Retail Council of Canada calls for harmonizing standards with U.S.
TORONTO - The best way to provide consumers with the best selection of products is to work with the federal government towards harmonizing standards with the United States, says Retail Council of Canada (RCC).
Yesterdays announcement on behalf of the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities stated that updated child car safety regulations will come into force on January 1, 2012. However, the issue highlights the need for governments on both sides of the border to maintain the same standards across North America.
"Our members are committed to providing Canadian consumers with the safest products that meet all government standards," said Diane J. Brisebois, president and CEO of RCC, adding that consumers need to be assured that different standards do not mean different quality. "Our members feel that the standards should be the same across North America."
Brisebois also reassured consumers that all car seats sold in Canada provide the protection necessary to safely transport young children. She reassured consumers that parents should not be concerned about seats that have been purchased previous to the introduction of these standards. She noted that changes included in the new standard only impact car seats sold after January 1, 2012.
Brisebois noted that the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council is pursuing more common standards in the areas of agriculture and food, transportation, environment and health and consumer products. "The Prime Minister has stated his goal of creating better regulatory cooperation between Canada and the United States, and we heartily concur with this position."
Brisebois also added that in the current climate of differing regulations, consumers should be cautious about purchasing car seats in the U.S. "Although the car seats are safe, there is nonetheless a discrepancy between Canadian and American standards and in fact, American car seats are not approved for sale in Canada due to the different standards. Therefore, in the event of an accident, consumers may not have full insurance coverage."
"It is clear that harmonized regulatory standards would help consumers, the retail sector and the Canadian economy", said Brisebois.
"Different standards cause unwarranted concern for consumers and create unnecessary difficulties for retailers. We look forward to working with Transport Canada to find ways to better harmonize in the long term."