Consumer Products: Labelling and Safety
Food: Labelling and Safety
Workplace Health and Safety
Financial Transactions and Loans
Environmental Regulations and Inspections
Firearms, Fireworks and Explosives
Privacy and Protection of Personal Information
Whether you are starting or growing your business, you need to be aware of business regulations. Regulations set the standards and rules that ensure the Canadian marketplace is safe, consistent and fair to everyone.
Depending on the product or service you are offering, or where your business is located, you may need to meet regulation standards from any or all of the following:
In addition to the information you will find in this guide, you can use BizPaL—an online search tool—to find licences and regulations that may affect your business. You can also contact us at the Business Info Line to speak to someone about starting your business.
Contact the Business Info Line:
If you have legal questions, contact a lawyer who deals with business regulations. The Law Society of Upper Canada's Lawyer Referral Service may be able to assist you in finding a lawyer, based on your needs.
Contact the Law Society of Upper Canada:
Law Society of Upper Canada's Lawyer Referral Service
You are responsible for ensuring that your business is accessible to people with disabilities. To learn more about making your business accessible to staff and customers, consult the following:
Make sure that your Ontario business meets accessibility standards for customer service, transportation, information and communications, built environments, and employment.
Contact the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario:
Making Ontario Accessible
The label you put on your product is an important way of communicating the value of that product to potential customers. You can use your labels to sell the benefits of your product to your clients, but you must follow labelling rules and standards.
The rules can be more restrictive for some types of products than for others. You should research the regulations and standards for your product before selling them.
Marketing, Advertising and Sales Regulations
There are labelling standards for everyday consumer products (like t-shirts, office supplies, and pet food) that you need to know about before you begin selling products.
The Competition Bureau regulates labelling for most “non-food” consumer products. To learn more about the rules for packaging, labelling and advertising your products, contact the Competition Bureau directly or refer to the following link:
Contact the Competition Bureau:
The Competition Bureau also publishes individual guides on labelling requirements for certain business activities and consumer products. Refer to the following guides if you need more information on a specific aspect of labelling:
Learn about your responsibilities when packaging and labelling consumer products (including pet food).
Find out what your responsibilities are when labelling textiles, including how to register for a CA number.
Learn about the rules and regulations for using claims like "Designed in Canada" or "Made in Canada" to promote your products.
"Product of Canada" and "Made in Canada" Claims
It is important that your products and services meet the standards for safety set by the provincial and federal governments.
If you manufacture, import, distribute or sell products in Canada, you must ensure that they are safe for use. Health Canada provides information on the regulations for clothing, accessories, hazardous materials, household products, and children’s products.
Consumer Product Safety
Food safety and proper labelling is an important concern for Canadians. Labelling standards for food products help make sure that consumers have the information they need about the food they are purchasing. If you plan on packaging, distributing, or selling food products in Canada, you must make sure they meet labelling standards.
Your local health unit is the main contact for information on food safety. Local health authorities are responsible for carrying out food service inspections.
You should contact your local health authority and arrange an inspection of the premises/equipment/and processes to make sure your business is complying with provincial and federal legislation.
The following link provides a list of contact information for local health authorities that perform inspections on restaurants and food businesses in Ontario.
Local Public Health Contacts
In addition to contacting your local health unit, if you are involved in the production, service or processing of food products, you will need to comply with safety standards and labelling regulations from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
Regulated products and sectors
Regulations for the food industry
Learn about the standards that apply to labelling and advertising for all food products in Canada, including how to appropriately show net quantity, quality and composition. Food labelling requirements apply to producers, manufacturers, advertisers, importers and retailers of food products.
Learn how to properly include nutritional information or health information for your food products on labels.
Find out about Ontario’s food labelling regulations for specific food products like honey, meat, maple products, and more.
Contact Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA):
Labelling and Packaging
Use the Foodland Ontario logo as a marketing tool for your business. You can use the logo, free of charge, on eligible Ontario food products.
Contact Foodland Ontario:
Foodland Ontario – Industry Section
Many municipalities have licences specific to food handling or food preparation. To determine what municipality your business falls under, you can contact the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO).
Association of Municipalities of Ontario
The following government guides provide additional information on rules and regulations related to food safety:
As a business owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your products and services are safe and your employees work in a healthy, safe environment.
Most employees, employers and workplaces in Ontario are covered by occupational health and safety regulations. As an employer in Ontario, your obligations include a duty to instruct, inform and supervise your workers in order to protect their health and safety.
The WSIB is dedicated to helping you prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
Most employers are legally required to register with the WSIB within 10 days of hiring an employee. You will get several benefits from registration, including:
Note: You will be required to pay an insurance premium.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
To learn more about regulations for hiring employees, read our guide:
Employment Regulations Guide: Hiring
If your business produces or sells health products or cosmetics, you are required to know what licences, permits, and tests are needed before you produce and sell your product. Health Canada regulates health products, and medical devices in Canada. To learn about the requirements for health products and medical devices, refer to the information below:
You are responsible for ensuring that the drugs and health products you produce or sell are approved for use in Canada. The regulations apply to products such as cough and cold medicine, over the counter drugs, toothpaste and antiperspirant.
Contact Health Canada:
Drugs and Health Products
If you produce or sell medical devices, you must ensure that they have accurate labels and meet Health Canada’s standards. The labels must list the materials used, evidence of the product's safety, as well as the recall and correction procedures.
Your natural health products must meet Canadian standards for importing, distributing, storing, manufacturing, packaging, and labelling before you can sell them in Canada.
If you are producing or selling cosmetics products, you must ensure that they meet the Health Canada's cosmetics standards and labelling requirements.
Contact Health Canada:
General Requirements for Cosmetics
Tobacco regulations affect almost every business. Rules apply if you are importing, selling, or marketing tobacco products, as well as for your staff or customers who want to smoke.
In addition to the federal and provincial information listed below, contact the municipality where you will be operating for information on local tobacco laws.
Find out what your responsibilities are for marketing, packaging or displaying tobacco products. You must also follow the regulations that apply to smoking in public places like offices, shops, or bars and restaurants.
You need a tobacco retail dealer’s permit from the Ministry of Finance to buy or receive tobacco products for resale in Ontario.
Contact Ministry Of Finance:
Tobacco Retail Dealer’s Permit
If you plan to produce tobacco products or allow the consumption of tobacco products in areas under federal control, make sure you are complying with Health Canada’s tobacco regulations.
Contact Health Canada:
In Ontario, you need to be certified to work in certain trades. If you or your employees will be working in the trades, you must ensure that you meet any mandatory certification requirements. Industries that require training or certification include:
You can often become certified in your trade, even if certification is not mandatory. More information about mandatory and voluntary trade certification is available from Employment Ontario.
Contact Employment Ontario:
Media related industries, like music, movies, television broadcasts, phone services and internet services, are regulated in Canada. If your business will be offering, using or working with these types of media, it is important to be aware of the following:
If you work in the telecommunications industry, including television and radio broadcasting, you should contact the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for information on the regulations that may apply to your business.
When your business uses recorded music, you are responsible for obtaining the right licence(s) for that use. The Copyright Board of Canada works with individual copyright collective societies who provide music licensing. Contact the following two organizations for more information.
SOCAN is a not-for-profit organization that represents the performance rights of music creators and music publishers. They can help you learn about your obligations and obtaining the required license(s).
Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada
Re:Sound is the Canadian not-for-profit organization that represents the performance rights of artists and record companies, and provides the legally required license(s) for businesses. You can get help determining what licence(s) will be required, what the licensing process will be and how much it will cost.
Learn about your legal obligations for selling or renting films, video/DVD, or video games. If you will be showing films in public, you may need an additional licence.
Contact the Ministry of Consumer Services:
Licences, Applications and Permits: Theatres Regulation Unit
Many types of financial transactions are regulated in Canada. If your business offers financial services or works with businesses that do (e.g. accounting or legal services), you should consult the following:
You are required to report certain types of business transactions, including:
Contact Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC):
FINTRAC – What you need to know …
If you have a financial service business, such as a credit union, insurance company or mortgage brokerage, contact the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) for information on licensing and regulations.
FSCO – Our Services and Regulated Sectors
Your business must be licenced if you provide payday loans or broker services.
Contact Ministry of Consumer Services (MCS):
Payday lenders and loan brokers’ licences
You may need to follow environmental regulations and meet certain environmental standards depending on your business activities.
Common environmental regulations that apply to businesses in Ontario include:
You will need a Certificate of Approval from the Ministry of Environment if your business:
Contact the Ministry of the Environment:
Learn about permits that are required if your business takes more than 50,000 litres of water a day from a lake, river, stream or groundwater source.
Permits to Take Water
If you use chemicals in your business that can pollute the land and the water nearby, there are environmental guidelines that you will need to follow.
Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines
If you will be importing, exporting or transporting certain wild animal or plant species, you must obtain the appropriate documents (e.g., licences, permits). The regulations apply to all protected plants or animals, alive or dead, as well as to their parts and any derived products.
Contact Environment Canada:
Wild Animal and Plant Protection
The use of firearms and explosives is regulated in Canada. Additional regulations will apply to your business if you buy or sell firearms, fireworks or explosives.
You must obtain a permit to manufacture, store, or use fireworks and explosives devices.
Contact Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN):
Explosives Regulatory Division (ERD)
Your business must be licensed to buy, sell, import, export, or display firearms and munitions. You may need additional licenses and permits if your business will be using restricted weapons or firearms.
There are rules that you must follow if you collect, use, store and protect client information. These rules cover information like contact information, medical records, and correspondence (email, fax, letters).
Privacy and your Business
You can learn more about privacy and your business from the following resources:
Find out what client information you can collect, use, or disclose while doing business, and what responsibilities you have to protect this information.
Contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada:
Privacy Guide for Small Businesses: The Basics
A Guide for Businesses and Organizations: Your Privacy Responsibilities
Find out what your obligations are if your business will be handling medical records, or working with organizations involved in the collection of health information.
Contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC):
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
If your business collects personal information (e.g. collection agencies, consumer reporting agencies, personal information investigators), you need to be licensed with the Ministry of Consumer Services (MCS).
Licenses, Applications and Permits
The information and resources provided in this guide are a first step towards learning about the regulations that can affect your business. You may want to consult the following resources for additional information:
You can also find books, magazines and other relevant print material at business service organizations in your community. To locate a Canada Business Ontario (CBO) community partner, contact us through the Business Info Line at 1-888-745-8888.
Information contained in this document is of a general nature only and is not intended to constitute advice for any specific situation. Users concerned about the reliability of the information should consult directly with the source, or seek legal counsel.
Some of the organizations listed above are not subject to the federal Official Languages Act or the French Language Services Act of Ontario. Their services may not be available in both official languages.