Importing Cosmetics into Canada

Importing-Cosmetics into Canada
Trade Talk Blog • August 5, 2021


he cosmetics market value in Canada is estimated to be worth 19.73 billion CAD in 2021, increasing about 5.38 billion CAD in just 6 years. By the end of December 2020, there were 1,849 cosmetics, beauty supplies and perfume stores across Canada to cater for this growing sector.

Importing cosmetics into Canada can be complex because of strict regulations and acts imposed by the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) and Health Canada. But if you know what to expect and what is required, you should have no problem throughout the importing process.

This article will help you understand all the rules related to importing cosmetics into Canada and ensure you do not face any issues or penalties during the process.

But first, let us understand what products are considered cosmetics by CBSA.

How does CBSA define cosmetic products?

According to Canada’s Food and Drugs Act, cosmetic products include “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”.

What are the regulations for importing cosmetic products into Canada?

The Food and Drugs Act provides importation specifications for cosmetic products and their manufacturing, packing, storing, selling, and labelling requirements.

Before selling cosmetic products in Canada, you need to review the Food and Drugs Act and the Cosmetics Regulations to ensure your products are compliant with their requirements. These necessitate that cosmetics are manufactured, prepared, preserved, packed, and stored under sanitary conditions.

As an importer or manufacturer of cosmetic goods, you are required to:

  • Provide a list of the ingredients used in your products.
  • Notify Health Canada about the products you are selling.

Submitting a Cosmetics Notification Form (CNF)

Notifying Health Canada is a crucial step in the process of importing cosmetic products. If you are a cosmetics importer or manufacturer, you will need to submit a Cosmetic Notification Form (CNF) to Health Canada within 10 days after you first sell a cosmetic. Without submitting a CNF, your cosmetic products may be denied entry into Canada or removed from sale.

Health Canada must be notified about any modifications in product formulation, discontinuation of sale, or change in product name, company name, address, or contact information. You can do this by amending and re-submitting your CNF.

Reviewing the Cosmetic Ingredients Hotlist

The ingredients of the cosmetic products that you import into Canada must be compliant with Section 16 of the Food and Drugs Act, which stipulates that all cosmetics manufactured, imported, or offered for sale in Canada must be safe for use.

Health Canada uses the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist (known as Hotlist) to communicate the ingredients that are either prohibited or restricted for use in cosmetics. As an importer or manufacturer, you should review the Hotlist before importation and ensure your cosmetics do not include prohibited or restricted ingredients.

Chemicals used in manufacturing Cosmetic Products

Any chemicals used in your imported cosmetics may be subject to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. You can contact your customs broker to help ensure your cosmetics products are compliant with the Act.

Safety Data Sheet

Canada supports and complies with the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals to define and classify hazards in international format.

All products and materials controlled by WHMIS and covered by the Hazardous Products Act must have a Safety Data Sheet.

The Safety Data Sheet provides information about the hazard of a product and safety precautions. Prepared by the manufacturer or supplier, the Sheet must be accessible to all users and written in both official languages: English and French.

Labelling requirements for imported cosmetic products

The labels on imported cosmetic products must comply with the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Cosmetic Regulations. The labels should be clearly legible for the entire life of the product and must include the following details:

  • Name of manufacturer
  • Address of manufacturer
  • Generic name
  • Function of cosmetic
  • Ingredients
  • Product formulation
  • Net quantity in metric units
  • Avoidable hazards and cautions

According to the Guide to Cosmetic Ingredient Labelling, labels must be written in English and French, except for products with ingredients listed in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI). Any ingredient that has no INCI name must be listed by its chemical name.


While the regulations of importing cosmetic products into Canada may appear constraining at first, they are easy to follow and comply with with the support of our Global Trade Services (GTS) team.


Rhonda Galbraith | Manager, GHY’s Global Trade Services (GTS) Division

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