Even the most careful cannabis supplier can have a bad day. Perhaps a piece of equipment malfunctions or a batch is mislabeled. In these situations, what are the cannabis recall procedures in Canada for Licensed Producers and retailers?
Health Canada, which oversees cannabis recall procedures, uses a collaborative approach when it comes to product recalls. They allow license holders and retailers to institute voluntarily recall flawed goods, essentially reporting their own mistakes and working to remedy the problem with retail cannabis partners, without punishment or fines.
That being said, the voluntary system does not prevent Health Canada’s ability to take recall matters into their own hands. Health Canada can take their own recall measures if they find a problem with a cannabis product that could cause a public health issue or if the supplier is not willing to do it voluntarily.
Here is an overview of Canada recall rules and procedures for cannabis retailers and Licensed Producers, by province.
What is a Voluntary Cannabis Recall?
Health Canada defines a recall this way:
"In respect to cannabis or a cannabis product that has been sold, distributed or exported, includes any action taken by a license holder to correct or remove the cannabis or cannabis product from sale and distribution. The license holder must make all parties in the supply chain aware of the recall, from retailer to the public.”
Though provinces and local governments can make their own rules, these are the general steps that Health Canada requires for a voluntary recall:
- Inform Health Canada
- Cease the production, distribution, and sale of the cannabis or cannabis product
- Remove the cannabis or cannabis product from the supply chain
- Correct or destroy the cannabis or cannabis product, if applicable
- Contact affected supply chain customers to notify them to stop selling or distributing the product
- Contact clients to advise against the use of the product, if applicable
- Provide instructions to supply chain customers and clients on how to properly dispose of the remaining product in their possession
- Assess the effectiveness of the recall
- Take corrective measures to prevent the problem underlying the recall from recurring
How to Recall Cannabis in Canada: Provincial Breakdown
Here are the ways four major Canadian provinces deal with a cannabis recall:
Cannabis Recall Procedures in Manitoba
Manitoba recall procedures require producers to include instructions for consumers. In those instructions, they must specify where the product can be returned (at the store it was bought or any store carrying the product). In Manitoba, the retailer who accepts the returned product must refund the customer’s money. Repayment is determined based on the cannabis retailer and the licensed producer’s agreement.
Cannabis Recall Procedures in Saskatchewan
In Saskatchewan, they generally abide by Health Canada’s rules. The only real difference is that Saskatchewan’s government requires the retailer who sold the recalled product to accept it back for a full refund.
Cannabis Recall Procedures in Ontario
Ontario’s cannabis recall rules advise that customers must contact the store where they bought the product to find out what the process is for return. These terms for return will be decided upon between the retailer and the supplier.
Cannabis Recall Procedures in British Columbia
Very similar to Ontario, BC’s Liquor Distribution Branch requires that, in the case of a cannabis product recall, customers must contact the store where they purchased the product from. The retailer will advise on where the customer can return the product and get a full refund. Those terms will be sorted out between the retailer and the supplier.