More than a year after Prime Minister Stephen Harper complained about Canada’s outdated consumer safety regulations, the federal Conservatives are taking another shot at toughening the laws.

The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act introduced yesterday would give Ottawa new power to enforce the recall of unsafe products and slap big fines on corporate offenders who produce them.


“This will modernize the legislation. It will also equip the government with new tools to act quickly and effectively,” Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said.

“As it is right now, we cannot recall any products. There’s no reporting of incidents. It’s very, very weak,” she said in an interview.

The legislation was first promised by Harper in December 2007. The proposed regulations were introduced into Parliament last April, but never became law because of the September election call.

Canadian consumers have seen a string of worrisome product recalls. One recall, prompted by a Torstar News Service investigation, involved millions of RCMP-themed toys because they contained dangerously high levels of lead and posed a choking hazard to children.

“It is about the lead in children’s toys, it’s about the cribs that are not safe. So I think there is huge interest in seeing this go through,” Aglukkaq said, explaining the need for new laws.