Watch What You Sell At Your Next Garage Sale Warns Health Canada

Yard sale in Moultrie, GA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you thinking about “Spring” or “Summer”  Cleaning for things you can sell for money?

Most people wonder what to sell at a garage sale but now they need to know what NOT to Sell at a garage sale. Have you heard of the Health Canada 2012 Garage Sale Advisory?

In the summer time especially, people come in droves to find the latest and greatest deals at garage sales in Canada.

I know we’re part of those groups of people. I’m not so sure it will be as exciting as it once was maybe more stress than it’s worth.

I recently posted about garage sale tips for buying and selling stuff  and felt it was important to write a new post to highlight the Health Canada Advisory for Canadians who want to sell new or used items. We are all looking for ideas for yard sales and the latest tips for yard sales but these tips today take precedence over any other.

Do you understand the 2012 Advisory? If not you need to read on because I was even shocked during my research…….

You are  legally, yes legally responsible for the items you sell, new or used making sure that they meet regulatory requirements. If you don’t follow them you are breaking the law in Canada! You never know when a Health Canada Product Safety Officer might be investigating.

Make sure you know what you are selling in accordance to Health Canada’s 2012 Garage Sale Advisory. Want to pass down your old radio to your grandson, or the toys your child used to a friend or family member… be informed. It’s all about safety first, profits from sales last.

Why you ask?…Keep reading.

If you think you are getting off  free and clear think twice before giving away something to your family, friends or neighbour for free. You are still up a creek without a paddle if something should go wrong. That’s right you are still legally responsible to make sure the products are safe.

If you do sell or give away something that is not in compliance you may be liable in a civil court of law… oh ya it’s true!  Please don’t throw tomatoes at me I’m just telling it like it is. Minimize your legal risk and learn the facts…and there are a lot of them!

I know most of you are shaking your heads and cursing up and down but the law is the law, but how far do we have to go for used stuff? We are firm believers in buying second-hand items but only if they are in good working order.  Even second-hand shop owners are responsible with good reason that anything they sell is in compliance.

Why does the Federal Government seem to be passing the buck on to consumers looking to make a few cents at a yard sale? Poor little kids just wanna make spending money for penny sweets at the shop selling toys they no longer want. (Soon nickel candy will be the old penny candy if it’s not already) there were half penny sweets when I were a kid.

I don’t think it’s reasonable to say that every seller/vendor is going to make the right decisions when it comes to garage sales. Do they get a slap on the wrist if  caught and plead ignorant? You can try it but I don’t think it will wash with the big guys. There will always be the “I didn’t know, I thought it was ok, It wasn’t broken when I sold it.”

If you haven’t heard of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act then you should familiarize yourself with it. Nowadays we are finding more people buying,selling and giving away free second-hand items. Whether it’s at a garage sale, kijiji, Craigs list, Freecycle or on other social media such as Facebook Marketplace you will find what you need. All of these outlets of selling new,used or giving away for free apply to this act. Such sites as Kijiji have a policy in place that leaves the seller responsible for knowing the law.

According to Kijiji  You are responsible for ensuring compliance with all applicable laws relating to the item you list, buy or sell.”
There have been many times broken items have been given away for parts, now what? Do you toss it on the lawn and say… make like you found it mate. Maybe you can set up a geocache and send your freecycler on a hunt… can’t be punished for something someone else found, right? Ok a bit far-fetched but the reality is most people will do it until they are caught or something happens.
  • If you have anything that is damaged, just get rid of it, don’t be selling it.
  • Always check with Health Canada and the manufacturer before re-selling a product as it may have been recalled.
  • You can check for consumer recalls here to make sure you know the products you have and what you should do with them.

What is banned from being SOLD at Garage Sales in Canada?

According to Health Canada…….“anything that has been recalled and not corrected or cannot be corrected”

You must destroy them.

Here are only a few items listed on their site.  You can’t even advertise, list for free or import into Canada any of these items…..

Baby in walker.

  • Baby Walkers
  • Lawn Darts with elongated tips
  • Baby bottles containing BPA
  • Yo-Yo Balls
  • Jequirity beans- If you are asking yourself what the heck  these are.. good because even I didn’t even know. They are very toxic and can make you extremely ill.

huffington post UK ;photo credit

Recently a woman in the UK suffered hallucinations and abscesses from toxins according to the Huffington Post UK. They go on to say,”it is a deadly seed of the plant, abrus precatorious, which originate from Peru”
Take caution when selling or giving away anything for children especially the items listed below, keep in mind this is not the entire list. I will touch on a few with a quickie tidbit on each.
Some Items that MUST meet Regulatory Requirements to
Sell: These are not the full details… 
  • Baby gates- With diamond-shaped “V” at the top larger than 38mm
  • Car seats-Do not sell if past the lifetime date or if been in an accident
  • Children’s jewellery-If it contains lead it is very toxic for children
  • Children’s sleepwear-Cotton,cotton blends or rayon burn easily
  • Cribs, cradles and bassinets-Must meet all regulatory requirements if made before 1986 cannot be sold
  • Play pens-Must not have protruding bolts,torn vinyl or mesh
  • Strollers and Carriages-must come with a crotch strap and lap belt and not be made before 1985
  • Toys-Any damaged toys, sharp-edged toys
  • Corded window blinds-Children can strangle themselves with the chord
  • Helmets and Face Protector’s must have sticker and number from Canadian Standard Association
Did you know? 
According to Health Canada……
“All cosmetics sold in Canada must meet the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act, the Cosmetic Regulations, and all other applicable legislation.”
How many times have we seen cosmetics on-line or at garage sales.. better buckle up Canada.. check before you sell that pretty pink blush grandma gave you or give away half bottles of face cream.
Read on ….. there’s more.

There is also the  Radiation Emitting Devices Act  and according to Health Canada you may want to make sure these devices are in top-notch condition before attempting to sell or give away.

Not everyone hangs on to their instruction manuals perhaps now might be a good time to start if you ever plan on selling. We take all of our manuals and file them in a box for easy reference. I guess now for easy selling!

  • Microwaves cannot be damaged and must come with instructions
  • Entertainment devices-example; stereos, Mp3 must have instructions and volume control MUST work properly as to not cause any potential hearing damage.
What can you do to decrease your risk of buying something not in compliance?
  • Read this blog post again and click the links and read the information
  • Read all product labels of what you potentially buy or get free
  • Ask questions about where it was purchased and when
  • Check with the manufacturer for more information on the product
  • Check to see if the product works, test volume controls
  • Do not buy, borrow or pick up for free anything that is broken or missing parts.
  • If you are not sure or just too damn exhausted from all that you have to do now … just don’t buy it or take it..simple as that!

You can find a comprehensive list here  of all the items listed above and more.

Do I think this will slow down Garage Sales, no but I do think it will have Canadians thinking twice before they put up their ads or signs. I urge you to be informed of Health Canada’s 2012 Advisory for Garage Sale Vendors if you plan on hosting one this summer or ever for that matter.

 Related article

Photo credits were lost when the blog was moved to self-hosted. If you own one of these please let me know so I can tag accordingly. Thanks.



  1. Jenn Leigh says:

    It’s funny that corded window blinds are illegal to sell at a garage sale, when I purchased my condo last summer it is full of window blinds with corded that were deliberately knotted at the ends, I had to untie all the knots and shorten the cords because I was concerned about my cat getting tangled in them and choking to death, I’m single no kids. So you would think if it was illegal in a garage sale it would be in a house or condo as well!

    • Good point. I think most if it is open for interpretation but if you are unsure you could always call. I think they have a number in one of the links in the blog post. It seems they are simply targeting garage sales. I don’t know how many people will take this seriously but I think once they start chasing after people or if they ever do the same will go on as usual. Thanks for your comment Jenn! Mr.CBB

  2. Brad Gold says:

    What ever happened to Caviat Emptor? This is yet another example of the nanny state coming to roost. Not shooting the messenger here, just kind of ticked that the gov’t has the time to nit-pick about this kind of crap when we have hungry kids going to schools that don’t work, wars in countries we don’t belong in and a host of other real issues.

    • Hey Brad, How’s it going? No worries, I know you wouldn’t shoot your mate.. ha.. I know to be honest I don’t think many people will give a crap about it. I can understand what they are going on about but trying to enforce this, good luck. Cheers Brad, nice to hear from ya… P.S How’s the garden?

      • Brad Gold says:

        The garden’s going pretty good. Got my raised pallet beds all set up, tomato plants in pots in another pallet and made my own drip irrigation system out of buckets and hose so I don’t have to stand there with a watering can. A drip system slowly waters so there’s no runoff and no wasted water. My carrots, onions, beets are all coming up as well as some of my cucumbers, zucchini and ground cherries. I have a video that I made, but it’s only on my facebook page. I should redo it for youtube so i can share it.

        • For sure I would love to see your video, post it on my wall because it’s all about saving money in the budget right? I would love to see your irrigation system as well… All my stuff is growing like mad… I’ll post pics along the way.

  3. Carolle says:

    I didn’t know that! Thanks for sharing. Great info.

  4. Samantha Billings says:

    Wow thanks a bunch that is a great help when searching for a bargain. Glad to know what not to buy!

    • The most important part is you are now informed. You won’t be part of the group that says they didn’t know. Cheers Mate for your comment and popping in to read the blog post, look forward to hearing from you again. Mr.CBB

  5. Canadian Performer's Money says:

    Just wondering… why do all your photos say “photo credit” under them, but then have no photo credit? 🙂

  6. Thank you so much! This was great info. I knew some of them on the list, but was surprised to see a few.

  7. I thought the USA was ridiculous in terms of silly laws and taxes. This is madness, really. Very soon garage sales themselves will be illegal. 🙁

  8. Thank you for this article Mr CBB!! Perfect timing! We’re having a garage sale this weekend!!! I don’t think I’m selling anything questionable! 🙂

    • Great I’m glad you enjoyed the post and the valuable info. I do encourage you read the full regulations from Health Canada to learn more. Cheers Jen and look forward to your garage sale report! Mr.CBB

Add Your Comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: