Hefty fines coming if unsafe products stay on shelves

The federal government is going to impose fines of up to $25,000 a day on companies that don't remove unsafe consumer products from their shelves.

Companies could be charged $25,000 for not pulling products

A shelf sits empty where My Organic Baby cereals used to sit before being pulled from the shelves of a Toronto store in 2008 because of safety concerns. Health Canada is announcing new fines today if stores do not pull products. (J.P. Moczulski/Canadian Press)

The federal government is going to impose fines of up to $25,000 a day on companies that don't remove unsafe consumer products from their shelves. 

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq is announcing this morning that a company that ignores government orders and deadlines to withdraw unsafe goods will be handed a stiff fine.

Non-profits will face daily penalties of about $5,000, but other firms could face much higher fines depending on their track record.

However, Aglukkaq says most companies voluntarily comply with recalls. Details of the penalty regime were put before the public in draft form more than a year ago, but are only being brought into force now.

They are an addition to the Consumer Products Safety Act, which also took years to wind its way through the legislative process because of criticism it gave the minister too much power in the commercial affairs of small business.