Self-care products and Health Canada

What are self-care products? Why are they important?

Canadians use self-care products every day. They include vitamins, pain relievers, sunscreen and lipstick, to name a few. They are available for purchase without a prescription from a doctor.  Self-care products fall into three broad categories:

  • cosmetics
  • natural health products
  • non-prescription drugs

You and your family may use self-care products to maintain your health, treat minor ailments or improve your appearance.

Why are changes being proposed?

Currently three different sets of regulations apply to self-care products. This makes it difficult for consumers to make informed choices. For example, a consumer looking to purchase a sunscreen would find various options on the store shelf that look very similar, are used for the same purpose, and are conveniently located beside each other. However, depending on the use, ingredients, and the claims made, a sunscreen can be regulated as a natural health product, a non-prescription medication, or a cosmetic.

Health Canada is proposing to put in place one sensible system that treats self-care products with low risks the same way and does not create new burdens for industry. The proposed approach would also give Health Canada the authority to recall any product that may pose a danger to Canadians – while continuing to treat them differently than prescription drugs, which can pose more serious safety concerns.

How would these changes affect me and my family?

Ultimately – Canadians will be able to have confidence that the self-care products they use will be safe and effective.

It will be easier for Canadians to select the right products for them. This means making the information on self-care product labels clearer and easier to understand. A wide range of self-care products will continue to be available to Canadians. As always, manufacturers will be responsible for ensuring products are safe, effective, of high quality, and will continue to be held accountable.

Want to know more or get involved?

Visit the Self-Care web page at:

Download the alternative format
(PDF format, 671 KB, 1 page)

Type: Poster
Date published: 2017-01-30

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