Launching consultations on mandatory labelling for chemicals in consumer products, like cosmetics and cleaning products, and better supply chain transparency

News release

March 4, 2022 – Gatineau, Quebec

Canadians deserve to know what chemicals are in the consumer products they purchase and use in their everyday lives, whether at home or at work, especially if these products may have impacts on human health or the environment.

To that end, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, and the Minister of Health, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, announced today the launch of national consultations on improved and mandatory labelling for certain consumer products, including cosmetics, cleaning products, and flame retardants in upholstered furniture. The consultations will also seek views on how the Government can take action to improve information about chemicals in product supply chains. The consultations will take place through a series of workshops and interactive events between now and summer 2022.

The Government of Canada is already taking action to require more explicit labelling of fragrance allergens in cosmetics, with the planned publication of proposed amendments to the Cosmetic Regulations by summer 2022.

Additional actions will include the publication of a Notice of Intent for the labelling of toxic substances in consumer products, including flame retardants in upholstered furniture, by summer 2022. The Notice of Intent will include information on regulatory timelines and will be complementary to the work the Government continues to do on prioritizing the assessment and management of flame retardants under the Chemicals Management Plan.

The Government will also develop and publish a broader strategy in 2023 outlining a suite of policy actions to improve the availability of information on chemicals in consumer products throughout the supply chain, for the benefit of consumers, businesses, and governments. These actions may include legislation or regulations, as well as voluntary and collaborative initiatives.

The consultations launched today will support the above actions and help identify ways to address both the growing public demand for readily accessible information on chemicals in consumer products and the need for better ingredient disclosure to enable the informed substitution of toxic chemicals with safer alternatives. The consultations will offer interested stakeholders and the general public an opportunity to provide their input on how information on chemical ingredients in various consumer products should be disclosed, for example, through labelling or via links to online information. The Government will bring forward options to require mandatory labelling of certain products by spring 2023.

Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada have engaged Wood Canada Limited to lead the consultations in a policy lab format in order to address these complex challenges. The policy lab goes beyond what traditional consultations offer by bringing together experts and interested parties in broad discussions and focus groups and by using digital tools to explore and test potential solutions as they are being developed.

To participate in the consultations, interested parties are invited to identify themselves on the virtual consultation platform or by email at policylab@woodplc.com no later than March 25, 2022.

Quotes

“Canadians rightfully want to understand what is in the products they purchase. The Government is engaging with Canadians and businesses to advance further mandatory labelling in certain household products. This will help inform Canadians and reduce the health and environmental risks posed by chemicals.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“We are taking action to keep Canadians and our environment healthy and safe by improving information and labelling on certain consumer products. These consultations will assist in finding the path forward to enhance transparency on the presence of chemicals, helping Canadians make informed decisions.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • A Health Canada survey from 2017 found that 48 percent of Canadians look to product labels for information on health risks.

  • These consultations support Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan, which aims to assess and reduce environmental and human health risks posed by chemical substances and organisms. To date, the Chemicals Management Plan has addressed approximately 4,300 priority chemicals and managed the risk of hundreds of new substances that enter the Canadian market each year.

  • Flame-retardant substances are a diverse group of chemicals that can be added to manufactured material for the purpose of slowing the ignition and spread of fire. The Government continues to assess and address risks posed by flame retardants on a priority basis under the Chemicals Management Plan.

  • Canada has a robust labelling regime for workplace hazardous products, but some products used in the workplace may not be subject to these requirements. Work is underway to explore extending these requirements to consumer products that are used in workplaces.

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Contacts

Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-230-1557
Kaitlin.Power@ec.gc.ca

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
media@ec.gc.ca

Marie-France Proulx
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983
media@hc-sc.gc.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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