Ottawa can now direct companies to pull unsafe products off shelves, under the terms of legislation that took effect Monday.

The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act now gives ministers the power to recall unsafe toys, sporting goods, cribs and other household products.

Ottawa was previously able to only request that manufacturers remove their products from stores before the Act was passed.

The legislation also gives the government the ability to prevent the import of products that could pose a danger to the public.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq appeared at an Ottawa toy store Monday afternoon to outline changes to the 40-year-old Act.

"As a mom, the new legislation gives me more confidence in the toys and products I give to my child," Aglukkaq said.

In addition to toys, the reforms also give federal ministers the power to recall sporting goods, and household products such as cribs if they're deemed unsafe.

The revised legislation also compels manufacturers and importers to report test and study results, and serious incidents relating to their products.

Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers Association of Canada, said it took too long to bring in the changes.

"For consumers, this is very much a good thing," he said. "It's long overdue and very welcome and I think this will be a great benefit to all Canadians."

The government introduced changes to the Act after a 2009 recall involving Canadian-made Stork Craft baby cribs.

The recall followed more than a dozen incidents involving the cribs, including four child suffocations.

Canada did not know about the dangers the cribs posed until being notified by U.S. regulators.

Environmental Defence and the Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association both praised the new revisions.

"This is great news for anyone who cares about product safety and protecting the health and welfare of Canadians," said Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence.

"It's high time Canada caught up with places like the United States and Europe in protecting its citizens."

The Act does not apply to food, drugs or vehicles and their parts because recalls of those products are covered by other legislation.

With files from The Canadian Press