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. Not all textiles need labeling but generally if it’s a textile product that will be touching your skin for an extended period of time, it usually needs a label. Think of clothes, hats, mittens, blankets, etc.
There is a lot of information to go over when it comes to packaging and labeling your handmade products. It can be a little overwhelming so we’ve done our best to put it into simple terms and an easy to follow guide. Additional rules apply when it comes to cosmetics such as lotions, scrubs, etc, pre-packaged items, food items and precious metals so be sure to read up on those if you’re selling products that fall under those categories.
Now for our disclaimer:
This is a guideline for labeling textiles in Canada and is in no way legal advice. You are 100% responsible for ensuring you understand your government’s laws and are applying them properly. If you’re unsure about anything, please follow the resource links at the end of each article for more information on the subjects or get in contact with the proper organizations. We put several calls in to be sure we understood these rules properly and always spoke to really helpful people.
CONSUMER TEXTILE ARTICLES
This article 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:
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:
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.
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
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 other methods as well.
If your product is listed under Schedule III of the Textile Labelling and Advertising Regulations (sleepwear, mittens, aprons, dish cloths, 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, pillow cases, 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, wash cloths, 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. 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
Our members are selling items they’ve made and selling them locally so importing is not applicable, 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 and Stuffed Articles
The fibre content of the filling or stuffing used in upholstered furniture, mattresses, box-springs, cushions, chair pads, pot holders, oven mitts, place mats 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.
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You may also be interested in these reads:
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Should I Start a Handmade Business?
Registering Your Business
Should I Trademark my Company’s Name or Logo?
How To Photograph your Handmade Goods
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