Labelling requirements for cosmetics sold in Canada

Labelling requirements for cosmetic products sold in Canada are described in the following regulations:

  • the Food and Drugs Act and the Cosmetic Regulations
  • the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations
  • the Hazardous Products Act and the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulation

The Food and Drugs Act and the Cosmetic Regulations regulate the classification and labelling of cosmetics. They also address the issues of product safety, composition and advertising. The Cosmetic Regulations also include warnings and symbols that need to appear on pressurized containers.

The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations prescribe information that must appear on the label of a product. Furthermore, the Act and Regulations also address false or misleading representation of the cosmetic product.

Canadian cosmetics legislation has rules on where certain information has to appear on the labelling. It is, therefore, important to be familiar with the terms such as principal display surface (PDS), principal display panel (PDP), inner label and outer label.

It is important to know that, some information listed on the label has to appear both in English and French.

Information that needs to appear on the PDP:

  • Product identity (unless it is obvious): Common or generic name of cosmetics, or a statement of a cosmetic’s function has to appear both in English and French.
  • Net quantity (in metric units). It is important to note that there needs to be a space between the number and the metric symbol or word. If written in words, it has to appear both in English and French.

Other information that needs to appear on the label:

  • Name and address of the manufacturer/Canadian dealer: Can appear anywhere on the outside surface of the package, except on the bottom. May appear in English, French or both.
  • Avoidable hazards and cautions: If any avoidable hazards are associated with the use of a product, the label has to include warnings on how to use the product to eliminate the risk (instructions for use, cautions, symbols etc.) Regulation includes precautions that have to be included on the label of the following products: hair dyes, mercury containing products, genital deodorants in pressurized containers, pressurized metal containers, flammable products in pressurized metal containers and mouthwashes. Warnings have to appear both in English and French.
  • Ingredient list: Ingredients with the concentration above 1 % have to be listed in a descending order of predominance. Ingredients with a concentration below 1% can be listed in any order after those with a concentration above 1%. Fragrances or flavours have to be listed using the words “perfume” or “aroma”. Colouring agents should be listed as CI numbers of colour names (formerly FD&C names). Ingredients that are listed in the schedule of the Cosmetic Regulations (Appendix 1) can either be listed by their EU trivial names or by the appropriate English and French equivalents, or all 3 terms may be used together.