If you plan on bringing cosmetics and drugs into Canada, then you are probably familiar with Health Canada’s Advance Notice of Importation policy. This policy involves the notice provided to Health Canada by importers when they are expecting shipments of products which will then be relabeled for compliance wth Canadian regulations.
There are numerous and sometimes confusing regulations surrounding the import into Canada of non-compliant cosmetics, drugs and natural health products (dietary supplements). While the regulations contain basic restrictions prohibiting the importation of products that don’t meet the regulations, there are actually some specific regulations that allow for the importation of non-compliant products, as long as two basic conditions are met:
- The importer provides advance notice to a Health Canada inspector of the proposed importation; and
- The product is relabeled or modified as required to enable its sale to be lawful in Canada.
Health Canada has implemented a pilot project, The Advance Notice of Importation Process, in order to facilitate compliance with the advance notice provision. Originally this pilot was to end in March 2016, however the pilot phase has been extended and is still ongoing. During this phase participating commercial importers may use the Advance Notice of Importation Form to notify Health Canada of multiple products imported within a three-month period.
The Advance Notice of Importation Process pilot applies to the following:
- Cosmetics requiring relabeling prior to being sold as cosmetics in Canada,
- Drugs that require relabeling prior to being sold as cosmetics in Canada,
- Drugs requiring relabeling prior to being sold as foods in Canada, and
- Drugs that hold a valid Canadian market authorization (such as a DIN, NPN) and require relabeling prior to being sold as drugs in Canada.