How Do You Know If a Product is Really Made in Canada?

Shoe Laundry
January 24, 2021
7 minutes

Canadians are used to being called nice. But when it comes to how we shop, nice is just the beginning. 97% of Canadian consumers buy local so they can support their local economy.

Think about that. In the second-largest country in the world - a country that spans almost 10,000km (yes km, not miles) - roughly the entire population makes buying decisions to support and strengthen the place they call home. 

COVID-19 has pushed the buy local movement even further. Since the pandemic began, 54% of Canadian consumers say they are buying more locally sourced products. Even better, 86% of them plan to keep doing it long after the virus is gone. 

It’s no surprise then that thousands of Canadian brands claim their products are made locally. But what exactly constitutes a product as Canadian-made? What criteria does a business need to meet? And how can consumers understand if a product is truly made in Canada? 

Let’s break it down.

What is a “Product of Canada”? 

According to the Government of Canada, there are two claims a business can make:

  1. Product of Canada
  2. Made in Canada 

We know, we know. They sound identical. But when you dive into the details, these two claims are actually quite different. 

For a “Product of Canada” claim to be accurate, it has to meet two conditions: 

  1. The last substantial transformation of the product happened in Canada.
  2. At least 98% of the total direct costs of producing and manufacturing the product have been incurred in Canada. 

If any of that just confused you, no judgements. Here are those conditions again in our own words: 

  1. Whatever big change just happened to make your product what it is, it better have happened in Canada. 
  2. Whatever you’re buying to make your product what it is, you better be buying at least 98% of it in Canada. 

Make sense? Simply put, a “Product of Canada” claim is the most Canadian-made a claim can get.

What is “Made in Canada”? 

For a “Made in Canada” claim to be accurate, it has to meet three conditions: 

  1. The last substantial transformation of the product happened in Canada.
  2. At least 51% of the total direct costs of producing and manufacturing the product have been incurred in Canada. 
  3. The "Made in Canada" representation is accompanied by an appropriate qualifying statement. 

To recap, only half of the costs of goods have to take place in Canada for this claim to be true. Plus, if you claim “Made in Canada”, you have to keep it real with your consumers. For example, your claim might look like this: “Made in Canada with 70% Canadian content and 30% imported goods.” 

So, which claim is better?

Both claims (when accurate) show that a brand is doing its best to support Canadian manufacturers. In a perfect world, every Canadian product would be a “Product of Canada”. But in the real world, the most important thing is good intent and full transparency between companies and their consumers. 

Plus, 75% of Canadian consumers say they would pay more for products or services from a socially responsible company. And if the government finds out that a company has used claims to mislead customers, they could be fined up to $15 million. 

Turns out, being honest about your product is just good business.

How do I know if what I’m buying is Canadian-made? 

This is where things get sticky. Some brands will use explicit claims (“Made in Canada” and “Product of Canada”) so customers know what’s up. Other brands get a bit more crafty, using maple leaves or vague verbiage about Canadian ingredients to imply a product is Canadian-made.

So, what’s a consumer to do? Here are our top tips to learn more about where a product is made: 

Is Shoe Laundry made in Canada? 

We thought you’d never ask! When we were developing Shoe Laundry, we focused on sourcing suppliers that were both Canadian and as sustainable as possible. 

That’s why our plant-based cleaning formula is a Product of Canada. Partnering with our incredible lab, EC Labs in Edmonton, Alberta, we’re able to manufacture and produce an effective, all-natural shoe cleaning solution that is 100% Canadian-made.

EC Labs
Image Via Shoe Laundry.

Our shoe cleaning kit as a whole is 80% Made in Canada, with a 7-8% selection of materials sourced from Eco Enclose in Louisville. We work with this incredible supplier to manufacture our kits with 100% post-consumer recycled materials, as a part of our mission to reduce global waste. Our cleaning kit is also certified Made in Ontario by the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and the Government of Ontario. 

"Shoe Laundry Cleaning Kit." Image Via Shoe Laundry.

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