Filing of CNF – Health Canada: Things to keep in mind

  15 April, 2021

Filing of CNF – Health Canada:
Things to keep in mind

All cosmetic products launched in Canada market are regulated by Health Canada under the Food and Drugs Act and the Cosmetic Regulations. The chemicals present in the formulation are subjected to the regulations of Canadian Environmental Protection Act. As part of the cosmetic regulations, Health Canada mandates the notification of cosmetic products that are available for commercial sale in Canada market.

Who should file a Cosmetic Notification Form (CNF)?

Cosmetic product manufactures and importers in Canada must submit the cosmetic notification form within 10 days after placing their cosmetic product in Canada market. An individual CNF should be filed for each cosmetic product. If multiple products are sold in combination, each product present in the combo pack must be notified individually.

Exclusion criteria for filing a CNF

It is not mandatory to submit a CNF if:

  • The cosmetic product is already notified for a different pack size/volume
  • If individual cosmetic products already notified are now sold in combo packs

Submission of a single CNF

A single CNF can be submitted for multiple products only if the below criteria are met:

  • When the same basic product name or trademark applies to all individual products
  • When the formulation of the base product remains unchanged whereas the only differences are in colour additives, fragrances, and flavours
  • When the complete information provided in CNF for all the products remain same including the form, function, manufacturer, and distributor

Information required to complete a CNF

Before you file a CNF, you must ensure the following information is in place in order to file the notification form without any discrepancy.

  • Primary product brand name
  • Date of first sale in Canada – either actual or predicted
  • Other product names (if any)
  • Product description
  • Area of application
  • Form of the product
  • Function of the product
  • Notifier details including the name of the business place, complete address, contact person name, email address, telephone number
  • Manufacturer or distributor’s address including the name of the business place, complete address, contact person name, email address, telephone number
  • Product Formulation including the ingredients names, concentration or range of each ingredient present in the final formulation
  • Product labels

Submission of CNF

CNF can be submitted to Health Canada via online notification portal of Health Canada available at

A CNF must be submitted for all new cosmetic products, for any amendments to previously notified products and for discontinuation of sale of the cosmetic product in Canada market.

Once the CNF is submitted for new cosmetic products, a Cosmetic Number (one-to-eight-digit number) will be assigned within 3 months of submission of CNF which could be used while filing amendments and discontinuation of sale.

Special Cases

There are some special cases as mentioned below:

  • If the product is sold via e-commerce website and there is no importer in Canada
  • If there are any queries from Health Canada on the CNFs filed and requesting for further data
  • Failure in receiving a cosmetic number even after 3 months of submission
  • Change of manufacturer or distributor of the product
  • Change in formulation or name of product

To help cosmetic manufacturing companies worldwide traverse through the complex regulatory hurdles, Athreva’s qualified team of experts can come to the rescue. Maintaining a robust relationship with the product safety team of Health Canada, they can support cosmetic companies in successful submission of CNFs.

The author of this blog Dr. Sravya is one of our in-house cosmetic regulatory experts. With hands-on experience in consulting for cosmetic manufacturing companies worldwide, her sharp eye for detail speaks for itself. You can find her on Linkedin.