New CSA Group standard for filtering respirators: Notice

Find information on the requirements for getting medical devices authorized in Canada on the medical devices page.

On this page


On August 25, 2020, Health Canada published the Guidance on safety and performance specifications for filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) during COVID-19. The guidance established a common set of Canadian interim order (IO) requirements during the pandemic. At the time, a national standard for FFRs did not exist.

This guidance was an interim measure until a national FFR standard and complementary certification process would be developed.

New national respirator standard and certification program

On October 29, 2021, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Group published CSA Z94.4.1:21 Performance of filtering respirators, followed by the French version on December 17, 2021. CSA Group launched its certification program to this new standard on December 3, 2021.

The Canadian standard and accredited certification program provide manufacturers with an equivalent option to the U.S. NIOSH certification program for filtering respirators.

The new Canadian standard includes:

It also covers other filtering respirators, such as full facepiece respirators and powered air-purifying respirators, which are not covered in Health Canada's FFR guidance.

Health Canada supports and recognizes the new CSA standard

For ongoing applications, Health Canada will continue to recognize either:

For new applications, Health Canada encourages, supports and recognizes the acceptance and conformity to the new CSA Z94.4.1 standard.

Impact on already authorized respirators

Authorized and certified under the IO guidance

There is no change to respirators already authorized under the IO that have tested to Health Canada's respirator guidance. Manufacturers can continue to sell their IO-authorized respirators certified to this guidance.

Authorized under the IO with a certification by CSA Group to the IO guidance

Manufacturers with an IO authorization for an FFR may continue to sell your products under your certification to the IO respirator guidance. However, your current certification with CSA Group will expire by December 1, 2022.

You should consult the CSA Group website for guidance on how to update your certification to the new standard should you wish to do so. The CSA Group is giving manufacturers a grace period to move over to the new standard for respirators already certified to the IO guidance on FFRs. You have until June 1, 2022, to notify CSA you have started the process to convert to the new certification program.

To date, only the CSA Group has created a certification program to the Health Canada IO Guidance on FFRs. However, now that the new CSA Z94.4.1 standard has been published, the SCC may accredit other certification bodies to this Canadian standard. Please refer to SCC's website for the list of accredited bodies to the CSA Z94.4.1 standard.

Additional guidance for manufacturers with an IO-authorized FFR

Manufacturers with an IO and certified to Health Canada's guidance on FFRs

Manufacturers are encouraged to contact the CSA Group to certify to the new standard. Once the new certification is received, you may voluntarily submit confirmation of your new certification to the CSA Z94.4.1 standard to Health Canada.

Manufacturers with an IO with outstanding conditions pertaining to certification

Manufacturers choosing to pursue Canadian certification should pursue certification to the new CSA Z94.4.1 standard requirements as opposed to the requirements outlined in Health Canada's guidance on FFRs. You may submit your certification confirmation information from an SCC certified body to Health Canada along with an IO amendment application.

Health Canada encourages you to submit amendment applications during the IO period in order to remove existing conditions.

Differences between our guidance and CSA Z94.4.1 standard

A high-level summary of the differences between Health Canada's respirator guidance and the new CSA Z94.4.1 standard are outlined in the following table.

Differences between our guidance and CSA Z94.4.1 standard
Requirement Health Canada respirator guidance CSA Z94.4.1 standard
PFE testing

PFE testing to NIOSH requirements

Deviations to the salt loading for medical applications was accepted

No deviations to the salt loading accepted

For manufacturers with CSA certification already, this results in no changes as all CSA-certified respirators were tested to the full salt loading

Also added: minimum number of 5 samples (out of the 20) not subject to pre-conditioning

Inhalation/exhalation resistance: sampling numbers

Inhalation/exhalation testing to NIOSH requirements

Requirement of 3 samples for each test

Same test methods with new 10 samples per test requirement
Inhalation/exhalation resistance: suffix/classification No requirement to mark or inform user of the degree of inhalation/exhalation (a surrogate for breathability) Requirement to add a suffix to the particulate filtration designation to inform users if the inhalation/exhalation testing falls within 3 levels of breathability (from more difficult/higher resistance results to easier breathability/lower resistance results)
Mechanical strength: straps 10 N per attachment point Add standard (EN140 standard)
Fit 18 subjects 25 subjects (with representation of facial structures: 30% min requirement of any one sex)
Fluid resistance

Any level in accordance with ASTM D1862 accepted

No specific sample size noted

Only level 3 accepted as a pass and a sampling requirement of 32 with up to 3 failures permitted is specified

95PFE, 99PFE, 100PFE with salt loading only

For surgical respirators, suffix of L1/2/3 depending on level of fluid resistance


L replaced by F for surgical respirators and only 1 level so no number added

Additional suffix for airflow resistance level (all)

Reusable respirators (for example, elastomeric): decontamination Validation evidence provided to demonstrate cleaning and decontamination of reusable elastomeric respirators Identification of cleaning methods for reusable respirators

The above is only a general summary.

Please consult CAN Z94.4.1 for details on the requirements to this new standard. You are advised to consult your certification body to update or obtain certification to this standard.

Related links

Page details

Date modified: