garters, sanitary belts, and bandages.
- Curler head covers, hairnets, and shower caps
- Carpet underpadding
- Musical instruments and accessories
- Straw or felt headwear, padding or helmets worn in sports
- Non-fibrous materials, including films and foams, that do not have a fabric support
- Household twine, string, craft ribbon not intended to be used in the construction of prescribed consumer textile items, baler twine, binder twine, and gift wrap ribbon
Optional labelling components
Dealers have the option of including additional information. Even though this information is not required, if it is included, it must be accurate and conform to applicable standards.
Care labelling, in the form of either written words or symbols, is a voluntary program in Canada. If care information is included it cannot be false or misleading and must accurately reflect an appropriate method of care for the article (item). Written care instructions may be provided in English or French. (Note: the Government of Quebec has additional requirements concerning the use of the French language on items sold in that province).
Canadian Care Labelling Program
Standard CAN/CGSB-86.1-2003, Care Labelling of Textiles, is available for purchase from the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB).
The CGSB standard is harmonized with the symbols used in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. The Office of Consumer Affairs within Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada has published a guide to these symbols.
The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act outlines the minimum flammability standards for all consumer textile products, including children’s soft toys, bedding, carpets, rugs and mats, mattresses, and tents. Children’s sleepwear also has strict standards. Products that do not meet the necessary standards cannot be sold, advertised, or imported into Canada.
The Textile Labelling Act does not require manufacturered garments to conform to specific size dimensions or size codes (“sizes”). The decision to include garment dimensions and size codes (“sizes”) is left to the discretion of the dealer.
However, if a size dimension is provided (for example, “size 36 waist”), it must be accurate and must not include any information that is false or misleading.
Imported items (country of origin)
The Textile Labelling Act prohibits a dealer from importing incomplete or improperly labelled consumer textile products into Canada. However, a dealer may import such items and then label them in Canada as long as provided the dealer notifies a Competition Bureau inspector at the time the goods are being imported or before. The dealer must also provide all pertinent details, including: what is being imported, the quantity, the date and port of entry, and the address of the location in Canada where the relabelling will be completed. Before the items are sold, the dealer must give the inspector an opportunity to inspect the re-labelled goods.
Country of origin
The law does not require that the name of the country of origin be included on the label unless the dealer chooses to identify the item as being imported. For example, a Canadian manufacturer making men’s shirts from imported fabrics does not need to state that the fabrics are imported unless it chooses to. In that case, the country of origin must appear on the disclosure label or a separate label in either French or English.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has published a memorandum that explains the legislation, regulations, and general guidelines on how to mark the country of origin on goods imported from NAFTA or non-NAFTA countries. For further information, contact a regional CBSA Trade Operations Division office.
Some textile items require a permit issued by Global Affairs Canada before they can be imported.
Trademarks and descriptive terms
When the generic name of a textile fibre is included on a label, the Canadian registered trademark or a descriptive term for that fibre, yarn, or fabric may be shown immediately adjacent to the generic name. This term must not be larger or more prominent than the generic name. For example, a comforter with a combed cotton outer shell and a filling of Dacron polyester could be labelled as follows:
100% Combed Cotton/Coton peigné
100% Dacron Polyester/Polyester Dacron exclusive of trimming/garniture non comprise
A Banlon yarn could be labelled as:
100% Banlon Nylon/Nylon Banlon
Examples of how to indicate fabric trademarks, such as Viyella and Ultrasuede:
The fact that a mark has been registered under the Trade-marks Act does not mean it will necessarily comply with labelling requirements. For example, if the name (registered or not) provides a false or misleading impression regarding the fibre content, origin, performance, or other aspects, it could be seen as contravening the Textile Labelling Act.
Imitation and substitute fibres:
When an item is made of an imitation or substitute fibre, the label must not use the name of the “genuine” or “original” fibre in a way that is likely to mislead.
Filling or stuffing used in upholstered and stuffed items
Under the federal Textile Labelling Act and Regulations, it is not necessary to disclose the fibre content of filling or stuffing used in upholstered furniture, mattresses, box springs, cushions, chair pads, pot holders, oven mitts, placemats, or mattress protectors. However, fillings and stuffings of goods sold in the provinces of Quebec and Manitoba are regulated. Manufacturers of goods that will be sold in either of those provinces should contact the relevant office below.
Penalties for non-compliance
Being compliant with the Textile Labelling Act and Regulations means ensuring that prescribed consumer textile product bear a label stating the item’s fibre content and the identity of the dealer and place of business. In addition, the law expressly prohibits the sale, importation, or advertising of any consumer textile product that has been labelled with false or misleading information.
Any dealer who contravenes these provisions of the Act can be found guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of up to $5,000 on summary conviction, or up to $10,000 upon indictment.
Non-compliance with the Textile Labelling Act can also result in being non-compliant with the Competition Act. Under the Act it is against the law for anyone to make (or permit the making of) a public claim about a product that is false or misleading in a material way. The penalties for contravening the Competition Act are as follows:
The court may order the person not to engage in such conduct, to publish a corrective notice, to pay restitution to purchasers and/or pay a penalty.
For individuals, the penalty for first-time violations is up to the greater of:
- $750,000 ($1 million for each subsequent violation); and
- three times the value of the benefit derived from the deceptive conduct, if that amount can be reasonably determined.
For corporations, the penalty for a first-time violation is up to the greater of:
- $10 million ($15 million for each subsequent violation); and
- three times the value of the benefit derived from the deceptive conduct, or, if that amount cannot be reasonably determined, 3% of the corporation’s annual worldwide gross revenue
- Criminal penalties:
- Summary conviction offence: Anyone found guilty of a summary offence is liable to a fine of up to $200,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year.
- Indictable offence: Anyone convicted of an indictable offence may be subject to a fine decided at the discretion of the court and/or imprisonment of up to 14 years.
In most cases, non-compliance of textile labelling is solved through negotiation or collaboration with the parties.
How to ensure compliance with the law
You can protect your business by having an effective compliance program in place. This will help your company comply with the law and it could reduce the risks associated with non-compliance. Like an early-warning system, a compliance program can help you detect and correct unlawful conduct quickly before it damages your company, your reputation, and your bottom line.
- Guide to the Textile Labelling and Advertising Regulations
- Fabric sold at retail
- “Product of Canada” and “Made in Canada” claims
- CA Identification Number
- Textile Labelling Act
- Textile Labelling and Advertising Regulations
- Competition Act, section 52
- Competition Act, section 74