Cosmetics Alliance has recently reported that there have been recent incidences of imported cosmetic products being held at the Canadian border, ultimately being turned back or destroyed at the border. This is due to the cosmetic product label referencing an international website which makes therapeutic claims that would render it a drug or natural health product (NHP) in Canada – regardless of whether the product is considered a cosmetic in the jurisdiction of the website.

There have been a few reported incidences of this issue, however after discussions with the Food & Drug Act Liaison Office (FDALO), Cosmetics Alliance is reporting that there may be more. This is especially concerning due to the apparent unwillingness of Canadian Inspectorate officials to allow for corrective actions to resolve this issue (i.e. Modify the international website, redirect to the Canadian website, etc.). This approach will result in denying legitimate products from crossing the Canadian border and entering the country, causing significant cost consequences and business disruptions for affected importers.

Those who have experienced these challenges or similar should notify cosmetics alliance at and provide the following details:

  • Date/Time of interaction with the Inspectorate
  • Any correspondence shared by/with the Inspectorate
  • Any details regarding corrective actions or proposals that were tabled to address/resolve the issue
  • Overview of outcomes and follow-up that you may have had with HC officials
  • Other relevant information that may be helpful
  • An estimate of the potential business cost including
    • Holding costs (while the issue was being discussed/resolved)
    • Shipping costs (for return of refused product)
    • Lost product costs (for products that were confiscated/destroyed)
    • Lost retail business
    • Other costs (retail penalties, etc.)

Cosmetics Alliance is currently seeking a discussion on the subject with Health Canada. Once feedback is received from affected members, the organization is looking to reach out to the Inspectorate and convey their concerns as well as understand the reason that these and similar actions are being taken. Cosmetic Alliance is also interested as to how stakeholders can be notified in the future of compliance actions and changes in policy.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Focal Point Research Inc.  We are leading Canadian regulatory and Health Canada consultants for Cosmetics, and other personal care products.