Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer by profession and nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice. Although I strive to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice or free from errors, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in the area for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any professional, business, legal, and financial or tax-related decisions. This information is also not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. If you require legal or other expert advice, you should seek the services of a competent attorney or other professional. I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.
When it comes to textiles, you need to follow the legal requirements for consumer textile articles which are; any textile fibre, yarn or fabric or any product made in part or whole from a textile fibre, yarn, or fabric used for a product being sold for use.
There are other laws your business must follow if you’re selling handmade products. Check out:
- 3 BIGGEST LEGAL MISTAKES CRAFTERS MAKE
- LAWS FOR SELLING HANDMADE
- LAWS FOR PACKAGING HANDMADE ITEMS
- LAWS FOR SELLING HANDMADE SOAP & COSMETICS
This article was originally written for Canadians selling handmade clothing and accessories. The US has very similar laws to follow which you can find here.
Keep in mind, if you ship your products from the US into Canada, you must know and follow the Canadian textile labelling act.
CONSUMER TEXTILE ARTICLES
This information is based on Canada’s Competition Bureau’s Textile Labelling Act and the Textile Labelling and Advertising Regulations. Their purpose is to ensure consumers aren’t being given false information about the content of the textiles they’re buying and to help them make buying decisions based on fibre content. Whether labeling is required by law or not, if you’re attaching one, it must be correct and in no way false or misleading.
There are several products that are made of fabrics that do not require the labels outlined in this article. Below are examples of the articles that are exempt from the labeling requirements, taken directly from the Competition Bureau’s website.
Please visit their website for the most up to date and thorough list or contact them with any questions. You do not need a label for:
- Articles intended for one-time use
- Overshoes, boots, shoes, indoor slippers, footwear liners and insoles
- Handbags, luggage, carrying cases, brushes
- Toys, ornaments, pictures, lampshades, tapestries, wall hangings, wall coverings, room dividers, screens, book covers, book markets, gift wrap, flags, pennants
- Sports and games equipment other than sports garments
- Lawn and beach furniture, including lawn and beach umbrellas and parasols, and hammocks
- Playpens, crib-pens, strollers, jumpers, walkers and car seats for infants or children
- Labels, adhesive tapes and sheets, cleaning cloths, wipers, therapeutic devices and heating pads.
- Pet accessories.
- Belts, suspenders, arm bands, garters, sanitary belts and bandages.
- Curler head covers, hairnets and shower caps.
- Carpet underpadding.
- Musical instruments and accessories.
- Straw or felt headwear, padding or helmets worn in sports.
- Non-fibrous materials that do not have a fabric support, including films and foams.
- Household twine, string, craft ribbon not intended to be used in the construction of prescribed consumer textile articles, baler twine, binder twine and gift wrap ribbon.
- Items which are exported, or sold to or by a duty-free store.
Consumer textile articles which are made up for the following businesses, institutions, and agencies for their own use, or for use by or resale to their employees or students, are also exempt from labelling:
- Commercial or industrial enterprises.
- Federal, provincial, municipal departments or agencies.
- Public utilities.
- Educational institutions.
- Health care facilities.
In addition, consumer textile articles sold by a manufacturer to its own employees, and consumer textile articles that are made up for religious orders or organizations for use by or resale to its members, are also exempt from labelling.
Finally, consumer textile articles that are clearly identified by means of a label, sign, mark, etc. as “second-hand” or “used” do not require labelling.
Although the above articles are exempt, if they are labelled, they must be labelled in a manner which is neither false nor deceptive.
1) Fibre Content
2) Dealer Identity
3) Form of Label
4) Application of Label
5) Addition Information
1) FIBRE CONTENT
Fibre content must be shown by its proper name and mass amount on the labels. For more details on any area covered here, you can read over the fibre content section of the Competition Bureau’s guide.
- If your product contains a fibre in an amount of 5% or more by mass, it must be included on the label using its full generic name (i.e cotton, polyester, etc.) and the amount it is present in (i.e 40% wool & 60% cotton).
- If a fibre is present in an amount less than 5%, you must still mark it on the label but it may be identified as “other fibre”. There are exceptions if you’re using elastic yarns, reinforcement yarns and ornamentation
on your articles so have a read over those. Findings such as buttons, zippers, fasteners, wrist bands, concealed pockets, shoulder pads, elastic used in waistband casing, etc. do NOT have to be declared. But if you do decide to include them on your label, it must appear separately and after all other fibre content of the article and made clear that you are showing the fibre content of the “findings”.
- If you are unsure of the fibre content, in part or in whole, you may state on the label as: “unknown fibres”, “undetermined fibres”, “miscellaneous fibres” or “mixed fibres”. For example your label may read: 100% unknown fibres/fibres inconnues OR 60% rayon/rayonne 40% unknown fibres/fibres inconnues.
- If you’re using USED fabrics you must use the word: “reclaimed”, “reprocessed” or “reused” before the generic fibre name. (i.e. 100% reclaimed wool).
- If your article uses different materials on different sections (i.e. a shirt that has a different fabric on the sleeves) then you must include the fibre content of both sections on the label, separately (i.e. Body: 100% cotton Sleeves: 100% polyester). This applies to any paddings, fillings, linings and interlinings, as well as for carpets, fabric supported foams and pile, coated or impregnated fabrics.
- If you have any trimming on your products (i.e. lace, ribbon, piping, collars, cuffs, etc.) that is a different fibre content than the article, you must include the fibre content of the trimming if it makes up more than 15% of the garment. If the trimming makes up 15% or less, you do not have to include the fibre content of it on the label, as long as it is clear that the fibre content is disclosed as “exclusive of trimming”.
- Where an article is made up, in whole or in part, of the hair removed from the skin of an animal other than that of a sheep, lamb, angora or cashmere goat, alpaca, vicuna, camel or llama, the hair or fur must be disclosed as “(name of the animal) hair”, “(name of the animal) fibre” or “fur fibre”.
- Generally the fibres should be shown in order of predominance; highest content shown first and lowest, last (i.e. 60% cotton 30% polyester 10% unknown). See an example under 3) Form of Label below where the fibres don’t need to be shown in order of predominance.
- When more than one fibre is present in an article, it must be labeled as a percentage of the total mass. The total mass does not include findings, trimmings, ornamentation, elastic yarns, or reinforcement yarns which were not disclosed as an integral part of the article.
- The percentage must appear immediately before or after the generic name of the fibre (i.e. 50% cotton OR cotton 50%)
- If an article is made up of one fibre only (i.e. 100% cotton), the words “all” or “pure” may be used in place of the percentage (i.e. all cotton OR pure cotton). Where ornamentation and elastic or reinforcement yarns are present in the textile article in amounts of less than 5 percent, and where the fibre content is shown separately from the ornamentation, elastic or reinforcement, then the article may still be declared with the words, “all”, “pure” or the designation “100%”.
- If your article is made up of multiple fibres and you know the generic names (i.e. cotton, silk, polyester) but you don’t know the amounts, you can use the words “miscellaneous fibres”, “miscellaneous yarns”, “miscellaneous fabrics”, or “mixed fibres”, “mixed yarns”, “mixed fabrics”, followed by the generic names. For example: 100% mixed fibres, cotton, polyester. (See #3 here for another example)
All fibre content information on the label must be bilingual, except in areas where only one official language is used in consumer transactions. You may show it on two separate labels, one English and one French. If your labels must be a permanent label (read #4 for guidelines on that) your English and French labels must be adjoining or contiguous.
The province of Quebec has additional requirements concerning the use of the French language on all products marketed within its jurisdiction. You can find more information on that here: http://www.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/accueil.aspx
2) DEALER IDENTITY
Your business name and full postal address of the place you conduct business must be displayed on the label. If you don’t wish to have that information visible on the label, you can use a CA identification number in Canada.
It’s simple to apply for a CA identification number and is helpful especially if you work out of your home and don’t want your address printed on your labels. They currently cost $100. For more info and to apply for one, follow this link: http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/h_02575.html
You only need to display your Dealer Identification in one of the official languages.
3) FORM OF LABEL
Labels may have a variety of forms
- Woven or printed that are sewn on
- Printed labels attached as a sticker or hang tag
- Printed on a wrapper, package or container
- Imprinting the information directly on the article
The form of your label must be legible, factual and the customer must be able to see it before purchasing. If you are packaging your article in a wrapper, package or container and the label is not visible, you must display the label information again on the wrapper, package or container so that the consumer can see it before purchasing. See Pre-packaged Items under 5) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION below.
If the label needs to be permanent (see #4), fibres should be listed in order of amount (i.e. 60% cotton 30% polyester 10% silk). The Competition Bureau also has some recommendations for those selling home-crafted articles that require a permanent label and are being sold in small amounts. India ink can be used to write information on a blank label, which lasted more than 10 washes, but they recommend a couple of other methods as well.
If your product is listed under Schedule III of the Textile Labelling and Advertising Regulations (sleepwear, mittens, aprons, dishcloths, dish towels, etc.), the non-permanent label may use a pre-printed, alphabetical list of generic names with a blank space next to each so you can fill in the percentage. Below is an example:
CUSTOM MADE ARTICLES
If you are custom making an article such as a tailored suit or rug cut to the consumer’s specifications, the label information may be presented either on a label or on an invoice or other document accompanying the article. If an invoice or document is used, the consumer must have the opportunity to examine a properly labeled sample of swatch prior to making a commitment to purchase (Source).
*Don’t take this too literally; although each of your handmade pieces are one of a kind, it does not mean that they are custom-tailored to the customer
4) APPLICATION OF LABEL
Permanent labels are labels that stay attached to the article and will withstand and remain legible throughout at least 10 washings. Items such as shirts, pants, dresses, pillowcases, blankets, etc. require permanent labels. For a full list of articles requiring a permanent label follow this link.
Non-permanent labels may be a tag, sticker or wrapper, which do not have to remain attached to the article and legible through washings. Items such as sleepwear, scarves, mittens, headwear, aprons, bibs, ties, washcloths, etc. are eligible for non-permanent labels. For a full list, follow
5) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
You may also want to include non-required information on:
If you are going to include this information, be sure to have a read over the sections as it must be accurate. Sizing must follow the standards set by the Canadian General Standards Board.
If your textile article is sold in a wrapper, package or container and the consumer can see and read the textile label, no additional labeling is required. However, if it is packaged in a manner that the textile label is not visible, the information from your textile label (fibre content & dealer identity) must be repeated on the outer packaging.
If the article being packaged qualifies for a non-permanent label, the package serves as the disclosure label for the textile article and you do not need to label the textile article itself. The same goes for a package where a textile article is enclosed but the main product is not a textile (i.e. you’re selling a package of bath salts that has a cloth scrubbie in it). More info
You’re likely making your handmade products locally, however, there is also legislation around Imported Items.
There are also flammability standards your products must meet in order to be sold in Canada. These apply to items such as children’s stuffed toys, children’s sleepwear, carpets/rugs/mats, bedding, etc. You must follow the Hazardous Products Act. If you have questions regarding the act, you can contact the nearest Product Safety Office of Health Canada.
UPHOLSTERED & STUFFED ARTICLES
The fibre content of the filling or stuffing used in upholstered furniture, mattresses, box-springs, cushions, chair pads, pot holders, oven mitts, placemats and mattress protectors is not required to be disclosed under the Textile Labelling Act and its Regulations. However, in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, all fillings or stuffings are regulated.
All manufacturers of upholstered or stuffed articles, whose goods are destined for sale in these provinces, should contact the respective offices dealing with the provincial requirements for upholstered and stuffed articles.
- Guide to the Textile Labelling and Advertising Regulations – this is a helpful guideline to what you need to follow
- Textile Labelling Act – this is the real deal document with every piece of info on the act
- Textile Labelling and Advertising Regulations – this is the real deal document with every piece of info on the act
- Labelling Assessment Tools – Textile Labelling – this is a guide that includes examples
- Textile Labelling: Fibre Content Worksheet – a worksheet full of links to more info on labeling textiles properly
There are other laws your business must follow if you’re selling handmade products. Check out: