Safe Food for Canadians FAQ


-> Safe Food for Canadians Regulation

Under the new Act, who will need a licence. 

Generally speaking, if a person is doing any of the following activities, they will need a licence:

  • Manufacturing, processing, treating, preserving, grading, packaging or labelling a food that will be exported or moved between provinces

  • Importing food

  • Exporting a food that requires an export certificate

  • Slaughtering a food animal

  • Storing and handling a meat product in its imported condition for inspection by the CFIA

Why does CFIA require licensing.

Licensing would allow the CFIA to:

  • Identify businesses preparing food for inter-provincial trade, export, or importing food into Canada

  • Authorize a person to carry out specified activities

Is CFIA still registering facilities.

CFIA will no longer be registering establishments, but will be issuing licences to a person to carry out activities. Existing registrations will transition to licences as they expire.   

How long would the license be valid.

For 2 years.

When should currently registered establishments apply for a licence.

Registered establishments would be permitted to continue operating under their current registration until it expires. Then they would be required to obtain a licence. 

What are the exemptions for licensing requirements.

  •  Food additives

  •  Alcohol

  • Packaging in the field of fresh fruit or vegetables that will be manufactured, processed, treated, preserved or graded by a licence holder in another province

  • Packaging, labelling and import of unprocessed foods intended to be processed for use as grain, oil, pulse, sugar  or beverage (e.g., wheat, canola, lentils, green coffee beans, etc.)  

What do Canadian businesses need for importing food to Canada.

Canadian businesses that import food would need to:

  • Have a licence to import

  • Have a preventive control plan (in most cases)

  • Import food that is manufactured, prepared, stored, packaged and labelled under similar food safety controls as food prepared in Canada

  • Maintain procedures and processes for handling and investigating complaints and recalls

What should Canadian businesses do if they export food.

They would have to export food that:

  • Has been manufactured, processed, treated, preserved, graded, packaged, labelled by a licence holder.

  • Meets the safety requirements of the proposed SFCR, when there are no requirements in place in a foreign country.

The proposed SFCR requirements would always have to be met for:

  • Traceability

  • Animal welfare

  • Humane treatment of animals

  • Preventive control plan

  • Workshift agreements

When would food businesses need to be licensed.

Once the Regulations come into force, the following timelines have been proposed:

Immediately for:

  • Meat, Fish, Eggs, Processed Eggs, Dairy, Processed fruits or vegetables, Honey, Maple, Fresh fruits or vegetables

  • Anyone requesting an export certificate

Two years for all other food.

What is the new Safe Food for Canadian Act based on.

It is based on prevention. Prevention control requirements are intended to ensure food businesses prepare food in a sanitary manner.

Who will need a preventive control plan.

Generally speaking, a written preventive control plan would be required for:

  1. Most licence holders whose food is traded interprovincially

  2. Most licence holders who import food

  3. Most fresh fruit or vegetable (FFV) growers/harvesters whose FFV are traded interprovincially

  4.  All licence holders who manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, store, package or label meat or fish for export

  5. All licence holders who store and handle a meat product in its imported condition for inspection by the CFIA

  6. Food businesses who would like to receive an export certificate from CFIA

What is included in a written PCP (Preventive Control Plan).

  • A hazard analysis – describing the biological, chemical and physical hazards that could reasonably occur.

  • Description of the control measures in place, and evidence showing they are effective.

  • Description of the critical control points and related: • control measures  • critical limits, • monitoring procedures • corrective action procedures  

  • Procedures to verify the written PCP is implemented and is effective.

  • Descriptions of the measures in place to ensure you meet the labelling, packaging, grading, standards of identity, net quantity, and humane treatment of animals applicable to your products.  

  • Any supporting documents, including information you used to determine the hazards associated with your foods, the rational for determining CCPs and historical data.

If you have any questions for CFIA, please use the link below to ask your questions:

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