Health Canada has received a notice of fraudulent and uncertified N95 respirators being sold illegally online and in a few stores with false claims of protecting people from COVID-19.

N95 respirators are classified by Health Canada as Class I medical devices as well as made and imported by companies that hold a Medical Device Establishing License. The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certifies all N95 respirators for importing.

Fraudulent and unauthorized N95 respirators may not have the same performance standards as authorized NIOSH N95 ones and may not be able to protect consumers from COVID-19.

In fact, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the 95 in the number indicates when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small test particles. So anyone fraudulently claiming to have N95 masks is lying to consumers about testing and certification that the manufacturer does not have.

The selling and advertising of fraudulent and unauthorized medical devices is illegal. Health Canada is currently monitoring websites to identify anyone selling these products and working with online retailers to take down these products from their websites.

Health Canada is also working with the Competition Bureau, Public Health Agency of Canada, and Canada Border Services Agency in enforcing action to address false and misleading claims of medical devices related to COVID-19.

If you want to learn more about Health Canada’s suggestions for face masks to be worn by the public, please go here.