How To Import Natural Health Products Into Canada

Your how to guide on natural health products imports into Canada

When importing supplements, vitamins (vitamin D/b12, biotin, probiotics, magnesium, etc), minerals, fortified toiletries/beauty products/cosmetics, and other goods claiming to offer health benefits into Canada, you must know what government parties are involved, what regulations must be followed, and the process to import a natural health product into Canada.

Main Regulations:

  • Natural health products must meet the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act including labeling, licensing, and good manufacturing practices (GMP).
  • A Natural Health Product is any substance that falls under Schedule 1 of the Natural Health Products Regulations.
  • Commercial importers of Natural Health Products (NHP) must obtain a Natural Product Number (NPN).
  • The holder of the Natural Product Number (NPN) must have a Canadian business location or be distributed by a Canadian distributor under their NPN.
  • Importers must obtain a product license and site license to import NHP.

Import Fundamentals:

  • You will be acting as the Importer of Record. Therefore, you are the party ultimately responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the import declaration; as well as, the payment of applicable duties and taxes into Canada
  • Duty and tax must be paid upon importation into Canada.
  • The rate of duty is determined by the tariff of the commodity being imported, the value of the goods and, the origin of the goods.
  • Certain import documentation is required to be presented to the border services officer at the port of entry.
  • Your import may be subject to a customs review, inspection or audit prior to, or after the importation. Additional fees may be levied by the Government of Canada for these services.
  • You are required to keep your import records for six years following the date of import and can be audited by Customs at any point during this time.

FAQ: Natural Health Products Imports

What Is Considered A Natural Health Product?
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A Natural Health Product (NHP) is any substance or a combination of substances, listed in Schedule 1 of the Natural Health Products Regulations that are homeopathic or have medicinal qualities that claim:
  • To diagnose, treat, prevent disease, disorder, or an abnormal physical state in people
  • Corrects or restores an aspect of the human body
  • Enhances or modifies human function or health
A database of Natural Health Products that are already licensed can be found on Health Canada’s Licensed Natural Health Products Database
What Is A Natural Product Number?
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A Natural Product Number is an 8 digit code that is assigned to a product by Health Canada after they have assessed a product and decided it is safe, effective and of high quality. This number must appear on the Natural Health Products’ label and lets consumers know that the product has been reviewed and approved by Health Canada for use in Canada.

Do I Need A Natural Product Number?
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Yes, if you plan on commercially importing substances that claim a medical benefit you must have a Natural Product Number (NPN) or a Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) prior to selling these goods in Canada.

How Do I Know If My Product Falls Under Schedule 1 Or 2 Of The Natural Health Products Regulations?
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Natural Health Products falling under Schedule 1 typically include supplements, medicines, or vitamins but can include beauty products that include extracts of materials claiming to benefit the user in appearance.

Natural Health Products falling under Schedule 2 is a list of excluded substances that ARE NOT considered NHPs.

Review the Natural Health Products regulations on the Government of Canada’s Justice Laws Website.

How Do I Obtain A Natural Product Number?
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A Natural Product Number is issued by Health Canada at the conclusion of a review of the Natural Product License application.

What Are The Labeling Requirements Of Natural Health Products?
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All Natural Health Products sold in Canada must have the following information listed in a contrasting color from the background:

  • Both English and french labeling
  • Declaration of the identity of the goods
  • Description of the substance (if unobvious or in an opaque package)
  • Quantity of the product
  • NPN number
  • Company or distributor of the goods in Canada with address
  • Ingredients
  • Recommended use/directions of use
How do I obtain a product and site license?
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A product license can be applied for here and must include your company contact information, brand name, recommended use, directions of use, a detailed list of ingredients and all claims the product makes for improved health or function as well as some other information that proves its effectiveness, quality, and safety. If the application is approved, an NPN or Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) will be issued.

To obtain a site license please review the Guidance Document on using epost Connect™ email service. You must detail adherence to the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Quality Assurance Report regulations. A single site license can be applied for all Canadian site operations or one license for each.

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