Label Requirements in Canada
Updated: Jan 16, 2022
The Government of Canada website does an amazing job at outlining everything you need to know about Labelling Requirements—but it is very long and difficult to navigate. And if you’re anything like us, your eyes start to glaze over after a while.
While we still urge you to refer to the official labelling requirements linked above, we have compiled a simplified list of all of the basic things you need to know. Oh, and here's a shortcut: - General Requirements - Bilingual Requirements - Typeface Size
- Units of Measurement We have also included relevant links to specific industries not covered in this blog at the very bottom, including textiles.
This label on the front of the product is considered the 'principal display panel'
In this guide you’ll hear a lot about ‘principal display panel’ and ‘principal display surface’. You can read their specific requirements here, but in short, it refers to the area of 'prime label real estate'–or where customers are most likely to view your label. Your label must contain three basic mandatory statements which must, where applicable, appear in a prescribed manner:
- Product Identity Declaration (the common name; ex: hand cream, lip balm, essential oil, etc.)
- Net Quantity Declaration (the quantity is usually measured by count; ex: 100 grams, 10 pencils, etc.)
- Dealer Name and Principal Place Of Business (the name and place of business of the producer, or of the person for whom the product was produced for resale, must be on the label; the address should be sufficient to ensure postal delivery!)
The product identity declaration and net quantity declaration must appear on the principal display panel.
Does your label have to have French and English on it? The short answer is yes. But as with the entire labelling requirements guide, there are exceptions.
All information to be shown on the label of a prepackaged product shall be shown in both official languages. An exception is the identity (company name) and principal place of business (address) of the person by or for whom the prepackaged product was manufactured, processed, produced or packaged for resale, which can be shown in just one language.
Of course, if your product has text in it, like in the case of the below examples, you only have to include the language that is appropriate to the product:
- greeting cards
- talking toys
- games in which a knowledge of the language used is a basic factor essential to the use of the game.
Accessibility and legibility is really important, which is why you need to consider the size of your type in relation to your label dimensions. Mandatory information required to appear on a label must be:
- clearly and prominently shown, and
- readily discernible and legible to the purchaser or consumer
Additionally, all mandatory information must be shown in characters of at least 1.6 mm (1/16 inch) in height. The height of the characters is based on the height of an upper case letter if the words are shown in upper case only
The numerical quantity (or net quantity) and any statements about imitation, artificial, or simulated flavours should be shown in bold face type in letters of not less than the following height:
(a) 1/16 inch (1.6 millimetres), where the principal display surface of the container is not more than five square inches (32 square centimetres);
(b) 1/8 inch (3.2 millimetres), where the principal display surface of the container is more than five square inches (32 square centimetres) but not more than 40 square inches (258 square centimetres);
(c) 1/4 inch (6.4 millimetres), where the principal display surface of the container is more than 40 square inches (258 square centimetres) but not more than 100 square inches (645 square centimetres);
(d) 3/8 inch (9.5 millimetres), where the principal display surface of the container is more than 100 square inches (645 square centimetres) but not more than 400 square inches (25.8 square decimetres); and
(e) 1/2 inch (12.7 millimetres), where the principal display surface of the container is more than 400 square inches (25.8 square decimetres).
UNITS OF MEASUREMENT
The symbols in Column II are in themselves considered bilingual.