Editor's Note: This article was originally published on April 3, 2023, and was updated on April 26, 2023, as per the latest developments.
On April 20, 2023, the Government of Canada introduced the Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-47. 1 This important legislation aims to implement the key commitments outlined in 2023 Federal Budget, which includes the prohibition of cosmetic animal testing. The Bill has been officially tabled in the Canadian Parliament. 2
On March 28, 2023, the Government of Canada introduced its 2023 Federal Budget, A Made-in-Canada Plan: Strong Middle Class, Affordable Economy, Healthy Future. 3 The 2023 Federal Budget shows the government’s plan to build a stronger, more sustainable, and more secure Canadian economy.
In the Budget, the government proposes to amend the Food and Drugs Act to ban cosmetic testing on animals. The proposed amendments would prohibit:
testing cosmetics on animals in Canada;
selling cosmetics that rely on animal testing data to prove the product’s safety, with some exceptions;
false or misleading labelling related to the testing of cosmetics on animals.
Current Progress of Animal Testing Ban in Canada
Currently, under Canada’s Food and Drugs Act, cosmetic animal testing is not mandatory, but no explicit provision bans it either. Government officials have been debating on animal-testing ban for years.
In 2015, a Senate bill (S-214), also known as the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, was introduced with the purpose of "amending the Food and Drugs Act to prohibit cosmetic animal testing and the sale of cosmetic products developed or manufactured using animal testing”. It passed in the Senate in 2018 but later died in the House of Commons due to opposition from the industry. The opposition is for potentially preventing the use of products already proven safe through animal testing, and important new ingredients (e.g. preservatives and sunscreens) when non-animal alternative test methods do not yet exist.
Canada is acting to join 40 other countries that have implemented cosmetic animal testing bans. In January 2022, the Canadian Cosmetic Alliance (CA) and a representative from their allied stakeholder coalition met with Health Canada (HC) officials to discuss the ban on cosmetic animal testing in Canada. HC is working on publishing a policy to end cosmetic animal testing.
The proposed policy will align with the animal testing ban in the EU, as well as fit and be workable within the Canadian regulatory framework. It is expected that the Canadian government expects to have the initiative completed by August 2023 when the World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences will be hosted in Canada.