Canadian flag blowing in the wind against blue sky representing the Government of Canada which regulates all cosmetic products.
Author

Jaclyn Bellomo

Senior Director of Cosmetic Science and Regulatory Affairs

Cosmetics Regulations in Canada

Jun 5, 2024

Cosmetics sold in Canada are regulated by Health Canada under the cosmetics regulations, which originally came into force under the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) in 1977.

The Canadian cosmetics market is currently worth approximately $1.43 billion U.S. dollars as of 2024 and is expected to reach around $1.7 billion by 2027. The increasing demand for innovative cosmetic products and online access are key contributing factors to market growth in Canada [1].

The FDA, formally known as an Act respecting Food, Drugs, Cosmetics, and Therapeutic Devices, is enforced by Canadian parliamentary bodies regarding the production, import, export, and transport of products across all provinces.

The cosmetic regulations under the FDA help cosmetic companies and manufacturers protect consumers from health risks associated with the use of cosmetic products marketed in Canada [2].

What Is a Cosmetic According to Cosmetics Regulations In Canada?

The Canadian FDA considers cosmetics as personal care products and describes them as substances or a combination of substances manufactured, sold, or represented for use in cleansing, improving, or altering the complexion, skin, hair, or teeth and includes deodorants and perfumes [3].

This includes cosmetics products sold online, in retail stores, used on consumers as a treatment by aestheticians, and artisanal, handmade cosmetics. As in most countries, the classification of the cosmetic product can often depend on the claims made about its performance and function; examples of cosmetic products include make-up, skincare, fragrance, haircare, and manicure products.

The cosmetics regulations within the Canadian FDA regulate the compliance of cosmetic products based on the ingredients, claims, and product labeling.

Regulators monitor cosmetics that are manufactured and sold within Canada as well as those that are imported. All cosmetic products marketed on the Canadian market must comply with cosmetic regulations as well as the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act.

Product Safety and Good Manufacturing Practices

The most important regulatory requirement of cosmetics in Canada is that cosmetic products sold on the Canadian market are manufactured, prepared, preserved, packed, and stored under sanitary conditions.

The safety of the cosmetic product is the responsibility of the product manufacturer. When used correctly as described on the labeling and as intended, a cosmetic product must not pose a risk to the consumer’s health and safety.

All cosmetic manufacturers are encouraged to follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding the quality and safety of their finished products.

Restricted and Prohibited Ingredients

Health Canada maintains quite a broad list of restricted or prohibited ingredients that cosmetic products should not contain, can contain only up to a certain maximum concentration, or may contain under certain conditions.

In Canada, the restricted or prohibited list of ingredients is referred to as the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. The cosmetic ingredients on this hotlist are either completely banned or are limited in how they are used, containing only ingredients used intentionally, along with the warnings that have to be displayed about the use of such ingredients [4].

Canadian Cosmetic Regulations currently prohibit or restrict 573 ingredients. By comparison, the EU prohibits or restricts more than 1,700 ingredients. Furthermore, ingredients in Canadian cosmetic products must be included on the Domestic Substance List (DSL).

Innovative cosmetic ingredients that are new to Canada and not a part of the DSL must be submitted by cosmetic companies and manufacturers through a New Substance Notification form.

Cosmetics Product Labeling

The labeling of cosmetic products in Canada is governed by the FDA/Cosmetic Regulations, the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act, and the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Regulations [5].

Though each Act and regulation has its own approach and process to follow, the Cosmetic Regulations in Canada under the FDA require all cosmetic product labels to be clearly labeled and to distinctly list all product ingredients.

The label must be clear and consistent, adhere to the established standards, and convey any potential health risks to consumers [4]. Additionally, the cosmetic product labels must be in both English and French, except for the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) ingredient names.

According to Canadian cosmetic law, the labels must include [4]:

Name and address of the manufacturer(s)

  • Identity of the cosmetic product, its name, and function
  • The full list of ingredients by INCI name
  • Product net quantity: in metric units of measure in English and French
  • Listed avoidable hazards, warning, and cautions

Health Canada Inspections

Under Health Canada’s Cosmetics Regulations, the Canadian regulatory body reserves the right to conduct regular inspections of cosmetic products sold in Canada to make sure they remain compliant.

Also, all cosmetic products imported from abroad into Canada are subject to inspection upon notification of intent to sell within the Canadian market [5]. The manufacturer of the cosmetic product must allow its product, ingredients, and procedures surrounding its production to be reviewed to determine compliance with Canadian regulations.

Cosmetic Product Notification

There is no pre-market registration for cosmetics in Canada, or a notification process as extensive as the European Union’s (EU) cosmetic products notification portal (CPNP) system. However, all cosmetic companies selling products on the Canadian market, whether manufactured in Canada or abroad, must notify Health Canada.

This can be prepared and submitted by a cosmetic product manufacturer, Canadian importer, or notifier who acts on behalf of a manufacturer or Canadian importer, using an online portal known as the Cosmetic Notification Form (CNF) [6]. The cosmetic company or manufacturer is essentially responsible for product safety and must assure that the product complies with the Cosmetic Regulations in Canada before being placed on the Canadian market for sale.

As per Cosmetic Regulations, the CNF must be submitted within 10 days of being placed on the Canadian market. The information that needs to be provided on the CNF includes:

  • The address and contact information of the manufacturer(s), importer(s), distributor(s), and formulator(s)
  • The function of the cosmetic product
  • The category of the cosmetic product (for example, moisturizer)
  • The full ingredient list of the cosmetic product
  • The concentration of each ingredient used within the product formulation.

Whenever there is a change to the information on a CNF, cosmetic companies, manufacturers, or importers need to amend the CNF and resubmit changes to Health Canada [7].

Some examples include a product name change, discontinuation of the product, modification of the product’s formulation, or changes to the cosmetic company details such as the business name, address, or the notifier’s contact information.

The notification of a cosmetic product does not necessarily mean that the product is automatically approved by Health Canada and is deemed that the cosmetic product complies with all the requirements of the Canadian Cosmetic Regulations [7].

Meeting Health Canada Requirements with Cosmetri

Registrar Corp’s cosmetics formulation and GMP software helps U.S. and non-U.S. personal care product importers gain and maintain compliance with Health Canada regulations.

Cosmetri compliance features include:

  • Canada cosmetic product ingredient hotlist update biannually
  • Ingredients watch and compliance checker
  • Customizable compliance zones and policies
  • Advisory lists
  • GMP compliance for ISO 22716

Learn more about how Cosmetri can prepare your products for the Canadian market by requesting a demo today.


Footnotes:

[1] Cosmetics industry in Canada – statistics & facts

[2] Frequently Asked Questions – Cosmetic Regulations

[3] Regulatory information for cosmetics

[4] Canada Cosmetic Regulations and Registration CNF

[5] How to register your cosmetic products in Canada

[6] Notification of Cosmetics

[7] Regulatory information for cosmetics

Author


Jaclyn Bellomo

Senior Director of Cosmetic Science and Regulatory Affairs

A seasoned expert on the cosmetic industry, Jaclyn's deep understanding and insights on cosmetic regulations brought on with the passage of the Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act (MoCRA) are unmatched. Her experience and reputation throughout the global cosmetic industry helps companies worldwide meet the newly enacted FDA regulations under MoCRA.

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