Planning a Garage Sale? Know Your Legal Responsibilities

Did you know that anyone holding a garage sale is legally responsible for ensuring that products being sold, whether new or used, meet regulatory safety standards?

The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) protects us from potentially dangerous consumer goods. The Act does not distinguish between new and used products. So anyone who sells, distributes, or even donates non-compliant consumer products is breaking the law.

Before selling a product, check with the manufacturer and Health Canada to see if it has been recalled. Don’t sell anything with a problem that cannot be corrected. Destroy it to prevent further use.

Products to Watch For

The following products are banned in Canada. It is illegal to sell them or give them away:

  • Baby walkers
  • Infant self-feeding devices
  • Jequirity beans (used to make jewelry, artwork and percussion instruments)
  • Lawn darts with elongated tips
  • Baby bottles containing BPA

The following products must meet requirements under the CCPSA or cosmetic regulations under the Food and Drugs Act:

  • Baby gates
  • Car seats
  • Children’s Jewelry
  • Children’s sleepwear
  • Corded window coverings
  • Cosmetics
  • Cribs, cradles, bassinets and playpens
  • Garden torches
  • Hockey helmets and face protectors
  • Strollers and carriages
  • Toys and toys with magnets

Potentially hazardous items to look out for:

  • Drawstrings on children’s clothing should be removed before selling.
  • Helmets (other than hockey helmets) should not be sold second-hand.
  • High chairs must be in good working order, particularly the straps and buckles.
  • Infant bath seats and bath rings should not be sold second-hand.

Health Canada also lists common second-hand products that must meet safety requirements under the Radiation Emitting Devices Act:

  • Microwave ovens should include instructions for use. Do not sell microwaves with any damage to the door or door hinges.
  • Personal Stereo Systems (MP3 players and iPods) should include instructions for safe use. Devices should have functioning volume control.

Visit Health Canada for more information.

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James Richards
James Richards is a born and raised Vancouverite who studied History, Political Science and Law at University of British Columbia. His over 20 years of legal practice and a busy and active family gives him his purpose, focus and some good writing material. When not in work–mode, he enjoys any excuse to be out and about our amazing city.