After much advocacy and many promises, cosmetic testing on animals is now banned in Canada.
The Canadian government passed the legislation on Thursday through the Budget Implementation Act (Bill C-47).
It is also now prohibited to sell cosmetics that “rely on new animal testing data to establish the product’s safety, and false or misleading labelling pertaining to the testing of cosmetics on animals.”
Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, Government of Canada, said in a release that “testing cosmetics on animals is both cruel and unnecessary.”
“That is why we are proud to move forward on our promise to ban cosmetic animal testing and trade. Protecting animals now and in the future is something many Canadians have been advocating for and now, we can all be assured that cosmetics in Canada are cruelty-free, and we will continue to take all necessary measures to improve animal welfare.”
Michael Bernard, deputy director of Humane Society International/Canada, labelled the ban as “historic measures” that could be attributed to the collaborative work between government, industry, the non-profit sector and the public.
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“Canadian consumers can finally rest assured that the cosmetics they purchase have not come as a result of animal suffering — and that is something we can all feel good about,” Bernard said in a statement.
Animal rights advocates in Canada have long called for a complete ban on such testing and to move towards non-animal alternatives.
In March, the Liberal government announced they planned to amend the Food and Drugs Act to prohibit cosmetic testing on animals as part of their 2023 budget.
Canada is the latest of more than 40 countries that have enacted laws to limit or ban animal testing for cosmetics. These include the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South Korea, India, Israel and Turkey to name a few.
The European Union was among the first to impose a full ban back in 2013.
The U.S. is also working to pass similar legislation, called the Humane Cosmetics Act, and so far 10 states have laws in place prohibiting the sale of animal-tested cosmetics, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
Canada eyes ban on animal testing for cosmetics
China has historically required animal testing on cosmetic products and despite the easing of its regulations in recent years, some cosmetic brands still use animal testing in order to be able to sell their products in the country.
The ban in Canada has been years in the making.
The Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act was first introduced in the Canadian Senate in 2015. It took three years for that Conservative bill to pass the Senate. It was given first reading in the House of Commons in April 2019, but died when the election was called that year.
Since then, calls to abolish the practice have only grown.
As part of its 2021 election campaign, the Liberal Party had pledged to end cosmetic testing on animals as soon as 2023 and to phase out toxicity testing on animals by 2035.
Darren Praznik, CEO of Cosmetics Alliance Canada, called the newly passed legislation “long overdue.”
“Since this issue was first raised in Parliament through a private member’s bill in the Senate in 2015, our group has met frequently to build a collaborative relationship and to align on the principles with Health Canada while ensuring the ban works within the Canadian regulatory framework,” Praznik said in a statement.
Instead of testing on animals, cosmetic manufacturers can use computer models, artificial skins, cornea models, in-vitro-assays and organs-on-chip technology.
— with files from Global News’ Saba Aziz
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