The article highlights the critical points related to the recall procedures applicable to medical devices allowed for marketing and use in Canada.

Health Canada Guidance on Investigation of Reported Medical Device Problems: Risk Evaluation and Control

Health Canada, a country’s regulating authority in the sphere of healthcare products, has published a guidance document dedicated to recalls.
The document provides an overview of the applicable regulatory requirements and additional clarifications and recommendations to be considered by medical device manufacturers and other parties involved to ensure compliance with them.

The authority also reserves the right to change the guidance and recommendations provided therein, should such changes be reasonably necessary to reflect corresponding amendments to the underlying legislation.

Regulatory Background 

First, the authority emphasizes the utmost importance of ensuring compliance with the applicable regulatory requirements. Medical Devices are subject to ensure public health protection and the safety of patients.

This document serves as an essential guide for entities involved in operations with medical devices in Canada, providing additional recommendations to navigate through the Medical Devices Regulations (MDR) concerning product recalls.

It aims to provide manufacturers, importers, and distributors with the necessary knowledge to manage recalls effectively, ensuring public safety and regulatory compliance.

Thus, this guide aims to facilitate understanding and compliance with the MDR sections relevant to medical device recalls.
The concept of a recall, primarily understood as removing a product from sale, covers a wide range of activities, including user notifications of potential issues and the provision of alternate labeling.

This document offers detailed guidance on maintaining distribution records, executing recalls, reporting recalls to Health Canada, and developing proper record-keeping and recall procedures.

MDCG Guidance on Substantial Modification of Performance Study Under IVDR

Scope and Applicability

This guidance is addressed to various stakeholders within the medical device sector, including manufacturers, importers, and distributors.
It delineates the application of MDR sections related to distribution records (sections 52-56), the recall process (section 58(b)), and the recall reporting process (sections 63-65).

It is essential to mention that certain requirements are specific to manufacturers and importers, highlighting the need for specific compliance strategies across different organizational roles.

Key Regulatory Requirements

As further explained by the authority, under the MDR, entities engaged in manufacturing, importing, or distributing medical devices must adhere to the relevant regulatory requirements.

These include maintaining comprehensive distribution records, establishing written recall procedures, and, for manufacturers and importers, reporting recalls to Health Canada.

Additionally, holders of a Medical Device Establishment License (MDEL) are required to document procedures for both record-keeping and recall execution.

The Recall Process: A Structured Approach

The guidance further provides additional clarifications related to the recall process based on the relevant legislation.

According to the guidance, the recall process is methodically divided into two main segments, each covering several stages:

  • Initiating a Recall: This involves identifying the need for a recall and formulating an appropriate recall strategy.
  • Executing the Recall: This phase covers the notification and correction steps, followed by follow-up actions and a thorough review to effectively close out the recall process.

Apart from recommendations provided in the present guidance issued by Health Canada, the parties involved are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the recall process flowchart in Appendix B and the collaborative dynamics between importers, distributors, and manufacturers illustrated in Appendix C to the guidance.
The document also contains references to other resources related to the recall procedures associated with medical devices. 

Definition and Scope of a Recall

The MDR defines a recall as any action undertaken by a device’s manufacturer, importer, or distributor to address or notify any defectiveness or potential defectiveness once it’s known that the device could be hazardous, fail to meet its claims, or not comply with the Food and Drugs Act or regulations.

The actions can range from market withdrawal to advising users of potential issues, showcasing Canada’s broad interpretation of “recall” compared to other jurisdictions.


In summary, the present guidance document provides a detailed overview of the applicable regulatory requirements associated with recalls concerning medical devices placed on the Canadian market.
The document highlights the key points to be taken into consideration. Also, it explains specific steps to be followed to ensure compliance with the existing legal framework, as well as the safety of patients.

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