New regulations on safety-corded window coverings are now being enforced, more than a year after the new regulations came into effect.
Canada’s Corded Window Coverings Regulations were originally passed in 2019, with a May 2021 target date for implementation. The regulations were designed to eliminate strangulation risks to children due to dangling cords on many window blinds and shades. More than a year ago, Health Canada said it would focus on awareness rather than enforcement in the first year of the new requirements after industry lobbying to delay implementation. However, it said it would begin enforcing the new regulations as of May 1.
The new regulations limit the length and “pull force” of any cord on a window covering product. Any free-hanging cord or tethered cord cannot exceed 22 cm, and no cord (including inner cords) can produce a loop larger than 44 cm.
The regulations apply to all products made, imported or sold in Canada, whether sold in-store or online. In its release announcing the enforcement implementation, Health Canada asserted that it worked closely with the Canada Border Services Agency to prevent non-compliant products entering Canada.
As part of the compliance verification, “establishments that sell window coverings will be inspected and products will be sampled from various levels of trade both online and in store.” The samples would be evaluated at Health Canada facilities with non-compliant items subject to “enforcement actions based on the level of risk posed by the non-compliance(s)”, which could include recalls and prosecution.
The new regulations followed many years of policy development.
However, lobbying from the Retail Council of Canada and other industry participants pushed back on the implementation of the new safety regulations from 2021 until 2022. Retailers cited difficulties in understanding the testing requirements as well as supply chain issues related to COVID-19.
More information for consumers about window blind safety is available here. Health Canada also has a facility for reporting incidents, should consumers encounter questionable window coverings being sold.