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Canada Proposes to Require Cosmetics to Label Certain Toxic Substances

Introduction to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

The primary purpose of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) is to contribute to sustainable development through pollution prevention. It provides the legislative basis for a range of federal environmental and health protection programs, including activities related to:

  • assessment and management of risks from chemicals, polymers and living organisms

  • programs related to air and water pollution, hazardous waste, air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions

  • ocean disposal

  • environmental emergencies


CEPA enables the Government of Canada to develop a wide range of measures to protect the environment and human health from the risks posed by substances listed on Schedule 1 of CEPA. Labeling requirements is one possible means. They have been used for various purposes, such as requiring the labeling of allowable concentrations in the product and instructions for product disposal.

On Oct. 29, 2022, Canada published the Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 156, Number 44, including a Notice of Intent on the Labeling of Toxic Substances in Products. 1 According to the notice of intent, the Government of Canada plans to require certain products (including cosmetics) to label the information on substances listed in the List of Toxic Substances (Schedule 1) of CEPA.

Stakeholders can mail any suggestions to before Jan. 12, 2023.

Criteria of Toxic Substances to be Labeled

The Government of Canada will develop criteria for determining which toxic substances shall be labeled. The basic principle is that providing information on these substances can help reduce risks to the environment and/or human health. Criteria may include the following:

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