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The CPSC has announced an agreement (pdf) with the Canadian government aimed at further improving consumer safety and making both the United States and Canadian marketplaces among the safest in the world. This agreement is also part of the “Security and Prosperity Partnership” between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) calls for increased harmonization of existing and prospective safety standards, and exchanging more information on safety research and other findings. The agreement also calls for both agencies to share inspection and laboratory test results, where appropriate.

Another key provision that Health Canada has agreed to involves advance notification to CPSC when a product that violates a Canadian safety standard or poses a danger to Canadian consumers is intended for export to the United States.

Canadian officials will inform CPSC staff in a timely manner of a shipment’s contents and intended importer, so that steps can be taken to ensure the greatest protection of American consumers, which can include re-routing or denying entry of the non-compliant products.

CPSC has been notifying other countries for years of non-compliant and/or violative U.S. goods requested for export.

Since consumers in both countries shop in similar stores and use many of the same products, the will help both agencies identify dangerous products faster and save lives and prevent injuries in the U.S. and Canada. In recent years, the informal cooperation between the U.S. and Canada in the area of consumer protection has increased dramatically.

This agreement will strengthen that cooperation and serve to safeguard the people of both countries against potentially harmful consumer products.

The MOU builds upon existing information sharing that includes monthly conference calls between officials at CPSC and Health Canada. Now, CPSC will be able to provide more timely and in-depth information to Canadian media who contact CPSC about recalls and safety alerts that affect Canadian consumers.

The CPSC/Health Canada MOU also builds on the “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP),” announced earlier this year by President Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, and Mexican President Vicente Fox. The SPP is a trilateral effort to increase security and enhance prosperity among the three countries through greater cooperation and information-sharing.

CPSC is currently negotiating with its Mexican counterpart, PROFECO, to reach a similar Memorandum of Understanding agreement.

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