Cosmetic products sold in Canada are under supervision of Health Canada. They must comply with the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act, Cosmetic Regulations and Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act. In addition, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act may apply to any chemicals found in cosmetics.

Definition of Cosmetics Product
The Food and Drugs act defines a cosmetic as ‘’any substance or mixture of substances, manufactured, sold or represented for use in cleansing, improving or altering the complexion, skin, hair or teeth and includes deodorants and perfumes.” This includes handmade cosmetics sold at craft sales or home-based businesses, products used by professionals as well as bulk institutional products (e.g. hand soap in schools).

It is important to note that depending on the claims and ingredients of a product can be regulated as a cosmetic or a drug.

Safety Requirements

Manufacturers should ensure that their products, which are being placed on the Canadian market, are safe for consumers when used as intended. To ensure that the products do not pose any health risks, they must be manufactured, prepared, preserved, packed and stored under clean conditions. However, the legislation does not set out exactly how the safety of the products should be proven.

There is a list of ingredients (Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist) related to prohibited and restricted ingredients for use in cosmetic products, which also includes any warnings that need be displayed on the product if it contains certain ingredients.

Cosmetic products must comply with labelling requirements set out by the Food and Drugs Act, the Cosmetic Regulation, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations, the Hazardous Products Act andthe Consumers Chemicals and Containers Regulations. Attention should be paid to the sections that must be written in English and in French.

Notification Process

Cosmetics must be notified to Health Canada within 10 days after they are first being sold in Canada. If not, they may be denied entry into Canada or removed from sale.

Notification of cosmetics can be done by manufacturers, importers or a notifier acting on behalf of the manufacturer or importer, through filling of the Cosmetic Notification Form (CFN). Information that has to be provided on the CFN includes product identity, date of first sale in Canada, product function and form, product ingredients and their concentration, contact information of the manufacturer/importer/distributor and some additional documents and pictures for certain products.

However, notification of cosmetics does not mean that the products are approved by Health Canada and that they comply with all requirements. Responsibility of a product compliance and safety lies with the manufacturer, who has to ensure that their cosmetics are safe, and they meet the legal requirements.

For a detail information, please contact with us.