Update on the 2016 nutrition labelling regulations

Update on the 2016 nutrition labelling regulations

Diet-related chronic diseases are a major public health issue in Canada. Health Canada remains committed to the promotion of healthy eating. Access to safe and nutritious food is essential to Canadians’ health, and daily food choices can have widespread and long-term impacts. Improving food labelling information is one of the key elements to make it easier for Canadians to make healthier food choices.

As part of the Healthy Eating Strategy, amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations related to nutrition labelling were published on December 14, 2016. These amendments will improve the Nutrition Facts table and list of ingredients to make them easier to understand thereby helping Canadians to make informed choices. A five-year transition period, ending on December 14, 2021, was provided to allow sufficient time for industry to make the necessary changes to their labels and also to use up any existing stocks of labels already printed to comply with current requirements.

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have heard from several industry groups that due to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic more time may be needed to meet the new requirements. While the end of the transition period for the nutrition labelling amendments will remain December 14, 2021, flexibility will be provided to support the food industry. For the first year (until December 14, 2022), the CFIA will focus its efforts on education and compliance promotion. As of December 15, 2022, CFIA will verify compliance and apply enforcement discretion in cases where non-compliant companies have detailed plans showing how they intend to meet the new requirements at the earliest possible time. CFIA guidance will provide further information.

Other food labelling initiatives, such as front-of-package nutrition labelling, continue to be a priority for Health Canada but timing is delayed due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Rest assured that we will keep you informed as new information becomes available on the timing of these other initiatives.

Moving forward, Health Canada and the CFIA, with the support of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, will establish a predictable cycle to align future food label changes. This commitment was included in the government’s Agri-food and Aquaculture Roadmap (June 2019). As proposed in this new policy, the first compliance date for future changes to food labelling regulations would be January 1, 2026. This consultation is open for 60 days, from February 2 to April 3, 2021.

Should you have any questions related to compliance with the nutrition labelling regulations, please contact CFIA.

For any other inquiries related to nutrition labelling, please contact Health Canada at hc.bns-bsn.sc@canada.ca

Manon Bombardier

A/Associate Assistant Deputy Minister/Sous-ministre adjointe déléguée par intérim

Health Products and Food Branch/Direction générale des produits de santé et des aliments

Health Canada/Santé Canada

Colleen Barnes

Vice President/Vice-présidente

Policy and Programs Branch/Direction générale des politiques et des programmes

Canadian Food Inspection Agency /Agence canadienne d’inspection des aliments