Selling consumer products and cosmetics online: Information for online marketplaces and online sellers

This document offers best practices for online marketplaces and online sellers of consumer products and cosmetics to help them:

Product safety is in everyone's best interest. Unsafe products can cause serious injuries to consumers, and in the worst cases, lead to death. Children and the elderly can be particularly vulnerable.

No matter where you are located in the world, if you operate an online marketplace or sell consumer products or cosmetics to Canadian consumers online, be aware of Canadian product safety laws and regulations and comply with them.

The information in this document is not intended to substitute, supersede, or limit the requirements under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act or Food and Drugs Act. In case of any discrepancy between this document and the legislation, the legislation will prevail. The examples provided in this document do not represent an exhaustive means of complying with the legislation.

This document provides information about the safety requirements that apply under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and the Food and Drugs Act.

Please note that other federal, provincial, territorial and municipal laws may also regulate consumer products or their use. Information about these laws may be obtained by contacting the relevant jurisdiction directly.

This document may be updated from time to time without notice. For the most recent version, consult the consumer product safety reports.

Whether you are an online seller or are hosting third-party sellers through your online marketplace, here are some actions you can take to help increase the safety of products you advertise, sell or supply online.

Prevent, detect and respond to product safety issues

Prevent consumer product and cosmetic product safety issues

Detect and respond to consumer product and cosmetic product safety issues

Co-operate with Health Canada

Empower consumers on product safety issues

Consumer product and cosmetic product safety laws in Canada

This section provides information about the safety requirements that apply under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and the Food and Drugs Act. Other federal, provincial, territorial and municipal laws may also regulate consumer products, cosmetic products or their use. Information about these laws may be obtained by contacting the relevant jurisdiction directly.

The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) and its regulations help protect the public from dangers to health or safety posed by consumer products in Canada. The Food and Drugs Act (FDA) and its Cosmetic Regulations establish a framework to protect the public from health or safety risks posed by cosmetics in Canada. Health Canada's Consumer Product Safety Program (CPSP) administers and enforces the CCPSA and its regulations and the cosmetic provisions of the FDA and its Cosmetic Regulations.

The CCPSA applies to you if you manufacture, package, label, test, import, advertise or sell/distribute consumer products to consumers in Canada.

The FDA and the Cosmetic Regulations apply to you if you manufacture, package, label, import for sale, advertise, or sell/distribute cosmetics to consumers in Canada.

The laws apply to both new and used consumer products and cosmetics.

In broad terms, regulated parties are responsible for:

Refer to the applicable legislation for complete and detailed information regarding legal obligations under the CCPSA and its regulations, and the cosmetic provisions of the FDA and its Cosmetic Regulations.

Health Canada has created guides to help understand legislative requirements. For further information refer to the resources below or contact a regional Health Canada Consumer Product Safety Office via email (cps-spc@hc-sc.gc.ca) or telephone at 1-866-662-0666 (toll-free within Canada and the United States).

Information resources

Federal Consumer Product and Cosmetic Product Safety Legislation

General resources

Guidance documents

Appendix 1: Definitions

Consumer product: Under the CCPSA, a consumer product means a "product, including its components, parts or accessories, that may reasonably be expected to be obtained by an individual to be used for non-commercial purposes, including for domestic, recreational and sports purposes, and includes its packaging." Schedule 1 of the Act lists products to which the Act does not apply. Examples of these products are explosives, cosmetics, drugs, food, medical devices, and ammunition, all of which are regulated under other legislation.

Cosmetic: Under the FDA, a cosmetic includes "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."

Online marketplace: A type of online sales platform that facilitates e-commerce transactions between third-party sellers and consumers.

Third-party sellers: Domestic and foreign parties that use online marketplaces (that are not their own) to advertise and sell their goods.

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