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Recall and crisis management

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Meet the team

Our lawyers in Canada have broad experience in both recall and near-recall situations. We advise domestic and international clients across a wide range of industries on products such as medical devices, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, biologics, natural health products, electrical equipment, toys, jewellery, foods, cosmetics, Canadian Standards Association (CSA) approved products and other consumer products.

Clients seek our expertise in recall and crisis management for numerous reasons:

  • Pre-emptive measures – Our goal is to help clients prevent a recall by developing strategies to avert product recalls. Our lawyers also assist clients in developing crisis management and communications plans.
  • Reputational risk management – When a recall situation arises, we understand how to manage and contain product recall incidents and minimize loss of sales. We understand how best to minimize damage to our client’s reputation and communicate the right messages to stakeholders and consumers.
  • Regulatory and legislative compliance – We liaise with relevant regulatory authorities including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Office of Food Safety and Recall and Health Canada. Our lawyers help our clients comply with the Food and Drugs Act, Food and Drug Regulations, Canada Agricultural Products Act, and associated regulations (particularly the Processed Products Regulations and the Organic Products Regulations), Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, Feeds Act, Meat Inspection Act, Fish Inspection Act, Fertilizers Act, Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act and regulations, the former Hazardous Products Act regime, the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, the Safe Food for Canadians Act and federal and provincial environmental legislation.
  • Litigation experience – Our litigation experience means we can help our clients minimize product liability (individual and class action) risk, for both the manufacturer and all others involved in the distribution chain. We are adept at managing issues arising from product tampering. If litigation ensues, our clients have access to the significant breadth and depth of expertise of our Litigation Group.

Select client work

Recalls and crisis management

We advise a wide range of clients on various matters including:

  • Managing food and feed product recalls from initial event identification to the final resolution of the crisis.
  • Food importation requirements under federal legislation.
  • Obtaining necessary scientific and risk analysis for the crisis event.
  • Notifying regulators on importer, distributor, retailer and consumer communications.
  • Challenging regulatory demands for recall or corrective action.
  • Determining appropriate voluntary corrective action and liaising with regulators.
  • Recalls of food and consumer products.
  • Preparing for national and international facility inspections.
  • Preparedness planning and training and on post-crisis “lessons learned” analysis.
  • Managing infractions under federal legislation.

Regulatory compliance and litigation

  • Playtex Limited in its successful defence of a motion to authorize a class action suit in Quebec over alleged damages resulting from the use of baby bottles containing bisphenol A.
  • Pet food company in a proposed Ontario class action involving the recall of pet food.
  • A major Canadian retailer in litigation concerning its ability to sell alcoholic beverages at its stores.
  • A Canadian grocer on the labelling and packaging of imported bottled products.
  • A major Canadian retailer on Québec's new environmental fees regulations including price advertising and obligations under recuperation programs.
  • A major Canadian retailer on compliance with laws and regulations regarding deposits on cans and bottles.
  • Several major Canadian manufacturers and retailers on French language issues regarding labelling, packaging and advertising.