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Food and Nutrition

Marketing Authorizations

The power to make Marketing Authorizations (MA) is an authority provided to the Minister of Health pursuant to sections 30.2 to 30.4 of the Food and Drugs Act. MAs are ministerial regulations which enable the Minister to implement certain food safety decisions by exempting from prohibitions found in either the Food and Drugs Act or the Food and Drug Regulations. Additionally, MAs can be used to define classes, set conditions and incorporate documents by reference.

As regulations, MAs have the force of law and are enforceable as are any documents that are incorporated by reference into the MAs.

Related Information

Scope and Limitations

The MA authority is a regulatory tool that the Minister of Health may choose to use to implement certain food decisions. Food industry stakeholders may put forward a submission to change some aspect of food regulation, which in turn may result in the amendment of an existing MA or the creation of a new MA.

MAs cannot be used to establish new prohibitions at the level of the Act or Regulations. They can only exempt specifically from paragraphs 4(1)(a), 4(1)(d), sections 6, 6.1 of the Food and Drugs Act and/or any other provision of the Food and Drug Regulations. Furthermore, MAs are rules of general application, meaning that they apply to the entire food industry, as opposed to a single individual or company.

Even though they refer to sections of the Food and Drug Regulations, MAs are not part of or housed under the Food and Drug Regulations. They are their own separate regulations made under the Food and Drugs Act. Links to the current food MAs are available in the Table of Food Marketing Authorizations

The Marketing Authorization Process

As regulations, MAs are subject to the requirements of the Statutory Instruments Act (SIA) and the Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management (CDRM). When creating a new MA or amending an existing MA, Health Canada must follow a formal regulatory process which includes review of the proposed MA by Justice Canada, public consultations on the proposed MA and final publication of the MA in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

Since MAs are ministerial regulations, the entire regulatory development process, including review of the proposal against the CDRM, is managed by Health Canada (as opposed to the Treasury Board Secretariat), providing greater control over prioritization, approval timelines, consultation management and regulatory drafting. Additionally, final decisions are subject to Ministerial approval (as opposed to the Governor in Council).

Consultations on Food Marketing Authorizations

Consultations pertaining to Food Marketing Authorizations are available under the Food and Nutrition "Public engagement and partnerships" page of the Health Canada website.

Interim Marketing Authorizations and Temporary Marketing Authorizations

The ability to issue Interim Marketing Authorizations (IMA) has been replaced at the level of the Food and Drugs Act with the MA authority. As such, Health Canada will no longer be issuing IMAs.

The MA authority does not change Health Canada's ability to issue Temporary Marketing Authorization Letters (TMAL) where appropriate. Further information on TMALs is available in the document General Guidance Document for Temporary Marketing Authorization for Foods.

Table of Food Marketing Authorizations

The table below provides links to Health Canada's current food-related MAs and any documents that are incorporated by reference into each MA.

Marketing Authorization Associated Documents Incorporated by Reference into the MA
Marketing Authorization for Gluten-Free Oats and Foods Containing Gluten-free Oats n/a
Marketing Authorization for Maximum Residue Limits for Veterinary Drugs in Foods List of Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for Veterinary Drugs in Foods
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as Anticaking Agents List of Permitted Anticaking Agents
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as Bleaching, Maturing or Dough Conditioning Agents List of Permitted Bleaching, Maturing or Dough Conditioning Agents
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as Colouring Agents List of Permitted Colouring Agents
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as Emulsifying, Gelling, Stabilizing or Thickening Agents List of Permitted Emulsifying, Gelling, Stabilizing or Thickening Agents
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as Food Enzymes List of Permitted Food Enzymes
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as Firming Agents List of Permitted Firming Agents
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as Glazing or Polishing Agents List of Permitted Glazing or Polishing Agents
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives with Other Generally Accepted Uses List of Permitted Food Additives with Other Generally Accepted Uses
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as Sweeteners List of Permitted Sweeteners
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as pH Adjusting Agents, Acid-Reacting Materials or Water Correcting Agents List of Permitted pH Adjusting Agents, Acid-Reacting Materials or Water Correcting Agents
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as Preservatives List of Permitted Preservatives
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as Sequestering Agents List of Permitted Sequestering Agents
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as Starch-Modifying Agents List of Permitted Starch Modifying Agents
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as Yeast Foods List of Permitted Yeast Foods
Marketing Authorization for Food Additives That May Be Used as Carrier or Extraction Solvents List of Permitted Carrier or Extraction Solvents