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Food and beverage, cosmetic and retail industries

Canadian Regulations for Cosmetic Products at a Glance

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  • March 21, 2018
Canadian regulations for cosmetic products

One of the most important component of new product development concerns the product compliance in the country where it is going to be sold. Indeed, each country has its own regulations especially when it comes to product formulation and consumers safety.

Canadian regulations are slightly different from the USA but not as strict as the ones in force in the European Union. For example, we count more than 1700 ingredients prohibited or restricted in the EU whereas only 573 ingredients are listed in the Canadian’s Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist.

Canadian landscape for cosmetic regulations

As defined by The Food and Drugs Act, a cosmetic product is a “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”. All cosmetics products sold in Canada must be manufactured, prepared, preserved, packed and stored under sanitary conditions. And manufacturers should submit evidence to establish the safety of the product only upon request from the minister.

They are regulated by different Acts and organizations such as:

  • The Cosmetic regulations under The Food and Drugs Act: global regulations around cosmetic products in Canada, including importation specification, sales, labelling, product and packaging safety
  • The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act: details of how a product should be advertised including labelling, packaging and product ads
  • The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA): related to any chemicals found in the cosmetic product and its respect of the environment following the Project Green engagement
  • New Substances Notification (NSN) Regulations: all chemical or polymer that are not registered on the Domestic Substances List (DSL) should be submitted as a new substance on the NSN and provided to the Minister of the Environment to protect consumers’ safety
  • Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS): Canadian government has aligned its Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) with the GHS to define and classify hazards with an international format – implemented by the United Nations.

Each Act and regulations as its own approach and process to follow, that’s why a deep understanding of each one is necessary before commercializing any cosmetic product within Canada.

Main regulations to follow to be compliant

The Cosmetic Notification Form (CNF)

As defined per section 30 and 31 of the Cosmetic Regulations under the Food and Drugs Act, each new cosmetic product sold in Canada must be notified, within 10 days, to Health Canada by submitting a Cosmetic Notification Form (CNF). It does not only concern new product but also any changes affecting the CNF such as modification of the formulation, change of the product name, discontinuation of sale or new company name, address or contact information. In each of these cases, the manufacturer or importer should amend and resubmit the CNF to Health Canada.

The CNF, is an online form including 9 different sections that requests the following information:

  • Name/address of the manufacturer
  • Name of the product
  • Product function and area of application – e.g. body, eyes, face, etc.
  • List of ingredients with exact concentration
  • The form of the cosmetic – e.g. is that a cream or a gel?
  • Name and address in Canada of the manufacturer, importer or distributor
  • Name and address of the formulator if different from manufacturer

Filling the CNF does not guarantee that your product is safe to use and sell in Canada it must comply with the requirements of the Food and Drug act and its Cosmetic Regulations.

The Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

As per most countries in the world and following Canada’s alignment with GHS, every material controlled by the WHMIS  and covered by the Hazardous Products Act must be associated with a SDS.

SDSs are a bunch of documents providing information about the hazard of a product and advice users on its safety precautions. Most of the time, there are written by manufacturers or products’ suppliers and must be accessible to every user.

The information and documents provided on the SDS must be in both official languages of Canada, English and French. The SDS should always be updated if any changes occur to the hazardous product.

It should include – for more details visit the CCOHS website:

  • Product identification: product name, manufacturer(s) and supplier(s) names, addresses, and emergency phone numbers
  • Hazard identification: classification, labelling, etc.
  • Composition/Information on ingredients
  • First-aid measures
  • Fire-fighting measures
  • Accidental release measures
  • Handling and storage
  • Exposure controls/Personal protection
  • Physical and chemical properties: appearance, odor, etc.
  • Stability ad reactivity: possible hazardous reactions, etc.
  • Toxicological information
  • Ecological information (optional)
  • Disposal consideration (optional)
  • Transport information (optional)

Cosmetic product labeling in Canada

Each country as its own labeling regulations and Canada is not an exception. Indeed, we can find few specificities to the Canadian cosmetic product labeling.

Product labeling should be compliant with the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and the Cosmetic Regulations under the Food and Drugs Act. Except for INCI ingredient names, all labels must be written in English and French and clearly legible during the entire product life.

It should include:

  • Name an address of the manufacturer
  • Identity of the cosmetic: generic name and function
  • List of ingredients: only by its INCI name – it must be listed in descending order or predominance
  • Product formulation
  • Product net quantity: in metric units of measure in English and French
  • Avoidable hazards and cautions

Regulations around cosmetic products are quite complex as each Act has its own regulations and each country its own Acts. But even when the compliance process is identified and clear, challenge is to find the right information for the right document. Lascom PLM software helps to gather product and raw material information from any of your partner in order to compile the required dossier. Download our brochure and learn how you can optimize your data management and make sure that your products are compliant.

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