Canadian Tire

Product Safety & Quality

Our Commitment

We are committed to continually improving product quality and durability to ensure that products live up to our customers’ expectations.

We invest the resources necessary to protect the safety and satisfaction of our customers. The dependability of our products is the bedrock of our past, present and future success. We understand and value the fact that Canadians trust us to provide goods they can confidently use on the road, with their children, around their pets and on the job. It is a responsibility we take seriously.

Everything we stock in our aisles must be safe, do what it is intended to do, and be durable. It is our personal responsibility to make sure that the quality of every item we carry in our stores can be trusted by Canadians.

Michael Magennis,
Senior Vice-President, General Merchandising Division

When products fall short of expectations, it is a loss for everyone. For our business, we deal with the financial cost of materials, personnel hours and reputational risk. For customers, it is their time in dealing with a return and the disappointment of a product that failed them. And for the environment, discarded products and packaging can create significant unnecessary waste.

Our product safety and quality controls take into account evolving stakeholder priorities and consumer trends. As more Canadians are questioning the environmental impact of their products and placing a value on purchases that support them in their sustainability journeys, we are increasing our focus on methods of extending a product’s life-cycle. This includes steadily expanding our inventory of products made from reclaimed, recycled and responsibly sourced materials. To learn more about this, see our reporting on Circularity: Packaging & Product Waste.

Through our product safety and quality efforts, we avoid costly operational inefficiencies, risks and losses in a number of ways: by employing experts in engineering, design and compliance; by listening to our customers’ feedback in product reviews and return claims; by keeping on top of regulations and recalls; and by meeting – and often setting – best practices in Canada within our industry.

We Are Here to Make Life in Canada Better by providing dependable products that allow Canadians to enjoy the jobs and joys of life, safely and effectively.

Our Approach


We work with internal teams, suppliers and industry partners to meet and improve standards every year

We take a multi-faceted approach to product safety and quality that aims to ensure that everything we sell meets our quality and safety expectations. Our efforts integrate the expertise of merchants, buyers, product developers and designers; mechanical, electrical and industrial engineers; and quality control and compliance analysts.

This has been an area of focus for our Company for many years, and we are proud of our continual progress and success. We make use of many tools, processes and strategies including construction specifications, new products assessment protocols, root cause analysis measures for defective products, and validation processes for corrective action plans.

Delivering quality products to customers

The greatest indicator of how well our product teams have done their jobs is in our defective claim rates and our product return rates. We are proud to say that our focus and attention in this area has resulted in some of the lowest defective claim and product return rates in the industry. At Canadian Tire stores, our current defective claim rate1 is 0.85%, and we have consistently achieved defective claim rates below 1% over the last five years. Our customer product return rate2 is 3.11%.

2021 return rate of products across Canadian Tire Corporation

Defective Claim Rate 0.85%

2021 return rate of products across Canadian Tire Corporation

Product Return Rate 3.11%

When the unfortunate situation of a product recall with one of our suppliers or products occurs, we immediately work to get the message out to customers who may have purchased that product. In addition to amplifying the manufacturer's message, we use our available Triangle Rewards membership data to reach customers directly so that we may prevent them from experiencing any potential harm. Out of the tens of thousands of products sold through CTC in 2021, 30 were involved in a consumer recall, a small increase from 29 in 2020.

We actively participate in several product safety associations and committees, including International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization; Retail Council of Canada's Product Safety Committee; Retail Industry Leaders Association's Product Safety Committee; and American Apparel & Footwear Association's Product Safety Council. We are also active with various standards development organizations that focus on product safety and sustainability standards, including Canadian Standards Association, Underwriters Laboratories, Canadian General Standards Association, and International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In addition, the Company benefits from our activities on Standards Council of Canada committees that are focused on consumer interests and sustainability, which influence the federal government's Canadian Environmental Protection Act's Chemical Management Plan. Our work with these associations and committees allows us to stay comprehensively up-to-date on best practices regarding the use of safe materials across our business.

Most of the facilities that produce our owned brands are ISO 9001 certified. In 2021, we spent 2,358 person-days in Asia assessing facility capabilities and monitoring production within our supplier chain. These facilities are also subject to amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative social compliance audits. Learn more in our Human Rights & Social Responsibility section.

Our work with these associations and committees allows us to stay comprehensively up-to-date on best practices regarding the use of safe materials across our business.


We perform continuous and rigorous product testing

For our owned brands, we perform in-house and third-party testing and product evaluations during the development and prototype stages. We also perform testing randomly during the product life-cycle to ensure manufacturing and design consistency.

We rely on a risk framework based on the product, vendor and brand in order to implement a testing and inspection plan targeting the highest risk and most impactful products. In 2021, we engaged in close to 13,000 third-party product tests, over 10,000 pre-shipment inspections and more than 11,000 sample reviews before production started.

Our teams also leverage feedback from our online reviews, stores, After Sales Service, supply chain partners, and returns and defective metrics in order to improve upon products after they are in the field. In 2021, roughly 1,300 consumer complaints were reviewed by our Product Quality team. Our process of investigating complaints and analyzing issues with products often includes working with vendors directly to share our data and solutions, in order to prevent recalls from occurring. For example, we reduced our defective claims of pressure washers by 20% in 2021 by sharing our consumer returns data and our engineers' analysis with our supplier. This allowed all parties to avoid financial impacts and improve manufacturing efficiencies.

TESTED for Life in Canada

Our Canadian Tire banner's TESTED for Life in Canada program tests thousands of products using qualified testers who understand and share the same needs as our customers. These testers use and examine our products in real-life settings, examining every feature and function to ensure that these products are suited for life in Canada. Honest feedback is then collected to help fellow Canadians make informed decisions on products for their everyday lives. Only products that have an average rating of 4+ stars earn our TESTED badge. Learn more about our TESTED for Life in Canada program here.

Tested for life in Canada

We actively seek safer and more durable materials

Our customers share our concerns about the safety and durability of our products. That is why we continue to work diligently to ensure our products remain safe and do not pose a risk to health or the environment when used and disposed of as directed. For example, for more than a decade, we have been adopting safer alternative substances and chemicals to replace materials where there is scientific evidence of health or environmental risks.

We maintain a Safer Chemicals Policy and continue to make updates based on our comprehensive data gathering and involvement in international industry safety associations. Some actions we are focusing on to improve the health and safety of our customers include:

  • removal of Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, heavy metals and cellulose nitrate from all children's products;
  • elimination of BPA from cash register receipts since 2018, and working towards eliminating Bisphenol S (BPS) and Bisphenol F (BPF);
  • removal of phthalates and heavy metals from food-contact products;
  • removal of volatile organic compounds from all paints;
  • adoption of the European Union's REACH chemical restrictions for apparel under our Helly Hansen banner;
  • all of Mark's products' stain repellency treatments are free of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS); and
  • early adoption of the industry-standard bluesign system for environmental standards in textiles by Helly Hansen.

We are making products that are built to last

When we provide Canadians with durable products, the result is saved money, time, and fewer discarded items. We are always adding items to our shelves that serve as good alternatives to disposable options, such as a wider selection of quality food storage containers and rechargeable batteries.

Smart design

Smart design is also part of this solution

For example, many kids' items in our Helly Hansen winter apparel category feature extendable arms and legs – so that the items can grow with the kids. We also build our kids' apparel with super durable material so that it can withstand rough wear and tear. As evidence of our commitment to durability, many of our products come with a name tag with three separate lines for three separate names – a symbolic and useful way to mark the many kids who will be using the same gear for years to come.

1 Defective claim rate is calculated by dividing defective claims by sales. Defective claims refer to the number of unit claims made by Canadian Tire stores. Sales refers to the number of point-of-sale units of all goods sold to retail customers at Canadian Tire stores.

2 Product return rate is calculated by dividing product returns by sales. Product returns refers to the number of units returned by Canadian Tire retail customers. Sales refers to the number of point-of-sale units of all goods sold to retail customers at Canadian Tire stores.

Unless otherwise indicated, information in this ESG Report is provided for the 2021 fiscal year. For further information on our approach to ESG reporting, including our Glossary, which sets out definitions of capitalized terms and acronyms that are not otherwise defined in this page, and our forward-looking information disclaimer, please click here.