Cosmetics regulations – Canada

The Cosmetic Regulations of the Food and Drugs Act require that cosmetics sold in Canada be manufactured, prepared, preserved, packed and stored under sanitary conditions. In addition, manufacturers must notify Health Canada that they are selling the product and provide a list of its ingredients. This helps ensure that cosmetics sold to consumers in Canada are safe to use and do not pose any health risks.

Manufacturers and importers must complete Cosmetic Notification Forms (CNF) to provide specific product information to Health Canada, including purpose, form, and ingredients of the cosmetic, and concentrations of the ingredients. However, submitting the CNF does not constitute approval for sale, since the product must comply with all regulations. Additionally, manufacturers and importers need to ensure that their cosmetic products do not contain ingredients listed on the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist, which is comprised of prohibited and restricted substances, or substances that are not on the Domestic Substances List (DSL). If a cosmetic contains an ingredient that is not on the DSL, a company may have to submit a New Substance Notification (NSN).

TSG can help

Our regulatory and scientific experts can help you get your cosmetic products to market. We can:

  • Develop and review labels
  • Review ingredients against DSL and the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist
  • Prepare and submit Cosmetic Notification Forms and New Substance Notifications

Need help ensuring your cosmetic products comply with Canadian regulations?

Why TSG

TSG provides companies with high-quality regulatory and scientific consulting services. We aim to understand our clients' goals and objectives, learn the scientific and technical aspects of projects and anticipate compliance challenges to plan a strategic path forward. TSG's team of experts is deadline-focused, responsive and committed to professionalism. We have the utmost respect for the confidentiality of our work, strong project management skills, and take great measure to cultivate long-term partnerships with clients.

Our professionals

TSG’s cosmetics team specializes in assisting companies with cosmetic notification submissions, as well as label compliance issues. Our Canadian team is led by Laurie Tyo, who has over 20 years of experience assisting clients in the preparation of Canadian registration applications.

Useful information

Frequently asked questions

Yes – the product label and ingredients require review for Canadian compliance. You will need to complete a Cosmetic Notification Form for each product, as well as ensure that they do not contain ingredients listed on the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. If an ingredient is on this list, or is not on the Domestic Substances List, you may need to submit a New Substance Notification. At TSG, we can assist you through the review and submission process.

The INCI system is the official dictionary for cosmetic ingredients. Companies intending to sell cosmetics need to use the official INCI name of the ingredients on the label. TSG’s cosmetics team routinely checks ingredients against INCI, either as an independent service or as part of the process in bringing a cosmetic product to market.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist is a tool that Health Canada uses to communicate to manufacturers and others that certain substances may be prohibited or restricted for use in cosmetics. It is a science-based document that is reviewed and updated periodically, for example when new scientific data becomes available.

DSL is an inventory of around 23,000 substances manufactured in, imported into or used in Canada. If a cosmetic contains an ingredient that is not on the DSL, a company may be required to submit a New Substance Notification (NSN). Our team of consultants can review your product’s ingredients against DSL and advise whether you need to submit an NSN.

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