Since at least 2015, Cosmetics & Toiletries has been following Canada's efforts to ban animal testing for cosmetics. Now, in 2023, The Globe and Mail reports that after years of discussion, Ottawa is set to ban animal testing on cosmetics, and that Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos is "set to push forward the changes to the federal Food and Drugs Act," taking it national.
Charu Chandrasekera, executive director of the University of Windsor’s Canadian Center for Alternatives to Animal Methods, was quoted in the story, saying that compared with the EU's efforts to reduce animal testing, Canada's is “absolutely embarrassing,” and that a ban is long overdue.
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As previously reported, in 2018, the Canadian Senate endorsed Bill S-214, "The Cruelty-free Cosmetics Act," which would prohibit domestic animal testing for cosmetics, as well as the sale of cosmetics having undergone any form of new animal testing. The proposal then moved on to the House of Commons.
In 2019, a petition was presented to the House of Commons, stating: "We, the undersigned residents of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons ... [that] animal testing is unnecessary to prove the safety of cosmetic products and alternative safety tests tend to be faster, more accurate and cheaper to perform than tests conducted using animals."
The petition proposed the ban would not impact current cosmetic products for sale in Canada. Furthermore, with the completion of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, it made sense to harmonize cosmetic safety regulations with the EU to encourage trade.
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It goes on to name numerous countries that (at that time) had successfully made the switch to using alternative safety tests, including: India, Turkey, Israel, Guatemala, Norway, Iceland, Serbia, New Zealand and Switzerland.
"Canadians overwhelmingly support a ban on cosmetic animal testing, with over half a million residents signing a petition calling for a global ban..." it concluded.
The Minister of Health responded on Jan. 20, 2020. "The Government recognizes that Canadians remain concerned about the well-being of animals and the potential harm caused by testing cosmetic products or their ingredients on animals. ... The Government supported Bill S-214 with proposed amendments that sought to align the legislation with the approach taken by the European Union. With the dissolution of the 42nd Parliament, Bill S-214 died on the Order Paper in September 2019."
In a statement to The Globe and Mail, Health Canada said, "The Department is developing a proposal to ban cosmetic testing on animals and continues to support the development and use of alternative methods to animal testing for other products or uses."
See archived: Canada Senate Hashes Out Animal Testing Ban
C&T will continue to monitor the slow but steady progress of these efforts — and Canada isn't alone. It was only last year that the U.S. passed legislation to modernize cosmetics regulation since the original Act in 1938.