The Electronic Cigarette Trade Association (ECTA) of Canada is an industry-wide body working to ensure the correct legal and regulatory frameworks are applied to electronic cigarette products. ECTA was founded in 2011 by like-minded industry stakeholders.
Over the past 6 years, ECTA has reviewed and identified many relative laws and regulatory frameworks within Canada that can be applied to vaping products and established a program which became the ECTA Industry Standard of Excellence (ISE). This program has been successfully applied to our membership for the past several years and we have presented this program to various agencies in Canada in an effort to gain approval and recognition as well as help guide a correct regulatory fit.
Being an organization founded on regulatory standards and compliance, the Board of ECTA of Canada is pleased to announce a project on which we have been working. Back in 2015 we began a project for Certification and Accreditation, following a path similar to that of other regulated industries in Canada. The purpose of the program would be to ensure that industry business owners and their employees would have the proper education and elevated standards needed to provide consistently professional and accurate services to consumers. Upon completion, the program would be made available nationwide to the vaping industry and their employees.
Though, initially a “side-project”, after numerous meetings and discussions with various members of the provincial and federal government, it became clear that standardized training enforced by an accreditation program such as the ECTA ISE, would not only benefit the industry, it would also alleviate many government concerns. This became a top priority as we approached the announcement of federal legislation.
We expect to begin the launch with our members in August, after which we will announce general availability to the industry at large, when it is ready.
The current structure of the program has two courses (more will be added in the future):
- Vendor Basic – This course will ensure staff will have sufficient knowledge to sell 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation vaping product kits, e-liquid and accessories. It includes basic battery safety information, common terminology, and provincial laws that impact the sale of vapour products, among other things.
- Vendor Advanced – This course is only available upon the successful completion of the Vendor Basic course, and is targeted at managers and owners. It includes advanced battery training, coil types and material, Federal legislation and requirements, physiological aspects of nicotine, harm reduction, e-liquid testing, and importation, among other things.
The Vendor Basic program is comprised of 13 modules and the Vendor Advanced program consists of 10 modules. These modules will contain information and training , interactive quizzes along with a final certification test. This program will be offered online and upon completion, the registrant will be given certification that they have completed the program.
To break down the program(s) a bit further..
Training and Certification for Vape Shop staff will be hosted on the ECTA Certification website and will consist of a number of training courses and exams. Each course will consist of a number of modules, each followed by a content knowledge quiz. Upon completion of each module and quiz, the trainee will complete a final online exam. Successful completion of the exam will result in a certificate of completion for either the Vendor Essentials or Vendor Advanced courses.
Applicant name, address, contact info, quiz and exam results will be stored in a secure database. Vendors, applicants, and any government reporting authority will be able to run a limited search to verify authenticity and completion date of issued certifications.
There are two certification courses; Vendor Essentials and Vendor Advanced. Before the Vendor Essentials certification is complete, trainees will be required to select and complete at least one of the 10 provincial and 3 territory regulation courses.
Vendor Essentials Module Outline
Vendor Essentials – This course will ensure staff have sufficient knowledge to sell Gen 1-4 EC kits, e-liquid, and accessories. It includes basic battery safety information, common terminology, and provincial laws that impact the sale of vapour products, among other things.
Vendor Advanced Modules
Vendor Advanced – This course is only available upon the successful completion of the Vendor Essentials course, and is targeted at managers and owners. It includes advanced battery training, advanced coil builds and material, Federal legislation & requirements, physiological aspects of nicotine, harm reduction, advanced e-liquid testing, and importation among other things
Modules, Quiz’s, and Exams
Modules – Each module will be hosted online in a “slide show” training format. The reading material will have a timer to prevent users from just skipping to the quiz. This timer will be short enough to allow those with advanced knowledge to get through the material faster. Modules are designed to be completed in relatively short time frames (15-20 min) in order to facilitate course completion at the users convenience. Shorter, more numerous modules allow users to easily pick up where they left off.
Quiz’s – There is a quiz at the end of each training module. Upon completion of the training material, the user will be prompted to complete a quick 10-15 multiple choice quiz. The quiz may be taken multiple times but a score of 80% or greater is required before the module is checked as complete.
Exams – Upon the successful completion of all modules and passing every quiz, the user will then have access to take the certification exam. There are multiple versions of the exam. Exams will be approximately 100-150 multiple choice, T/F, and drag and drop questions covering information from each previously completed module.
Certificate – Once the course has been completed with a passing grade, the user’s information will be recorded in a secure database and a certificate of completion will be issued.
ECTA’s Accreditation program will consist of an expanded ISE designed to support and protect membership. This expansion to our existing standards will include:
- Verification of certified staff
- Assistance with provincial compliance
- Assistance with Federal compliance (testing, labeling, marketing etc.)
- Assistance with federal reporting requirements
- Utilizing audits to complete federal reporting requirements and their submission on behalf of the member.
- Utilizing audits to ensure product, sales force, and marketing compliance in order to avoid costly fines.
Both the certification and accreditation programs rely on each other in order to realize the greatest benefit and government endorsement. With federal legislation looming, time is of the essence. Expect further details and progress updates throughout the summer months.
ECTA will continue to strive to bring the best standards and information forward and work with our government in relation to the vaping industry. Certification programs are found in almost every industry in Canada, and this program ensures the knowledge and competence for front end staff, managers and shop owners. It shows a commitment to our legislators and will help with the explosion of growth we are experiencing within this industry.