Health Canada Recalls and Safety Alerts Modernization

Recalls and Safety Alerts, previously called Recalls and Safety Alerts Management System (RSAMS), is a top service offered by the Government of Canada, ranking number 8 on the list of most consulted GC digital services. It provides access to a comprehensive list of recalls, advisories, and safety alerts. This service includes partnerships between Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Transport Canada (TC) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

In 2019/20, the current RSAMS received almost 7 million page views, not including views received to recall content currently hosted directly on the CFIA and Transport Canada web sites. There are currently approximately 30,000 records in the RSAMS system, with between 1500-3000 records added each year.

Federal Government


Government Website

Online Services

ESG-Friendly & Open-First solution


Drupal Development

Web Design & Theming

API Integrations

Content Migration

Hosted Managed Services 24/7

Project Management

Reporting and Testing

WCAG Accessibility

OpenPlus 24/7 managed solution

Modernization initiative results.

The new RSA system is a Search-first modern Government of Canada compliant solution, with Open APIs and build on DrupalWxT which we manage in our Azure Cloud GC Infrastructure.


Visitors 5/months


Faster to publish


Monthly notifications


Global uptime

RSAMS Home Mac wrapper
RSAMS mobile Iphone wrapper
CDS RSAMS article
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“OpenPlus has been instrumental in helping us achieve our technical goals. Using an agile methodology, we’ve been able to accomplish a significant amount of work in a short period of time.”

Eric Chouinard, Health Canada

Project Scope

The RSA service has been identified as a mission-critical application by Health Canada. As a result of aging IT and poor user experience for both public users and for content managers, it has also been identified as a priority for Health Canada under the department’s investment planning framework.

This project’s scope consists of the complete replacement of the IT infrastructure and CMS solution that manages the RSA content, along with the public facing interface. This modernization of the IT solution will allow for improvements in the user experience of Canadians, the workflow and processes of content producers, the alignment with TBS policies and guidelines, and sustainability of the solution.

The scope also includes the ongoing support and maintenance of the system, through the final year of the contract after the system is launched, as well as through multiple option years.

Our Analysis

OpenPlus began by meeting with a variety of stakeholders to confirm the user and business requirements and analyze the current solution. Of particular importance was the understanding of workflow, not just starting at RSAMS, but at recall inception, so that all entry paths to system could be understood. We built workflow maps and user journey maps to illustrate the system user’s experience and process to create and manage recalls and alerts which was unique per ministry as well as within Health Canada itself, depending on recall type.

Given the technical challenges with the current solutions, the best way forward was to rebuild and migrate the content into a Drupal 9 WxT 4 build that meets, out-of-box, all the Government of Canada requirements in an open and scalable solution. Our strategy was approved, and we proceeded with our solution.

WebForm subscription integration with GCNotify

The OpenPlus team developed a Subscription solution using the platform's integrated DrupalWxT WebForm for a fully bilingual notification registration sub-system. We further opted to leverage the great work developed by CDS to integrate into the GCNotify service, this is a Government of Canada microservice for notifications using text or email via a REST interface. Our team contributed back our open source module directly on, facilitating the integration with DrupalWxT with configurations from a full user interface.

As of mid 2022, there are over 45,000 such subscribers using RSAMS to notify themselves of critical recalls and alerts, from allergies to medical devices. The service is capable of easily scaling up to millions of notifications with no increase in development or operational costs.

Our WebForm Subscription Interface

Click to open full screen

Form Builder

Form Builder

Easy Translation

Easy Translation

Field Elements

Field Elements

Download Reports

Download Reports

Enhanced Search

The main homepage is in itself a search-first design as analytics showed that the majority of visitors were either going directly to a recall via social media or via news outlets, or they were searching for a specific recall. The landing page provides a very simple and straightforward search experience with options and facets saved for the search results page itself. This provides a direct portal for users to find precisely what they are looking for.

The enhanced search page provides users with facets to be able to drill-down using different data dimensions. This is a familiar search experience for anyone used to searching products or data online. The facets themselves are not only hierarchical, but also conditional, providing multiple ways a user could narrow down search results.

Integrated Help Guide

A comprehensive online User Help Guide was built using the very same platform and tools as the solution itself and as such following the Government of Canada Style guides and components from GCweb and WxT with multilingual, accessible content for the documentation. This provides authenticated users who contribute and manage content with instant online help for role-specific documentation in a familiar user experience. It also allows for easy continuous improvement of the guide itself as it is fully integrated into the solution. It’s what we call “super documentation”.

Logged-in Content Manager Help Guide

Role-based documentation using the GC components.

Top-Tasks + Dashboards

A key factor driving the modernization initiative of RSAMS was to address major publisher usability issues surrounding the workflow as well as the interfaces used to manage recalls. The existing solution was dated, cumbersome and took a long time to publish even simple alerts, driving users to side-step and misuse functions causing significant data integrity issues. Publishing times dropped to 15-25 minutes from 1-2 hours.

The modernized solution centers around several customized dashboards that display varying functions and data depending on the role users are assigned. This provides the specific information each of those roles requires at any given point in time. It also allows for users to take on other roles when acting or temporarily replacing staff. The new dashboard is a user-centric design and focuses on Top Tasks, receiving praise from users who have also found the authoring and management of content extremely effective, while also ensuring data is clean and api-first available for international partners.

OpenPlus Solution

Capabilities and Integrations for this project.


Drupal consulting, content architecture, theming and development


Search UX and management with seamless integration of our managed SOLR service

Scalable Notifications

Subscription Management Sub-system leveraging WebForm and API integration with GCnotify microservice

3rd party Integrations

Drupal integration with current infrastructure and 3rd party systems using open standards and technologies

Hosted Managed Service

We host in our Azure modern cloud, managing all updates, security and performance SLA with 24/7 support


Multilingual solution supporting English and French at the TBS guideline level

Search Facets

Improved search experience and search results with relevant search facets and filters based on proper content architecture


Mobile friendly and responsive website with custom behaviors for mobile devices to even further simplify the user experience

Data APIs

Open Drupal API drive both inbound and outbound structured dataset web services for partners

Solution Training

Live training for content contributors to manage content with recorded screencast for ease of reference

Quality Assurance Report

Compliance and QA reporting on cross-browser testing, mobile testing and accessibility (WCAG 2.1 AA)


Agile Project management, part of weekly status updates

Technologies & Accessibility

Under the hood powered by OpenSource

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