Exceptional importation and sale of biocides in relation to COVID-19: Overview

There is an unprecedented demand and urgent need for access to biocides during the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 1, 2021, the Minister of Health signed Interim Order No. 2 Respecting Drugs, Medical Devices and Foods for a Special Dietary Purpose in relation to COVID-19. The interim order (IO) allows certain biocides that may not fully meet regulatory requirements to be imported and sold in Canada.

An interim order is one of the fastest mechanisms available to address large-scale public health emergencies, without following the usual regulatory processes. Further information on this IO can be found in the explanatory note

Biocides that are eligible under the interim order

Biocides included on the list of biocides for exceptional importation and sale are called “designated biocides” and are eligible for the exceptional importation and sale provisions provided for in the IO. The list, which will be updated as required, is incorporated by reference in the IO and is maintained by Health Canada.

Criteria for adding a biocide to the List of Biocides for Exceptional Importation and Sale

At this time, biocides that meet of the following criteria will be considered for addition to the list of designated biocides:

Accessibility of information to support safe use

Importers must take steps to ensure that information is accessible to Canadians that supports the safe use of the biocide. Importers are expected to ensure labelling information, including a detailed description of the designated biocide’s conditions of use, is accessible in both official languages (English and French).

Note: Other criteria may also be considered by Health Canada in adding products to the list of designated biocides.

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