Health Canada's Cosmetics Program has the mandate to protect the health of Canadians by minimizing the risk associated with the use of cosmetics marketed in Canada. The program defines and communicates requirements for the manufacture, labelling, distribution and sale of cosmetics, and evaluates compliance. Enforcement is overseen by Product Safety Officers who manage inspections, investigations, seizures, recalls and prosecutions from the regional offices.
The basis for the regulatory authority for the Cosmetics Program comes from the Food and Drugs Act and Cosmetic Regulations. Cosmetics are defined as "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." This definition also includes cosmetics used by professional esthetic services, as well as bulk institutional products (e.g. handsoap in school restrooms).
Some products that appear to be a cosmetic may actually be regulated by other programs in Health Canada:
- Products that have a therapeutic claim or that contain certain ingredients that are not permitted in cosmetics are considered to be over-the-counter drugs and are handled by the Therapeutic Products Programme, for example sunscreens.
- Products containing natural therapeutic ingredients will be regulated by the Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate, for example many toothpastes.
- Items where ingestion is intentional and that do not have a therapeutic effect or claim fall under the Foods Program or Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
- Pesticides such as insect repellent fall under the jurisdiction of the
Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency.
- Products providing a therapeutic benefit to animals are regulated by the Veterinary Drugs Directorate.
See the Cosmetics section within Consumer Product Safety area for more information.
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