Self-care product consultation summary: Toronto

Public consultation sessions to discuss the modernization of self-care product regulation were held in Toronto, Ontario on May 2 and 3, 2017.

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Consultation summary

To modernize self-care regulation in Canada, we asked consumers and other stakeholders for input on a policy proposal.

We thank everyone who participated in these sessions. The feedback received will continue to shape the regulation of self-care products in Canada.


The number of participants who attended the consultations in Toronto was as follows:

  • 69 on May 2, 2017
  • 100 on May 3, 2017

People who attended the consultation included:

  • academics
  • consumers
  • health care providers
  • business representatives
  • representatives of professional associations 

To protect the privacy of consultation participants, their names will not be shared.

Key issues discussed

During the consultation we delivered a presentation on the context of the sessions and on the policy proposal, including:

  • a two-class system of risk level, including safety and failed product efficacy
  • acceptable claims within each of the two classes
  • unique label identifiers and statements on labels to help consumers easily identify products
  • compliance and enforcement measures to address safety concerns

Feedback: what we heard

We have included a brief summary of what we heard from participants at the public consultation sessions in Toronto.

Consultation and engagement

Participants at the public consultations said they:

  • liked having the opportunity to hear balanced and diverse views
  • wanted more time for discussion when there are larger audiences
  • appreciated Health Canada’s openness and willingness to hear their comments

Participants at the public consultations want Health Canada to:

  • include points of view from consumers and health care providers
  • ensure that future rounds of consultation offer opportunities for small group discussions
  • organize targeted focus groups and awareness and education activities for consumers and health care providers
  • share materials in advance

Policy Proposal

Participants at the public consultations said the policy proposal should:

  • consider that cosmetics, natural health products and non-prescription drugs should be grouped separately (some participants)
  • consider business impacts associated with
    • cost recovery
    • data protection
    • sampling and plain language labelling
    • challenges related to cross border shopping
  • address concerns about the quality of marketed products
  • acknowledge the importance of inspections and provide Health Canada with the ability to enforce the rules
  • consider that the addition of a unique identifier could help identify registered products, while being mindful of business impacts and the potential for added confusion in the marketplace
  • consider that symbols on the label may inform consumers’ decision-making and reduce the potential for confusion (some participants), or that qualifying statements might better support informed choices (some participants)
  • continue to pursue the two class approach, which is easy to understand (many participants)
  • give additional details to identify differences in pathways to bring products to market, while ensuring that Canadians are protected from ingredients of concern

For more information

Health Canada – Health Products and Food Branch
Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate
250 Lanark Avenue, A.L. 2003C
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0K9


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