22 Dec Animal Testing Now Banned in Canada for Cosmetics
Kelly Harris and Jane Huang
As of December 22, 2023, changes to Canada’s Food and Drugs Act will officially ban cosmetics animal testing and trade in Canada. The new law will also prohibit selling cosmetics that rely on new animal testing data to prove product safety and ban false or misleading labelling about animal testing.
This change comes through the passing of Bill C-47, Budget Implementation Act, 2023, No. 1, which updates the Food and Drugs Act. The new prohibition is broad, prohibiting any animal testing that could cause the animal pain, suffering or injury, and includes both physical and/or mental pain. At a high level, this legislation will bring about the following changes:
- Cosmetics cannot be sold unless their safety can be proven without using data from animal testing. This is subject to some limited exceptions, for example in the case of tests conducted prior to the in-force date, and independent, publicly available tests.
- Animal testing in Canada is prohibited if the purpose is to prove compliance with cosmetic safety laws (whether Canadian or foreign cosmetic safety laws).
- Label/advertising claims that a product wasn’t tested on animals are allowed, provided that the advertiser has evidence that no testing was conducted after the in-force day.
This move puts Canada in line with other countries, such as those in the European Union, Australia, the United Kingdom, and South Korea, that have already banned cosmetic animal testing. Beyond cosmetics, Health Canada is working with international groups to find alternatives to animal testing.
Overall, these updates to the law on cosmetics animal testing and trade will have a widespread impact on cosmetic labelling and claims about animal testing for products sold in Canada. Cosmetic manufacturers should review label and advertising claims – as well as testing practices – to double check compliance with these new rules.