Cosmetics Testing in Canada

borrowed from Animal Alliance of Canada

Q: What does “cruelty-free” mean in relation to cosmetics?
A: A cruelty-free cosmetics company is one that has eliminated animal testing at all levels of production as of a “fixed cut-off date.” This must apply not only to the finished products that consumers purchase, but also to each and every raw ingredient. In order to meet its commitment to cruelty-free, a company must not sell its products in countries that require animal testing; it must not use new ingredients that would lead to new animal testing; and it must ensure that all of its ingredient suppliers commit to a policy of “no new cosmetics animal testing.”

Q: Is animal testing for cosmetics a legal requirement in Canada?
A: No. Canada’s Food and Drugs Act prohibits the sale of any cosmetic containing harmful ingredients or contaminants, but does not require that animal testing be conducted to demonstrate safety.

Q: How can companies ensure safety without animal testing?
A: Safe existing ingredients are the key. Hundreds of companies have sworn off animal testing, yet still produce new, safe and fabulous beauty products. They do so by choosing from among nearly 20,000 widely available raw ingredients that have been tested in the past, instead of purchasing newly developed chemicals that will also have been newly animal-tested. The safety of new product formulations made up from well known existing cosmetic ingredients can be assured using available non-animal testing methods.

Q: Why do companies still test cosmetics on animals if it’s not legally required?
A: Some companies believe that “innovation” requires the creation or use of new chemistries, which are invariably subject to new animal testing, either by or on behalf of the cosmetic manufacturer, or more commonly, by the specialty chemical producer itself. And multinational companies that sell cosmetics in such as China may be required to conduct new animal testing to meet the requirements of national authorities.

Q: Besides animal welfare, are there other arguments against testing on animals?
A: Yes, animal tests also have scientific limitations because different species can respond differently when exposed to the same chemicals. Consequently, results from animal tests may not be relevant to humans, under- or over-estimating real-world hazards to people. In addition, results from animal tests can be quite variable and difficult to interpret. Unreliable and non-predictive animal tests mean consumer safety cannot be guaranteed.

Q: How can I help?

  • Sign the Be Cruelty-Free pledge to show your support for Canadian ban on Animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients.
  • Shop cruelty-free—buy only from companies that say no to animal testing and to newly developed and animal-tested ingredients. Find cruelty-free products guides at: and
  • Contact your favourite brands and urge them to make the leap to cruelty-free. Ask whether the company 1) animal tests its products or ingredients, 2) purchases newly developed ingredients that have been animal tested by the supplier, or 3) sells its products to countries like China that may require new animal testing. If the answer to any of these questions is yes, put the product back on the shelf.

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