Importing Cosmetics Into Canada

Importing Cosmetics Into Canada

If you are considering importing Cosmetics into Canada you should know cosmetics must meet the requirements of Canada’s Food and Drugs Act and Cosmetic Regulations.

What Is A Cosmetic?

Under Canada’s Food and Drugs Act, a cosmetic includes “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.”

More information and guidance on cosmetics can be found at Cosmetic-Drug Interface.

Canada’s Cosmetic Regulations

Cosmetics are regulated by Health Canada’s Cosmetic Regulations in the Canada Food and Drugs Act. These regulations set forth manufacturing, packing and storage requirements for cosmetics sold in Canada. The Regulations also set out the importation specifications, sales, and labeling of the product. In addition, the manufacturer must notify Health Canada about the cosmetic and provide a list of the cosmetic product’s ingredients.

More information about Canada’s Cosmetic’s Regulations can be found at Regulatory information for cosmetics.

The Cosmetic Notification Form (CNF)

The Cosmetics Regulations state each new cosmetic product sold in Canada must be reported, within 10 days, to Health Canada by submitting a Cosmetic Notification Form (CNF). It does not only apply to new products but also to any changes affecting the CNF such as the 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 Importer or Manufacturer must amend and resubmit the CNF to Health Canada. Suppliers/importers must notify Health Canada of all cosmetic products via a Cosmetic Notification Form. This form must be submitted prior to importing to Canada. Failure to notify may result in a product being denied entry into Canada or removed from sale. Filing the CNF does not guarantee that your product is safe to use and sell in Canada, the product must also comply with the requirements of the Food and Drug Act and its Cosmetic Regulations.

More information about the Cosmetic Notification Form can be found at Notification of Cosmetics.

Returning Online Goods? You Are Eligible For A Refund From CBSA

Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist: Prohibited And Restricted Ingredient

The composition of all cosmetics sold in Canada must comply with the Health Canada Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist, which lists ingredients that are prohibited or restricted for use. This list should be reviewed prior to any importation.

More information on the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist.

Cosmetic Labeling

Cosmetic labeling should be compliant with the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act and the Cosmetic Regulations under Canada’s Food and Drug Act. Except for INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) all labels must be written in English and French and clearly legible during the entire product life.

Product Labeling should include:

  • Name and address of Manufacturer
  • The generic name and function of the cosmetic
  • List of the ingredients (only by its INCI name and it must be in descending order or predominance)
  • Product formulation
  • Product net quantity, must be in metric units, in English and French
  • Avoidable hazards and cautions

For more information on Labeling: Industry Guide for the labelling of cosmetics

The Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Canada has aligned the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) to define and classify hazards with an international format. All materials controlled by the WHMIS and covered by the Hazardous Products Act must have a SDS.

An SDS provides information about the hazard of a product and advice to users on its safety precautions. These are generally written by the manufacturer or the supplier and must be accessible to all users. The information on the SDS must be in English and French and always updated should changes occur.

If there are chemicals found in the cosmetic product the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) will have regulations that need to be adhered to with the importation of the product.

As you can see importing of Cosmetics can be a complex undertaking. The Acts and Regulations surrounding the importation process and compliance can be daunting. If you need assistance navigating through this journey, our trusted Trade Advisors can help you.

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About the Author
Jan Brock

Jan Brock joined PCB Customs Brokers in 2015 as a Senior Trade Advisor. She retired from Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in 2015 after serving more than 37 years. Jan started her career with CBSA as a summer student in 1976 and worked part-time until she graduated from U.B.C. with a Bachelor of Education Degree in 1980 . Shortly after graduating from U.B.C. Jan worked full time as an inspector with CBSA and within three years was promoted to Superintendent. She served some time in the Regional Operations office as an Operations Review Officer before she was promoted to Chief of Operations first at the Customs Mail Centre, then in the Metro District as the Commercial Chief and ending her career as a Chief at Pacific Highway Commercial Operations where she served as Chief from 1992 to 2015. During her career she was a member of the Customs Drug Team and a trainer in the National Enforcement Program. Jan also served as the Regional Coordinator Officer Powers and Use of Force for the Pacific Region. Jan served on many Commercial Program Reviews and committees both national and regional during her career and possesses an expansive knowledge of importing and exporting into and from Canada.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.