• Canadian bilingual labelling laws

6 Things You Need to Know About Canadian Labelling

Project Description

You probably know that in Canada, labels must be bilingual. This means that there are certain requirements to be met. At LAT, we help clients correctly label their products for entry into the Canadian market.

What you probably didn’t know is how many obstacles are often involved when trying to make a product Canadian-friendly. We’ve put together a list of the most common ones.

1. Everything must be translated

A Canadian label must always be bilingual, with very few exceptions. This means the text, as well as any units relating to measure, and any icons or badges displaying claims like “gluten free” must all be translated.

2. Choice of words is crucial

Not just any old translation will do though. Word for word translation often won’t cut it. If the label doesn’t make sense you’re missing out on engaging with your entire target audience, which just results in wasted funds.

3. Design matters

Adding an additional language to a label can be challenging. There’s the issue of space and layout to contend with when you are pretty much doubling the content you have. Not to mention the French way of saying things is often much wordier.

4. French: Québec vs France

Sometimes, we receive an already translated product label. This is great! Unfortunately, when it comes to localization, one size doesn’t fit all. If the translation was done for France for instance, it will not necessarily be appropriate for Québec.

5. FDA vs Health Canada

There are certain things you see on a product in the US, but not in Canada. For example, the US labels GMO food products, but Canada doesn’t have to.

You also can’t claim that a product is high in something, like fibre or protein, and then not list the quantity present on the nutrition table.

6. Meeting Canadian requirements

If your label doesn’t meet Canadian requirements, distributors may refuse to carry your product, which results in lost time and money re-doing and re-printing the label correctly.

Next steps

Get a better ROI from that valuable time and money you’ve just devoted to making sure your product crosses the Canadian border: ensure your product stands out in the (French) Canadian marketplace.

Food and drink features more prominently in the Quebecois lifestyle than other places in North America. When it comes to good food products, Quebecois consumers very well might become your loyal customers. It's worth investing in them.

We help many brands connect with their French-Canadian customers. Let us know how we can help you, too!