Public advisory

Counterfeit 3M N95 respirators

Starting date:
March 19, 2021
Type of communication:
Medical Device
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Product Safety
General Public, Healthcare Professionals, Hospitals
Identification number:

Last updated:


  • Product:
    Counterfeit 3M N95 respirators
  • Issue:
    Recent seizures of counterfeit respirators in Canada and at the border.
  • What to do:
    Visit 3M’s website or call its anti-fraud hotline (1-800-426-8688) for help in identifying and reporting suspected counterfeit respirators. Suspected counterfeit respirators can also be reported to Health Canada.


Health Canada is warning Canadians about counterfeit 3M N95 respirators in light of recent seizures of counterfeit products in Canada and at the border.

Health Canada is working with 3M Canada, the manufacturer of authentic 3M N95 respirators, and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to address the issue of counterfeit 3M N95 respirators, also seen in other countries. 3M has established a hotline and published information on its website to help Canadian customers identify, prevent and report suspected fraud.

Counterfeit health products are imitations of legitimate products. They lack any assurance of safety, quality and efficacy. It is illegal to sell or advertise counterfeit health products. The Department takes this issue seriously and will use all available tools to stop these activities, including product seizures and stopping products from entering Canada at the border. Since mid-February 2021, the Department has seized close to 330,000 counterfeit 3M-branded N95 respirators from Canadian distributors and detained nearly 365,000 at the border.

These 3M N95 respirators are intended to be used by health care professionals in health settings. Respirators are essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. They help protect health care providers and slow the spread of the disease. It is vital that health care providers can trust the equipment that they rely on. In addition to working with Health Canada, 3M has confirmed that it has alerted its Canadian customers, provinces and territories, and other federal departments of the issue, and is working with provinces and law enforcement across the country to help identify counterfeit products.

Health Canada remains committed to protecting Canada’s supply of legitimate respirators and preventing counterfeit respirators from entering the Canadian supply chain. The Department is working with 3M to confirm counterfeit products, to identify their source and to determine where they may have been distributed or sold in Canada. Health Canada is also working with regulated parties to recall counterfeit respirators from the Canadian supply chain.

Health Canada will continue to take action to stop the import and sale of counterfeit respirators in Canada.

What you should do

  • 3M customers, including purchasers and distributors, should check whether 3M N95 respirators are counterfeit using information that 3M has published on its website. Tips from 3M for identifying counterfeit respirators include:
    • Respirators with quality issues like missing straps, strange odours, blocked valves or misspelled words, are likely not authentic 3M respirators.
    • 3M respirators should be procured only in 3M packaging, with model-specific user instructions accompanying the product. 3M respirators are not meant to be sold individually or without packaging (including user instructions).
    • Purchasing 3M respiratory protection products from 3M authorized distributors provides the greatest assurance of authentic 3M products.
    • More tips to help identify counterfeits of models 1860, 1860S and 1870+ are available online. 
  • Contact 3M through its toll-free anti-fraud hotline at 1-800-426-8688 to verify or report suspected counterfeit respirators. Suspected counterfeits can also be reported using 3M’s online form.
  • Suspected counterfeit respirators can also be reported to Health Canada.

Affected products

To date, Health Canada has seized counterfeit versions of the following 3M models:

Product description

  • 3M Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1860;
  • 3M Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1860S; and
  • 3M Aura Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1870+.

Media enquiries

Health Canada

(613) 957-2983

3M Canada Media Relations


Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991

1-866 225-0709

3M Fraud hotline