What is the difference between Canadian (CSA) and USA compliance?

For the Canadian product market the standards that are often used to proof compliance are CSA Standards which are made by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Whereas, CSA standards are typically used for the proof of compliance for the Canadian market, the UL standards are often used for USA compliance. The CSA and UL standards may differ in certain aspects, because there may be specific rules, requirements that apply on the specific geograhpical market. For example it is possible that in certain states of America, rules regarding hazardous substances are more strict and nationally regulated as well. Either way the correct standard must be used to proof compliance for the specific geographical market and to comply with the specific regulations, codes, and industry practices.

Canadian market and Compliance

In order to enter the Canadian product market it is required to verify to which requirements one must comply. It is possible that a manufacturer needs to comply with specific regulatory requirements established by the Canadian government for products sold in Canada. Canada has its own set of regulations and standards for various product categories, including health and safety standards, environmental regulations, and more.

Compliance for the Canadian product market can be achieved by use of CSA Standards (depending on the product, intended use and users environment). As indicated previously the CSA standards are drawn up by the Canadian Standards Association. The Canadian Standards Association is an organization that not only draws up the standards which may be used for compliance assessment, but they are also an NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory); meaning the are accredited and asigned to carry out assessments which are accepted by AHJ (Authorities Having Jurisdiction). Products that are assessed and found compliant may receive an approval label/marking. When the product bears a CSA approval label/marking it indicates that it is assessed and approved by CSA as an NRTL. Please note, that it is essential to verify whether your product needs to comply with specific CSA standards or whether other legislative requirements apply to your product. Further, CSA is not the only NRTL which is accredited and asigned to carry out assessments for the Canadian market. There are other NRTL’s that may also be able to carry out the assessment and approval of your product for the Canadian market.

To learn more about compliance requirements in the Canada, please refer to the following link.

Compliance in the United States of America (USA)

Compliance in the United States is related to adhering to various federal and state regulations, national codes and standards when selling products within the United States. An approval marking commonly know is the UL approval mark, which is given by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) after a successful evaluation by UL acting as an NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory). Please note, that there are also other NRTL’s which are accredited and are assigned by Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ’s) to evaluate and approve a product.

Every state in the USA has its own liability law according to its own standards, as sanctioned by Congress. Therefore, an Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), accepts only approvals and testing carried out by assigned and accredited parties. The drafting of product safety requirements and compliance inspection are carried out by the same federal agency. In the USA product compliance often involves adherence to regulations from agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and testing parties which carry out evaluations and approvals such as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL), and others.

You are required to file a report for dangerous and defective products. Especially when providing consumer products onto the USA market, one needs to ensure that compliance is determined, because there is a high risk of lawsuits. It is highly recommended to ensure that when providing a product onto the USA market, that it complies with the regulation(s) and/or National Codes. Also, when providing an industrial product onto the market, it is recommended. However, for industrial products it becomes part of the assessment whether or not a working environment can be considered safe. Therefore, with industrial products it is a discussion as to who is legally responsible to ensure that products/equipment used in a working environment is compliant and approved. To learn more about compliance requirements in the United States, please refer to the following link.


Key differences include:

  • Regulatory Authorities.
  • Codes and regulations.
  • Specific standards.
  • Approval assessment.
  • Labeling and Marking: Varying requirements for labels and language.
  • Environmental Regulations: Hazardous substances can be state regulated in US and province or territory regulated in Canada.

It is essential to keep in mind that compliance for one geographical market does not mean that you automatically are compliant for the other market as well. Canadian compliance does not guarentee compliance and market access to the United States of America.

Businesses must research and understand specific compliance requirements for each country to meet the necessary standards and regulations. We can help you perform the entire compliance process to ensure that your products meet the specified safety requirements. Get in touch here.


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