GS1 Canada

The Global Language of Business

Launching Products in Canada

How to Get the Basics Right


The Canadian retail landscape offers many opportunities

National average household spending on grocery and drug products is $8,492 per year1


GS1 Canada ensures that you can comply with federal and provincial regulations and requirements. Our bilingual services help you reach both English and French audiences.

1 Nielson Homescan, 2016

Over 74%
of Canadians shop
in a store1

of Canadians shop online
at least once a month2

$39.9 billion


Canadian retail sales
expected to hit
$39.9 billion
by 2019

- in eCommerce alone3



To reach Canadian customers, it is important to know how to get products in front of retailers, with the information they are looking for.

1,2 PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2015

3 Forrester Research, 2014


What your trading partners need

You can reach Canadian customers through trading partners such as retailers. The most effective way to reach retailers is to understand their trading partner requirements.

Among the things you will need to consider for your products are:

  • Getting Barcodes
  • Providing Product Data
  • Being eCommerce Ready
  • Capturing Professional Content (Product Images and Data)

GS1 Canada offers services to meet each of these needs to its subscribers.

Our Sectors








It all starts with a simple barcode

A barcode is a visual representation of a unique identification number that can be easily read by scanners, quickly and accurately. Avoid proprietary or resold barcodes, which are not guaranteed to be unique and will not be accepted by all retailers.

One of the most common identification numbers encoded in a barcode is a Global Trade Item Number, or GTIN (known as an EAN or UPC in some countries). GTINs uniquely identify products down to very specific details. To get a GTIN, you need to become a GS1 subscriber.


  • Product Type: Consumer Item
  • Functional Name: Potato Chips
  • Size: 450 gram
  • Retail Pack: 1
  • Package Height: 40.64 centimetres
  • Package Width: 28.57 centimetres
  • Gross Weight: 0.462 Kilogram
  • Suggested Serving Size: 50 grams
  • And many more

The information contained within GTINs and other GS1 identifiers are based on global standards. GS1 barcodes are the only globally recognized barcode.

Using global standards means your GS1 barcodes can be used all over the world, across multiple sectors and industries.

More than 5 billion
GS1 barcodes

are scanned around the world every day











How barcodes are used

Barcodes are used across the entire supply chain and are used to retrieve specific information about individual products.

Because barcodes and GTINs are powered by so many data attributes, they can be used across the entire supply chain to support a wide variety of business processes.


  • Inventory Tracking
  • Invoice Management
  • Contract Management
  • Product Withdrawal Notifications


  • Logistic Information


  • Inventory Tracking and Management
  • Reordering
  • Invoice Management
  • Contract Management
  • Product Forecasting

Distribution Centre

  • Inventory Tracking and Management
  • Reordering
  • Invoice Management
  • Contract Management
  • Product Forecasting
  • Product Withdrawal Notifications
  • Location Management


  • Inventory Tracking and Management
  • Reordering
  • Invoice Management
  • Contract Management
  • Product Forecasting
  • Product Withdrawal Notifications
  • Nutrition Information
  • Pricing
  • Counterfeit Product Detection
  • Shrinkage Reduction


  • Pricing
  • Product Description

What kind of barcode do I need?

The first part of most barcodes features your unique Company Prefix, a set of numbers common to all the GTINs you produce. The second part refers to a specific product variation.

You will need one barcode for each of your products and another barcode for each packaging format, such as pallet or case.

To get a barcode, become a GS1 subscriber and generate a GTIN. Visit for more information. You can take your GTIN number to a service that creates barcodes to turn your GTINs into a readable barcode.

How many GTINs do I need?

You will need one barcode for each of your products and another, different type of barcode for each packaging format, such as pallet or case.

You may find you need more barcodes than you thought. You should also consider how many barcodes you would need if your business grows.

The number of GTINs that are needed based on having three variations of the following: sizes, styles, colours and packages.

Give your trading partners the data they need

Almost all trading partners will require manufacturers to upload important product data to a product registry.

Providing your trading partners with the highest level of data quality builds trust and increases the chance of return business.

Directed by industry, GS1 Canada has built Canada's largest product database, ECCnet Registry. This registry enables you to provide the product information that trading partners need to get your product to market.

GS1 Canada subscribers use our Product Introduction solution to meet all their trading partners' needs at the click of a button.

Manufacturer, Vendor, Supplier or Broker/Distributor


The process for a manufacturer, vendor, supplier or broker/distributor to begin sharing product details with a retailer or other end user starts with ECCnet Registry.

How to sell more online


More than
76% of
Canadian households

purchase products online.1

Give customers what they want

GS1 Canada's eCommerce solution captures standardized pictures of your products to be featured on online platforms.

These professional eCommerce images enable retailers and e-tailers (such as Amazon) to ensure a consistent look and feel to their eCommerce stores that help customers feel more confident with shopping online.

67% of consumers
say that the quality of a product
image is very important
selecting and purchasing a product.2

Good data is gold

Our eCommerce solution also captures anything and everything that appears on your packaging. This ensures customers can access the same product details online as they would in-store. Product data is captured in both official languages, ensuring that you are reaching the 22% of French-speaking Canadians.

According to research,
87% of
online shoppers

say they are unlikely to buy from a brand again after experiencing inaccurate product data.1

ECommerce content goes into The Vault, our secure online registry. Here, manufacturers access all their product data and images in the one place and top up product information with extra promotional copy to make products even more compelling online.

Manufacturers can also certify their data, providing retailers and consumers with the ultimate confidence that they are using the most accurate, up-to-date, product information available.

Ask GS1 Canada about our eCommerce Service to find out how to better feature your products online.

The Vault - eCommerce

Product images and data

GS1 Canada provides content capture services for all your business process needs.

Standardized, professional content can help products stand out in marketing collateral as well as supporting other business needs.

Planogram content are used by retailers to create eye-catching displays that maximize shelf space value for the lowest possible cost.

The foodservice industry uses specific content to identify products at different packaging levels, provide visuals for menus, populate ordering catalogues and create product information cards.

ECommerce content helps retailers position products online and customers find the products they seek.

GS1 Canada believes in the power of global standards to transform the way we live and work



Directed by industry, for industry:
As a global not-for-profit, our work is directed by industry experts through our sector boards, work groups and industry protocols.


Data Quality:
Our commitment to data integrity ensures the highest quality, most accurate, bilingual, certified product data and image content, updated in real-time.


Our solutions enable product image and data content to be shared with all partners at the same time with the push of a button.


Industry Managed Solutions:
Our global standards-based solutions meet the needs of businesses of all sizes across all sectors using the highest level of data quality. Our solutions contain flexible tools and premium features that can be customized to your needs.

Key GS1 Canada terms


Business Process
Any set of activities that a company or individual needs to do on a repeated basis in order to do business.

Product images and data used by trading partners and customers when making purchasing decisions.

Data Quality
The degree to which your product information is complete, current and correct.

GTIN Discrepancy Reports. GDRs are filed when the data about a product does not match the trading partner experience in the real world.

Global Location Numbers. A global standard that specifies a physical location such as a building, a room or even a shelf.

Global Trade Item Number. This is a global standard that is frequently encoded into a barcode and can be used for any business process where specific products need to be identified.

A set of instructions for in-store staff to set up shelving and/or arrange products in specific way to maximize the revenue generated by shelf space for the lowest operational cost. Planograms are usually represented by visual diagrams.

Trading Partner
Any organization that is trading products or services with another.

Next Steps

Now that you have a clearer understanding of how to get your products listed, contact GS1 Canada to take your next steps.

Find out how to subscribe to GS1 Canada and get the most out of our services by visiting

Contact us at 1.800.567.7084 or at

No matter how big or small you are, we can help!

About GS1 Canada


GS1 is a neutral, not-for-profit organization that develops and maintains the most widely used global standards for efficient business communication.

GS1 standards improve the efficiency, safety and visibility of supply chains across physical and digital channels in 25 sectors.

Our scale and reach help ensure that GS1 standards create a common language that supports systems and processes across the globe.

GS1 Canada is a global leader in delivering the highest quality, accurate, bilingual product data which is perpetually updated and cleansed, used by organizations of all sizes to fuel their business processes.

GS1 Canada's solutions are designed to meet Canadian trading requirements and address sector-wide issues.

Find out more at


Toronto Office
1500 Don Mills Road, Suite 800
Toronto, Ontario M3B 3K4
Telephone: 416 510 8039
Toll Free: 1 800 567 7084

Montreal Office
9200 boul. du Golf
Montreal (Anjou), Quebec H1J 3A1
Telephone: 514 355 8929

GS1 is a registered trademark of GS1 Canada.
All contents copyright © GS1 Canada 2017