Country of Origin Labelling
As a consumer you are certainly entitled to know the truth about where the products you are purchasing are built. This information helps you incorporate your knowledge regarding fair employment practices, warranty backing, and environmentally friendly practices into your buying decision.
To simplify it for you – product should be labeled clearly on the packaging and permanently on the product as to the country in which it was manufactured.
For product produced in a NAFTA member country (United States and Mexico) you can check out this link.
Here is what the Canadian government says about the issue
Guide to “Made in Canada” Claims
January 22, 2002
The objectives of this guide are to provide businesses and industry groups with information that will help them develop strategies to ensure compliance with the false and misleading representations provisions of the Competition Act (sections 52 and 74.01), the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (section 7), and the Textile Labelling Act (section 5), and to assist consumers in understanding what rules business should apply to “Made in Canada” claims.
What the Legislation Says
The Competition Act has two provisions of relevance to country of origin claims made by businesses.
Section 52(1) No person shall, for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, the supply or use of a product or for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, any business interest, by any means whatever, knowingly or recklessly make a representation to the public that is false or misleading in a material respect.
Section 74.01(1) A person engages in reviewable conduct who, for the purposes of promoting, directly or indirectly, the supply or use of a product or for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, any business interest, by any means whatever,
(a) makes a representation to the public that is false or misleading in a material respect.
The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act has one provision of relevance to country of origin claims made by businesses.
Section 7(1) No dealer shall apply to any prepackaged product or sell, import into Canada or advertise any prepackaged product that has applied to it a label containing any false or misleading representation that relates to or may reasonably be regarded as relating to that product.
The Textile Labelling Act has one provision of relevance to country of origin claims made by businesses.
Section 5(1) No dealer shall apply to a consumer textile article a label, or sell, import into Canada or advertise a consumer textile article that has applied to it a label containing any false or misleading representation that relates to or may reasonably be regarded as relating to the article.
What You Should Consider
(1) Each claim or representation in a promotional statement must be accurate. This includes not only what is actually said or written, but also what is implied.
(2) Each claim or representation must be evaluated in its entirety in order to establish whether the representation imparts the general impression that the article has been manufactured in whole or in part in Canada.
(3) Avoid using terms or pictorials that may cause the ordinary person to be uncertain about where the goods were actually made. Remember that no one actually needs to be misled for a court to find that an advertisement is misleading. If you think a representation could be unclear to the average consumer then a qualification should be added to remove that ambiguity. This is likely to result in reducing the risk of misleading consumers.
Goods that are wholly obtained or produced in Canada (for example: mineral goods extracted in Canada, goods harvested in Canada), will be considered as Canadian.
In its analysis of a declaration claiming Canada to be the country of origin of goods incorporating foreign raw materials or components, the Bureau applies the following rules:
(1) the last substantial transformation of the goods must have occurred in Canada, and
(2) at least 51% of the total direct costs of producing or manufacturing the goods is Canadian.
Cost of Production/Manufacture
(1) expenditures on materials incurred by the producer/manufacturer in the production or manufacture of the goods;
(2) expenditures on labour incurred by the producer/manufacturer, that relates to the production or manufacture of the goods and can reasonably be allocated to the production or manufacture of the goods; and
(3) general overhead does not enter in the calculation however expenditures on overheads incurred by the producer/manufacturer that relate directly to the production or manufacture of the goods and can reasonably be allocated to the production or manufacture of the goods may be eligible.
In identifying implied claims, the Bureau focuses on the overall general impression of an advertisement, label or other promotional material.
This requires an examination of both the representation and the overall context including the positioning of phrases and images.
Depending on the context, pictorial representations (eg. logos, pictures, or symbols such as the Canadian flag or maple leaf) may by themselves be just as forceful and effective as an explicit “Made in Canada” written representation. If a reasonable conclusion from the use of a pictorial representation is that the goods are made in Canada when that is in fact not the case, there is a risk of misleading consumers.
How to Contact the Competition Bureau
Any text that attempts to qualify pictorial representations must be sufficiently prominent to ensure that consumers notice them and understand their significance. The Bureau encourages the use of qualified claims where the extra information provided is accurate, relevant and useful and does not give a false or misleading impression.
A marketer may make a claim that a particular manufacturing or other process (eg. “designed”) was performed in Canada, or that a particular part was manufactured in Canada (eg. picture tube in television), provided that the claim is truthful and substantiated and that reasonable consumers would understand the claim to refer to a specific process or part and not to the general manufacture of the product.
More general terms, however, such as “produced”, or “manufactured” in Canada, are likely to be understood by consumers as synonymous with an unqualified “Made in Canada” claim.
Toll free: 1-800-348-5358
National Capital Region: 819-997-4282
TDD (for hearing impaired): 1-800-642-3844
50 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0C9
Here is what the US government says about this issue
According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Made in USA” means that “all or virtually all” the product was, indeed, made in America. The agency enforces the standard to ensure commercial compliance and confirm consumer confidence.
For a “Made in USA” claim to be accurate, all significant parts, processing and labor that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. Products should not contain any or only negligible foreign content.
According to FTC officials, there’s no law that requires manufacturers and marketers of most products to disclose U.S. content. In fact, except for automobiles and textile and wool products, it’s a manufacturer or advertiser’s choice to say whether a product is domestic. But those who choose to make the claim must adhere to the “all or virtually all” standard.
While the FTC enforces the “Made in USA” standard, it’s the U.S. Customs Service that oversees the requirements that imported goods be marked with a foreign country of origin (for example, “Made in Japan”).
If you believe that a product is being erroneously promoted as “Made in USA” because it wasn’t – or because it contains significant foreign parts or processing – call the FTC, toll-free, at 1-877-FTC-HELP or file a complaint online at www.ftc.gov. If you are aware of import or export fraud, call the U.S. Customs Service Commercial Fraud Hotline, 1-800-ITS-FAKE.
Be certain to ask the correct questions. If you don’t think this is a serious problem please check out these links: