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About biocides

As defined in the Biocides Regulations (regulations), biocides are drugs that are used to destroy or inactivate micro-organisms or reduce or control their number on a non-living and non-liquid surface. They help to prevent micro-organisms from spreading and reduce health risks. In other words, biocides are surface disinfectants and sanitizers.

Biocides come in formats that can be ready to use or that require mixing with water first.

There are biocides for different settings, for example:

Some biocides should only be used by trained professionals.

Biocides do not include products that are used:

Using biocides safely

Heath Canada only authorizes a biocide for sale if its benefits outweigh its risks, taking into account related uncertainties. This does not mean that biocides are free of risk. Risks may include:

Take these steps to minimize your risk:

Learn more:

You should report any side effects to your health care provider and to Health Canada.

Reporting side effects helps us:

Report a side effect

Authorized biocides

A biocide may currently be authorized under the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) or the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA).

Authorized biocides include:

Search these databases:

How biocides will be regulated in Canada as of May 31, 2025

The way biocides are regulated in Canada is changing. The Biocides Regulations were registered on May 31, 2024, and published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on June 19, 2024. The regulations will come into force on May 31, 2025.

Canada Gazette, Part II publication

Under these regulations, biocides must undergo a pre-market assessment with the NNHPD and be issued a market authorization before they can be imported, sold or advertised in Canada. As part of the pre-market assessment, we require that an application be filed for a market authorization, which includes detailed information on the biocide's safety, efficacy and quality.

Through this pre-market assessment, the Minister must issue a market authorization, in accordance with section 11 of the regulations, if the:

We will assign an 8-digit identification number to a biocide that has been issued a market authorization. This identification number must appear on the label and indicates it has been authorized for sale.

Inspectors will monitor and enforce the compliance of biocides with the FDA and the regulations through post-market regulatory activities. The Regulatory Operations and Enforcement Branch (ROEB) oversees these activities.

As well, the Marketed Health Products Directorate (MHPD):

Learn more about MHPD, ROEB and NNHPD:

How we authorize biocides between now and May 31, 2025

We will review all applications for surface disinfectants and sanitizers received before May 31, 2025, according to the FDR or PCPA. If approved, we will issue a drug identification number or a pest control product registration number, as appropriate. These biocides must transition to the regulations by the end of a 4-year transition period (by May 31, 2029).

Applicants that submit an application for a new market authorization for a biocide as of May 31, 2025, must meet the requirements in the regulations.

Companies with a registration for a surface sanitizer under the PCPA or an authorization for a disinfectant under the FDR have 4 years from the coming-into-force date to obtain an authorization under the regulations. This can be achieved by filing a transition application.

For more information on transitioning a disinfectant or surface sanitizer, consult:

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