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November 21, 2020
Under the Vaping Products Labelling and Packaging Regulations, all open-systems sold in Canada after January 1st, 2021 must be certified child-resistant. We break down the practical implications of the new legislation and what it means for specific groups.
There will be a serious reduction in the selection of rebuildable atomizers available for sale in Canada. The atomizers sold through Canadian retailers will be certified child resistant. As of this time (November 2020), no RDAs or tanks that use rebuildable coils have been manufactured to meet the new requirements.
It is important to note that the products themselves will not be illegal: the act of selling them within Canada will be. Anything that you own that is not child resistant is still perfectly fine for you to have. It is also still legal to purchase non-child-resistant atomizers from outside of Canada.
Parts may become more difficult to source, as outlets stock fewer replacement parts for products they no longer intend to carry. If your preferred devices rely on proprietary replacement parts, now is a good time to stock up.
Get used to asking questions: the new rule states that the products must be child-resistant- not easy to use, or leak-proof, or any good. Ask your retailer which product(s) they recommend and why. Be prepared to experiment a little if you don’t find the perfect device right away. Check out forums to read user reviews as the products become available.
The changes will not affect you. Canadian retailers are permitted under the law to sell the full range of vape products to customers outside of Canada.
As of January 1st, 2021 Canadian retailers must clear their shelves of the old rebuildable atomizers and stop selling them within Canada. They cannot be displayed in-store or sold to Canadian consumers. It is important to remove these items from your storefront lest they be seized by enforcement officers.
Health Canada has indicated that, because of issues owing to the pandemic, compliance monitoring and enforcement will ramp up later in the year (July 1, 2021) but the Department will enforce the requirements any time on or after January 1st, 2021 if warranted. It is important to note that this is not an extension or delay. The legislation comes into effect January 1st.
If your shop caters to an international community, you can continue to sell the full range of products to shoppers outside of Canada.
A list of CRC compliant tanks and pods is available through VITA and can be accessed here. (Sign up required, the list is sent to you along with updates as they occur.)
As can be seen from the list, there are not many products that are CRC compliant at this time. We can expect a lull in new product availability for a while and fewer products more generally in Canada. As the focus is more on child-resistant features than user experience and enjoyment, early entries to the market may be especially prone to complaint.
This may spur another rise on the DIY side of things due to a lack of options. That’s how the rebuildable space started and it makes sense that it would happen again, at the grassroots level. But this is strictly the Canadian marketplace. No matter the rules the Canadian government implements, the technology will advance outside of Canada and the products will make their way around the world, including into Canadian homes.
It’s going to be a patchwork to start, no doubt, as consumers and retailers adapt their shopping habits and their shops to the new rules. There will probably be shops selling non-compliant products into the new year but there will be drastically fewer, as there is a risk of seizures, financial penalties, and a backlash from others in the industry who want to see a strict adherence to the law.
On that note, we can expect that a grey market will grow out of the new restrictions. How large or widespread the illicit market grows will be largely dependent on how many retailers survive this next round- on top of the provincial restrictions that continue to roll out- and how easily Canadian consumers can still access their preferred products inside of Canada.
We may also see fewer conversions from smoking to vaping, as fewer options remain available.
We have no choice: we have to follow the rules or risk closure. This is really disappointing to us. We got into the vape scene and opened a shop based on our love of rebuildables and the community that grew up around them. But we’re up against a wall and without options.
Canadian customers can still purchase any of the atomizers that we sell until January 1st, 2021. We will still carry the full range of products that we do now but some of them will be unavailable within Canada in the new year. Atomizers that are not CRC compliant will only be available to customers outside of Canada.
We will evaluate CRC compliant products as they become available. Those of you who have shopped with us over the years know that quality is critical to us. We don’t carry junk. We won’t start carrying it simply because it is child-resistant.
We will still sell custom coils for use with rebuildable atomizers both inside and outside of Canada. And if you don’t want to buy them, we’ll help get you started on building your own. We fully intend to support our community in whatever capacity that we can. As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
*This article is not intended as legal advice.*
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