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Regulatory Law and Cosmetics in Canada – Who Controls What?

A very simplistic answer to that question in relation to cosmetics is that the Federal Government controls their manufacture, their ingredients, their importation and their labelling. The provinces control the people who supply cosmetic services to the public, the establishments in which they are provided and the sanitation and licensing of those premises. In some jurisdictions the cosmetologists themselves may be licensed but this is not uniform across Canada.

The safety of ingredients to the environment is a Federal concern but provinces also get involved. The recycling of packaging waste is a provincial responsibility but the product washed down the drain has both Federal and provincial impact. Areas of provincial responsibility, be it assigned or assumed, may be delegated to municipalities for such responsibilities as inspection and enforcement. Municipalities are, in effect, creatures of provincial creation and often are given tasks to assume. But while the language of a label is a Federal concern, in the Province of Quebec there is a significant provincial impact requiring the use of the French language.

While this is a very simplistic overview of regulatory responsibilities, it also indicates, as with most things in life, that there really is no simple answer!

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