Frequently Asked Questions
How do recalled products become certified to begin with?
Initial certification is based on a sampling of products sent to CSA Group for testing. The product is then tested to the applicable Canadian, U.S. or international standards. If it meets the requirements of the standard or another recognized document used as a basis for certification, it is awarded a CSA certification mark.
Occasionally certified products may experience manufacturing defects in a particular batch that are not detected by a manufacturer's quality control process. Other times products may have parts substituted by the manufacturer that were not part of the original design certified by CSA Group.
In rare instances, products may be used in a manner for which they were not originally intended. In this case, we may recommend changes to the standard to which they were originally certified for enhanced public safety.
We also issue Alerts for counterfeit products bearing false CSA certification marks.
Do you update the media or the public on investigations of faulty or suspect products?
No. CSA Group's Global Mark Integrity Team works closely with regulators and authorities in relation to product recalls. Releasing this information may compromise ongoing investigations or undermine their ability to conduct these types of investigations in the future.
Whom do I contact if I have a recalled product?
Each recall notice will contain detailed information on measures consumers should take in the event of a product recall. In most cases, consumers are advised to contact the manufacturer, retailer or distributor. CSA Group does not perform repairs, exchanges or offer reimbursements.
What is a recall/safety alert?
CSA Group is active in publicizing recalls and safety alerts for potentially unsafe faulty products that bear CSA certification marks. Safety Alerts and Product Recalls are voluntary notices issued to regulators, fire officials, safety authorities, the media, retailers, distributors and the general public to alert them to a potentially hazardous or faulty product. A recall notice will contain information on the potential fault or hazard, the manufacturer, distributor or retailer, and measures consumers should take for corrective action.
Are recalls mandatory?
CSA Group is active in publicizing recalls for potentially unsafe or faulty products, but as a not-for profit, non-government organization, we have no authority to make a recall mandatory. In most cases, we work with manufacturers to announce a voluntary recall notice and in cooperation with regulatory authorities and government officials, help remove the potentially hazardous products from the marketplace. In rare cases where a manufacturer does not cooperate and the product bears a CSA certification mark, we will issue an all points bulletin to regulatory authorities and the media to alert the public to potentially hazardous products.
What is the criteria for CSA Group to publicize a recall?
In order for a product to be considered for a recall, it must be a potentially unsafe or faulty product that bears a CSA certification mark. The potential fault must apply to a batch or line of products and not only a single unit. The product must have been used in the manner for which it was intended and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Is there a counterfeit problem with CSA certification marks?
CSA Group is no more immune to counterfeiting than any other organization around the world. We have initiated an aggressive program to help detect, expose and pursue any unauthorized use of its registered trademarks, including all CSA certification marks. We also have a zero tolerance policy on counterfeiting.
Why is CSA Group so concerned about its certification mark being counterfeited on other companies' products?
The CSA certification mark lets consumers know that a product has been tested and certified to meet the requirements of the applicable standard or standards. These proprietary, trademarks, which appear on billions of products worldwide, are among the most valuable brand assets of CSA Group and other certification & testing laboratories. Counterfeit marks pose a real threat to the acceptance of these legitimate marks and public safety
What else is CSA Group doing to combat counterfeit products that bear counterfeit CSA Group certification marks?
CSA Group has been active in battling counterfeiting for several years with initiatives including training programs to help assist retailers with understanding product approval marks and detecting counterfeit marks, a white paper on counterfeiting, enhanced marketplace surveillance of various commercial outlets and continuing investigations. We are actively working to expose and pursue any unauthorized use of our certification marks. We have formed alliances with law firms and investigators around the world to help combat the trade in counterfeit products.
Typical investigations call for identification of all parties and products involved, disposal and destruction of the illegally marked products and prosecution to the full extent of the law.
We have a zero tolerance policy toward any unauthorized use of CSA Group trademarks, including all certification marks.
I believe I have discovered a hazardous/counterfeit product. What should I do?
To report a suspected hazardous or counterfeit product bearing false CSA certification marks, or for more information about identifying counterfeit products, consumers can visit the Anti-Counterfeiting section of our website or call us at 416-747-4278.
We are a media outlet and would like to film CSA Group’s Global Mark Integrity Team conducting a raid or covert surveillance. Is this possible?
No. CSA Group does not allow the filming of covert investigations because the information may compromise ongoing investigations or undermine the ability to conduct these types of investigations in the future.
Does CSA Group have a copy of its marketplace surveillance reports available to the public?
No. CSA Group does not publicly release market survey information. We cannot release marketplace surveillance reports listing retail outlets subject to covert investigations because the information may compromise ongoing investigations or undermine their ability to conduct these types of investigations in the future.
How long does it take CSA Group to distribute a recall?
Once alerted to a potentially hazardous or faulty product, we work as quickly as possible with the appropriate authorities to implement a recall.
On occasion, the Global Mark Integrity Team may need to conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the cause of the potential fault or hazard, the batch or model numbers of the affected products, the number of products affected, the area in which the products were sold, who sold the products and under what brand names, where the products were manufactured and any reported incidents associated with the product.
What role does CSA Group play in preventing anti-counterfeiting?
CSA Group is taking an active role in combating counterfeiting. Counterfeiting is a safety problem as well as an economic problem. If unchecked, counterfeit approval marks can enable unsafe or deficient products to gain widespread access to the marketplace — a direct risk to consumers.
We work closely with regulators, government, law enforcement and stakeholders to help identify and stop the proliferation of counterfeit products bearing false CSA certification marks.
What is the responsibility of your corporate Global Mark Integrity Team (GMIT)?
Working within CSA Group's Legal Department, GMIT investigates incidents involving CSA Group certified products and issues Safety Alerts and Product Recalls in co-operation with manufacturers, law enforcement and regulatory authorities to help ensure that our mark is not compromised. GMIT strives to protect the integrity of CSA Group registered trademarks and other intellectual property rights from improper or fraudulent use.
What type of retail surveillance does CSA Group conduct?
CSA Group conducts two distinct types of market surveillance, overt and covert.
Overt surveillance is used when investigators from the Global Mark Integrity Team visit a retail outlet to help ensure that the products being sold on the shelves conform to the same applicable standards as the sample items originally tested by CSA Group. In this case, investigators visit a retail outlet and inform store personnel that they will be inspecting store items and ask for consent and cooperation. Most retail outlets in North America are subject to overt investigations and cooperate willingly.
Covert surveillance is used when investigators suspect a retail outlet may be knowingly selling substandard CSA Group certified products or counterfeit goods. In this case, investigators will visit the location, conduct undercover surveillance and will purchase a suspect item and return it to CSA Group laboratories for testing.
Testing & Certification
What is certification?
A product goes through a certification process to verify that it has met the requirements that are outlined in standard(s) or other recognized document(s). Standards help to ensure that products and services meet minimum requirements for safety, performance and energy efficiency.
The certification of a product is an ongoing process that involves follow up factory inspections and retail surveillance to continually ensure that the product meets the standard(s).
Does CSA Group approve products for sale?
CSA Group is a not-for-profit, non-government organization that tests & certifies products to applicable standards but it does not approve products for sale. The appropriate federal, provincial or state regulatory agencies are responsible for regulating the sale of approved products in their respective jurisdictions. These regulatory authorities do however look for a product’s certification mark to help them base their decisions for the approval for sale.
In what areas of certification is CSA Group involved?
CSA Group certifies products in the following categories:
- Alternative Energy: Solar Photovoltaic, Solar Thermal, Wind Turbine Components, Hydrogen Generators
- Appliances & HVACR: Commercial and residential, gas-fired, propane and electric appliances
- Automotive Components: Natural Gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas, and Hydrogen Gas Systems, Electric Vehicles, Recreational Vehicles
- Construction Products and Materials: Building Materials and Masonry, Offshore Structures, Concrete, Welding, Windows & Doors, Industrialized Building Construction, Structures (Design)
- Hearth and Outdoor Cooking Appliances: Grills, Fireplaces, Outdoor Stoves, Patio Heaters
- Industrial Control: Circuit Breakers & Interrupters, Process Control Equipment, Motors & Generators, Power Supplies, Signal & Sensing Controls, Elevators & Escalators, Switchboard, Switchgear, Panel Boards
- Information Technology, Audio Video and Communications Equipment
- Lighting Products
- Medical and Safety: Electro-medical Equipment, Laboratory Equipment, Test & Measurement Equipment, Person Protective Equipment, Sports Equipment
- Plumbing Products
- Tools: Power Tools, Outdoor Power Equipment, Outdoor Appliances
- Wiring Devices and Wire & Cable
What does the CSA mark mean?
The CSA mark indicates that a product has been tested against and has met the requirements for safety, performance and/or energy efficiency for the U.S. and/or Canada. These requirements are based on nationally recognized Canadian and/or U.S. standards as well as any other recognized documents that are used as a basis for certification.
Only when a product has been certified to an applicable standard is it entitled to bear the appropriate CSA mark. CSA marks may appear on product packaging or be located on the product itself, depending on the individual requirements of each applicable standard.
For consumers, the mark can help provide increased assurance of quality and safety. For manufacturers, the international recognition of the CSA mark can help you enter into foreign markets.
Is the CSA mark recognized in the U.S.?
Yes. CSA Group is recognized in the U.S. by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). We are also accredited and recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S Department of Energy (EPA).
OSHA recognized laboratories conduct their tests against the same sets of U.S. standards and codes, regardless of who authors or publishes them. We test products to U.S. standards, including ANSI, UL, CSA, NSF, and many others.
Regulatory authorities in many occupational health and safety, electrical, gas, building, plumbing, and other fields in the U.S. and Canada, accept CSA marks. Products with CSA marks are also accepted by many major retailers, manufacturers, distributors, specifiers and regulators throughout the U.S. and in export markets around the world.
Who accredits CSA Group?
CSA Group is a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) in the U.S. and an Accredited Certification Organization (ACO) by Standards Council of Canada (SCC) in Canada. We are qualified to test to CSA Group (CSA), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), American Society of Sanitary Engineers (ASSE), National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and other standards writing bodies.
Does CSA Group make a profit certifying a product to an applicable standard?
CSA Group is a not-for-profit organization. There is a charge for certification, and that revenue is used to support the work we do to enhance public safety and health, advance the quality of life, help preserve the environment and facilitate trade.
Does CSA Group certify children's items?
CSA Group is a provider of product testing and certification services for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, gas and a variety of other products but it does not test and certify all products for sale in the U.S. and Canada. Some products such as children's toys, clothing, car seats, cribs or other items are tested, inspected or certified by other accredited organizations or government bodies. Toys that plug in to an electrical outlet may be certified by CSA Group or another accredited organization.
I am trying to confirm if a product is certified. How do I know?
Consumers and manufacturers can verify that a product bearing the CSA mark has been certified by comparing the product’s identification against the authentic certification record in our Certified Product Listing (CPL). You can search for products by product type, industry, manufacturer name or location as well as by certification record information.
Who governs CSA Group?
CSA Group is a member-based organization, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The majority of directors are elected by the voting membership. The elected board members appoint the remaining directors.
What is the role the CSA Group plays today?
As a solutions-oriented organization, CSA Group works in Canada and around the world to develop standards that address real needs, such as enhancing public safety and health, advancing the quality of life, helping to preserve the environment and facilitating trade.
CSA Group standards development activities are comprised of more than 1,300 Standards committees that develop standards in 50 different program areas as diverse as electronics, telecommunications, occupational health and safety, healthcare, energy efficiency, business and environmental systems, gas equipment and construction products and materials.
Accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, CSA Group has developed more than 3,000 standards, codes and related products for the safety, design or performance of a wide range of products and services.
What is CSA Group?
CSA refers to the Canadian Standards Association brand that was in use until it was replaced by CSA Group, which is an independent, not-for-profit membership association serving industry, government, consumers and other interested parties in Canada and the global marketplace.
As a leading solutions based standards organization, providing standards and codes development, application products, training and selected advisory services. CSA Group aims to enhance public safety, improve quality of life, preserve the environment and facilitate trade.
When was CSA Group founded?
CSA Group was established in 1919 as the Canadian Engineering Standards Association (CESA). It was the first organization in Canada formed exclusively to develop industrial and commercial standards. To better reflect the breadth of CESA's activity, it officially became the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) in 1944 and CSA Group in 2012.
Is CSA Group part of the government?
No, CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit organization.
Why does it take so long to develop some standards?
The development of a standard is a complex process involving consultation with a variety of stakeholders, extensive research into best practices around the world, and meetings with committees made up of industry experts, professionals and other interested parties. CSA Group committee members are volunteers, committing a great deal of time to the development of a standard, often while still heavily-involved with the day-to-day operations of their own companies or employers. In addition, once a standard has been drafted and approved by the committee, it is made available to the public for consultation and review and amended if necessary before final publication.
Is a CSA Group standard law?
CSA Group is an independent, impartial organization that develops standards & codes. We are not a government body and as such, do not have the power to make the requirements of a standard or code mandatory. A standard or code becomes law only if becomes referenced in legislation by a federal, provincial or municipal government, or any authority having jurisdiction (AHJ).
A large number of CSA Group standards & codes are cited in legislation at federal, provincial, state and municipal levels across North America. Many are internationally or regionally harmonized.
Compliance with all CSA Group standards is voluntary, unless legislated by government or mandated by industry or trade associations.
What is a TIL?
As new and complex technologies emerge, it takes time to assess their impact and introduce them into existing standards or develop new standards. As a result, it may take several years to complete the development process on a relevant standard. In the short term a Technical Information Letter (TIL) may be used as a method of helping new technologies gain wider market acceptance.
A TIL is a requirement or set of requirements, recognized by the Standards Council of Canada, that can be referenced in place of a full standard for certification purposes.
How can I become involved in standards development?
CSA Group believes consumers and the public at large can make vital contributions to the standards that affect their lives and the products they buy and use.
We welcome public comment on standards under development, and encourage consumers to participate in research and on key standards development committees. Contributions like these help CSA Group to produce standards that more accurately reflect the needs and expectations of all stakeholders.
All draft standards are offered to the public online at publicreview.csa.ca for a minimum of 60 days for review and comment prior to publication.
How is a standard developed?
To develop a standard, CSA Group forms a committee composed of volunteer members. Volunteers are selected to represent various interest groups likely to be impacted by the standard: business & industry, regulatory bodies, science & academia, labor and consumer groups.
We function as a neutral, impartial third party, providing the committee and project management structure and a forum for developing the standard. Committees are created using a “balanced matrix” approach, meaning each committee is structured to capitalize on the combined strengths and expertise of its members – with no single group dominating the discussions or eventual outcomes.
Committees consider the views of all participants and develop the details of the standard by consensus, which includes the principles of inclusive participation, transparency and respect for diverse perspectives. All draft standards are offered up for public review and comment for a minimum of 60 days prior to publication.
How often are standards updated?
Standards are living documents, regularly revised and refreshed to address changing requirements and emerging technologies. Each standard is reviewed at least every five years as part of our process of continual improvement and ensuring market relevance.
What is accreditation, and how is CSA Group accredited?
Accreditation of a standards development organization (SDO) is the formal recognition of their competence to develop standards, and comply with specific accreditation criteria as determined by the accreditor.
In Canada, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) has responsibility for co-ordination of the National Standards System (NSS).
Among the criteria to achieve and maintain accreditation:
- Development of consensus standards adhering to the principles used in Canada governing the overall consensus process.
- Complying with criteria established for approval of national standards for Canada.
In the United States, CSA Group is a standards writing body for appliances and accessories fuelled by natural, liquefied petroleum and hydrogen gases. It is accredited by the American National Standards Institute.
Why do we need standards?
Standards are at work in every aspect of our lives. They touch us all, every day, affecting nearly every product or service we encounter.
Standards help to ensure that products and services meet minimum requirements. They help establish safety and quality levels. They can also focus on efficiency or environmental practices.
For manufacturers, standards help to lower production costs by promoting interconnectivity and harmonization among products and components, helping open doors to new markets. For consumers, this can mean a more competitive marketplace with a wider selection of goods and services.
CSA Group tracks our performance against a number of key performance indicators (KPIs) that demonstrate the impact standards have on the world such as contributing to reduced injuries and fatalities.
Who funds standards development at CSA Group?
CSA Group, working with the various stakeholders with an interest in the outcome will fund the development of a given standard. This can include government, industry, and associations and other interested parties. Typically, a standard can be funded through a combination of these sources. The standards development process ensures that a single interest group does not influence the content of the standard regardless of how the standard is funded.
Why doesn't CSA Group absorb the cost of development of standards?
CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit organization. Any revenue generated is used to support the work CSA does to enhance public safety and health, advance the quality of life, help preserve the environment and facilitate trade.
How does CSA Group determine what standards to develop?
Anyone can come forward and request a standard. Often consumer organizations, trade/industry associations or government departments, see a need for a standard and submit a proposal to CSA Group for consideration.
We evaluate the overall relevance of a potential standard in meeting the need, and assesses the level of support in the community and industry.
What sectors of business or industry is CSA Group standards development involved in?
CSA Group develops, administers and distributes standards, guidance documents and related products in the following areas:
- Business Management Systems: Quality Assurance, Quality Management Systems, Quality System Checklists, Quality Auditing, Reliability, Privacy Code, Risk Management
- Communications / Information: Information Technology, Electromagnetic Compatibility, Telecommunications
- Construction and Infrastructure: Building Materials & Masonry, Concrete, Forest Products, Plumbing Products & Materials, Industrialized Building Construction, Structures, Welding, Offshore Structures
- Electrical and Electronics: Canadian Electrical Code Parts I, II, III, IV & VI,Wiring Products, Industrial Products, Consumer & Commercial Products, Electrical Engineering Standards, Performance of Electrical Products, Alternative Energy Vehicles
- Sustainability: Environmental Technology, Sustainable Forestry, Environmental Management Systems
- Energy: Performance, Energy Efficiency , Renewable Energy, Oil & Gas Industry Systems and Materials, Fire Safety & Fuel Burning Equipment, Nuclear Safety
- Gas Equipment: Food Processing & Refrigeration, Gas-Fired Domestic & Commercial Heating Equipment & Air Conditioning, Large Input Commercial & Industrial Equipment, Domestic & Commercial Water Heaters & Boilers, Incineration, Accessories, Laundry Equipment, Hoses, Couplings & Assemblies, Natural Gas & Propane Vehicle Fuel Systems & Industrial Engines, Portable-type Camping Equipment, Natural Gas & Propane Installation Codes, Gas Fitters Training Materials
- Health & Safety: Healthcare Technology, Dentistry, Public & Community Safety, Occupational Health and Safety, Sports and Recreational Equipment, Accessibility, Child Safety, Mechanical Industrial Equipment, Transportation
Are there areas of standards development CSA Group is not involved with?
CSA Group currently publishes and maintains more than 3,000 standards, codes and related products in areas as diverse as life sciences, gas equipment, energy, environment, electrical and electronics, construction, communications and business management. There are many standards in Canada that have been developed by other standards development organizations (SDOs), industry associations and federal, provincial and local levels of government.
What are ISO standards and how is CSA Group involved with ISO in Canada?
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies representing approximately 140 countries. ISO works with member countries to develop standards that help improve design, performance, safety, and other considerations.
On behalf of the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), CSA Group represents Canada on various ISO committees, such as TC 176 on Quality Management and TC 207 on Environmental Management.
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