Last updated: July 20, 2021

Other Packaging and Labeling Requirements

Warning requirements on unit packaging and labeling (e.g., packs)

Yes
Gavel
Expand to view related litigation
Analysis

The regulations require health warnings and other information on all tobacco product packages sold at retail, including unit packages and cartons.

These provisions meet FCTC Art. 11 with regard to warning requirements on unit packaging.

Warning/messages required on outside packaging and labeling (e.g., cartons)

Yes
Gavel
Expand to view related litigation
Analysis

The regulations require health warnings and other information on all tobacco product packages sold at retail, including unit packages and cartons.

These provisions meet FCTC Art. 11 with regard to warning requirements on outside packaging.

Warning texts must be in the principal language(s) of the country

Yes
Gavel
Expand to view related litigation
Analysis

The regulations require health warnings and other information to be displayed in both English and French.

These provisions meet FCTC Art. 11 with regard to warning texts being in the principal language of the country.

A requirement that warnings or messages may not be placed where they may be permanently damaged or concealed when opening the pack

Yes
Gavel
Expand to view related litigation
Analysis

The regulations require that the health warnings be placed in a manner such that the words are not severed upon opening the package.

This provision aligns with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines.

A requirement that tax stamps or other required markings may not be placed where they may conceal warnings or messages

Yes
Gavel
Expand to view related litigation
Analysis

The Stamping and Marking of Tobacco Products Regulations state that tax stamps should be placed “in a manner that does not obstruct any information that is required by or under an Act of Parliament to appear on the package.” Health warnings are required under an Act of Parliament and, therefore, tax stamps may not be placed where they may conceal or obscure health warnings.

In addition, the Tobacco Products Labelling Regulations (Cigarettes and Little Cigars) prohibit any component of a labeling element from being “concealed or obscured, except partially” by an excise stamp or by tear tape required under provincial legislation. By definition, a “labelling element” includes health warnings, health information messages, and toxic emissions statements. However, the regulations limit the extent to which a stamp may partially cover a labeling element, stating: “A labelling element may be concealed only by an excise stamp but to the least extent possible and to a maximum surface area of 180mm2. In that case, the labelling element must be adapted in accordance with section 10 so that no component is concealed by the excise stamp.” This is interpreted as providing sufficient protection to ensure the visibility of the health warnings. Such additional protection is only provided for packages of cigarettes and little cigars because the health warnings must occupy 75% of each principal display area (front and back). Generally, warnings on other tobacco products must occupy 50% of each principal display area. Therefore, there is no protection for the warning provided in addition to the language contained in the Stamping and Marking of Tobacco Products Regulations.

Accordingly, the law aligns with the requirements of FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines with respect to placement of excise stamps on tobacco product packaging.

A requirement to display qualitative (descriptive) constituents and emissions messages

Yes
Gavel
Expand to view related litigation
Analysis

Toxic emissions statements are required on all tobacco product packaging. On all packages, including cartons, of cigarettes and little cigars, one of four bilingual statements set out in Part 3 of the 2011 source document must be displayed. For example, one statement reads: “Tobacco smoke contains benzene, a chemical that causes cancer. Health Canada. La fumée du tabac contient du benzène, un produit chimique qui donne le cancer. Santé Canada.” (See: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/legislation/label-etiquette/cigarette-eng.php#toxic.)

Packages of cigarette tobacco, kreteks, leaf tobacco, and tobacco sticks must bear the following bilingual statement: “Some of the toxic emissions: Tar, Nicotine, Carbon monoxide, Formaldehyde, Hydrogen cyanide, Benzene” and “Quelques-unes des émissions toxiques: goudron, nicotine, monoxyde de carbone, formaldéhyde, acide cyanhydrique, benzène.”

These provisions align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines with respect to qualitative disclosures.

Prohibition on the display of figures for emission yields (including tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide)

No
Gavel
Expand to view related litigation
Analysis

Packages of smoked tobacco products are no longer required to bear figurative emission yields. However, quantitative disclosures are not prohibited. Moreover, manufacturers are required to print information on the amount of three toxic constituents – nitrosamines, lead, and nicotine – on packages of chewing tobacco and snuff. To align with the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, the regulations should explicitly prohibit the display of figures for emission yields.

Plain or standardized packaging

Yes
Analysis

As of February 7, 2020, plain packaging is required for all tobacco products.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines in that it restricts text and prohibits the use of logos, brand images, color, etc. on packaging.

Prohibition on misleading tobacco packaging & labeling including terms, descriptors, trademarks, figurative or other signs (logos, colors, images that directly create a false impression that a tobacco product is less harmful than other tobacco products)

Yes
Gavel
Expand to view related litigation
Analysis

The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act prohibits promotion of tobacco products “by any means, including by means of the tobacco product packaging, that are false, misleading or deceptive or that are likely to create an erroneous impression about the characteristics, health effects or health hazards of the tobacco product or its emissions.” In addition, regulations promulgated in September 2011 prohibit the use of the terms “light” or “mild” and any variations thereof, including the addition of any modifiers to those terms, such as “extra” or “ultra”, on product packaging.

Nonetheless, deceptive packaging remains on the market, including with the use of substitute descriptors that are also deceptive (e.g., "smooth"), deceptive use of color schemes/shadings, and increasing amounts of white on packages of "lighter" brand variations. Although the provisions of the law meet FCTC Art. 11, the implementation of the law does not. To meet the requirements of FCTC Art. 11, all forms of misleading descriptors and images, including color schemes, should be prohibited.