How To Import Sanitizers And Disinfectants Into Canada

Your how to guide on sanitizers and disinfectants imports into Canada

If you are importing sanitizers and disinfectants into Canada, you must know what government parties are involved, what regulations must be followed, and the fundamental aspects of medical supply imports.

If you are importing medical supplies, please review How To Import Medical Supplies Into Canada.

If you are importing medical supplies into the US, please visit How To Import Medical Supplies Into The US.

Parties Involved:

Main Regulations:

  • Hand sanitizers and Disinfectants (including disinfectant wipes) are regulated by Health Canada.
  • Alcohol based Hand Sanitizer is a Natural Health Product (NHP) if it contains:

    1) Ethanol, also known as “anhydrous alcohol”, “ethyl alcohol”, or “grain alcohol”.

    2) Isopropanol, also known as “isopropyl alcohol” or “2-propanol”.

    In order to import these products you will need a Health Canada issued Site Licence (SL) with the foreign manufacturer of the sanitizer listed on the SL. The product will need to be registered with Health Canada and be issued a Natural Products Number (NPN) number.
  • Disinfectants (including wipes) and other hand sanitizers are regulated by Health Canada as non-prescription drugs. The importer is required to have a Health Canada issued Establishment Licence (EL) and the product itself will need to be registered with Health Canada and have a Drug Identification Number (DIN).
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Health Canada is prioritizing applications and expediting the process to obtain the required authorizations.
  • They are also authorizing the importation and sale of some products that do not fully meet the regulatory requirements such as those that: 

    1) may have:
         - English-only labelling
         - different packaging from what was authorized for sale in Canada

    2) are authorized or registered in other jurisdictions where the regulatory frameworks and quality assurances are similar
  • For more information on expedited processing due to the COVID-19 pandemic see Health Canada's site on Hard Surface Disinfectants and Hand Sanitizers or contact Health Canada directly by email at

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: Sanitizers And Disinfectants Imports

How long will it take to obtain the required license from Health Canada?
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General service standards are 120 days however due to the COVID-19 pandemic Health Canada is prioritizing applications and expediting the process to obtain the required authorizations.

Do my hand sanitizers or disinfectants have duty on them?
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, CBSA has provided duty relief for some Hand Sanitizers and Disinfectants entering Canada. This means that these items will not be subject to customs duties at time of entry into Canada during the pandemic.

For further information, please review HS Tariff Classification and Duty Rates

Do my hand sanitizers or disinfectants have GST on them?
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If these goods are imported on behalf of or for use by federal, provincial or municipal entities involved such as centres for health care as well as by or on behalf of members of first response organizations such as police, fire and local civil defence groups, including medical response teams or care residences, such as seniors’ residences, retirement homes, nursing homes and shelters they may also maybe eligible for remission of the taxes as well.

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