“I’m so sorry…but not really because it’s my blog and I can do what I want.”


Remember when I launched my blog a month ago and specifically said that although I own a company that sells blinds, this blog would not be about window coverings? Well friends, I guess I lied. Or at least at the time, I was pretty sure there wasn’t anything in the exciting world of window coverings that I wanted to write about. For this ONE TIME ONLY I am going back on my word because there is a bit of a shake up fast approaching in the blind industry that you might want to be aware of. Just when you thought the world of #blindenthusiasm couldn’t get any better, I’m here to tell you a tale that involves the threat of danger, political and legal discourse, and even a touch of mystery.

The Dangerous Part

The short and simple fact is this…there is a potential safety hazard when it comes to the exposed cords on your household window coverings. If you take a look at the window treatment nearest to wherever you are sitting right now, you likely have some kind of cord, whether it is a singular string or a loop, that you use to move the blind from open to closed. It is these, and some of the other accessible cords that are in question.

According to Health Canada:

  • It takes just over 22cm of cord to strangle a child
  • From 1989 to 2018 there were 39 deaths in Canada related to the strangulation hazard posed by corded window coverings

I think we can all agree that one child lost is one too many and if there is a hazard in the home, why not remove it? It just makes sense. So what has the Government of Canada done to mitigate the potential threat?

The Political/Legal Part

Over the last 3 decades, Health Canada has taken a number of actions to address the hazard concerns such as education programs, warning labels, and the addition of the Corded Window Coverings Products Regulations in 2009. I’m not going to bore you with the details – if you want to know more about the regulations and related executive summary, I invite you to click here for some riveting bedtime reading. To keep things moving along, however, allow me to summarize it for you.

Based on the number of deaths and recalls since the late 80s it has been determined that the current programs and regulations have not resulted in a “sufficiently reduced fatality rate”. This, along with the findings of a risk assessment performed by Health Canada in 2014, has lead to the conclusion that it is necessary to update the regulatory requirements for these products to ensure the safety of Canadian children. Therefore, new regulations have been written to replace the current ones and these have been passed as law in Canada.

Again, for a full breakdown of all the new regulations you can head over to the Government of Canada website but here is the very abridged version:

“Any free hanging or tethered cord cannot be longer than 22 cm. Any cord that is longer, such as inner cords, cannot produce a loop larger than 44 cm when a specific pull force is applied.” (Alta Window Coverings Dealer Information release)

The above rules apply to the length and pull force of ANY cord, including external/operational cords, inner cords, looped cords, rear cords and power cords. Beginning May 1, 2022 it will be illegal to have any cords longer than 22 cm or looped cords larger than 44 cm on any new household window coverings. Just so we’re clear, I am not exaggerating for the sake of drama. The new corded window coverings regulations will not be a standard or a recommendation, they will be the law.

The Mysterious Part

Even though, technically, there can be operational cords, as long as they are 22 cm or less, most manufacturers are doing away with the cords altogether. The reason for which is pretty simple – it’s a bit silly to operate a blind with a cord that short (when my husband and I met our rep in a restaurant and we were miming what it would be like, neighbouring diners saw what I can only assume looked like us milking a herd of tiny, imaginary rodents). In addition to this, if you have a tall window, and you’re not 7 feet tall some like a certain blind installer we know, how on earth are you going to reach the mechanism? Logistically, it just doesn’t make sense to have operating cords that short. So the industry has adapted in the best way it can on most of the products.

The mysterious part is that retailers, such as my company – Camelot Interiors – have not yet seen a single product with the new adaptations. We don’t know what they look like, how they will operate or if they will operate up to the standards that we and our clients have come to expect. There are any number of reasons for the apparent lack of information. Some manufacturers are keeping their innovations closely guarded to protect them from being stolen; some manufacturers have decided this is not a real thing and they’ve effectively put their heads in the sand; some of the new products just simply aren’t ready.

To further add to the intrigue is that it isn’t quite clear how the new laws will be enforced or who will do the enforcing. Although I did get somewhat excited at the notion of Law and Order: Blind Enthusiasm (insert dun-dun sound) the information available on Health Canada’s website indicates that there will be “sampling and testing of products, inspection at retail, and follow-up on complaints made by the Canadian public and reporting by industry.” This tells me that it might be somewhat of a “Smokey the Bear” situation – Only YOU can prevent blind injuries – but we shall wait and see.

Some of What We Do Know

The good news (other than the obvious potential to save the lives of children) is that there are already many products on the market that meet at least some of the requirements. Window coverings with cordless operation have been on the market for years and they work really well. Motorization and automation is also becoming far more affordable thanks to vast improvements being done on the tech landscape. Who doesn’t want to raise their blinds with the touch of a button or with a simple voice command?

For those products that required some significant changes, Canadian manufacturers and industry stakeholders have been hard at work on R&D to get everything into ship-shape. Still, even with all the sweat equity, there will be some collateral damage. Most notably, is the beloved top-down cellular shade. Although this product can be made to operate cordlessly, it still requires exposed strings to allow the top rail to travel up and down. Until some tech genius comes up with a new levitating window covering system, it appears that we won’t see this popular product coming back any time soon. (We have had hints of something similar that will meet the regulations – remember the mysterious part?).

The full list of changes and deletions is far too long for me to outline for you here (are you still here?) but my recommendation is this – if you are building a home, renovating a home or if you work in the home industry, find a trusted retailer to help you navigate how the new Corded Window Coverings Regulations will affect your current and future project(s). We may not have all the answers, but we are invested in providing our customers with all the information we can as we become aware of it. If your home or renovation is close to completion and you’ve got your eye on a particular window treatment, don’t leave the selection until the very last minute. To ensure that nothing is installed that does not meet the new regulations retailers will be only be able to order products as they currently are up until early April. After that, all window coverings manufactured in and shipped to Canada, must be up to par or there may be some issues with the law. Which, I suppose, might make for another interesting episode of Blind Enthusiasm (insert dun-dun sound).

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