Understanding the New Licensing System Under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

The Safe Food For Canadians Regulations (“SFCR”) came into effect on January 15, 2019. Many of the requirements are being phased in over a 12 to 30 month period. The phase-in periods affect fish, meat products, dairy products (including eggs), certain vegetable and fruit products, honey, unprocessed foods, additives, and organic aquaculture foodstuffs. If you need assistance with customs clearance in Canada for these products, please do not hesitate to contact the brokers with ARGO Customs.

About the New SFCR System

Part of the newly-in-force SFCR is a new online licensing system. If you import or export foods into or out of Canada, you can now apply for a license online for whichever activities your business engages in. For example, licenses are available for:

• Importing;
• Manufacturing;
• Treating;
• Packaging;
• And processing food products.

The new licensing system streamlines the old process by creating a universal system to identify who is involved in the production and supply of food in Canada. As you can imagine, the purpose of the system is to improve safety in the food supply system. Moreover, the system is not dogmatic; it is flexible allowing you to structure your license application to apply to the business in which you engage. For example, you can apply for licenses for importing and packaging but not for manufacturing, treating, or processing of food products. Finally, the system more closely aligns Canada’s food inspection and safety system with international norms allowing you to export your food products more easily.

If you are unsure if your business needs a license, the Canada Food Inspection Agency designed this interactive tool to help you. Moreover, if you would like more specialized attention regarding customs clearance in Canada, you can always contact ARGO Customs for assistance. In general, if your business engages in any of the above-listed activities as it relates to food, you likely will be required to apply for a license.

Understanding the Difference Between DRC vs. SFCR

Please be advised about the difference between a Safe Food for Canadians license and a Dispute Resolution Corporation (DRC) membership. The DRC is a non-profit that was founded to encourage ethical and fair-trade practices by providing a forum for the effective resolution of trade disputes which – in theory – reduces trade externalities. An important note, if you want to import fresh fruit, you need an SFCR license and DRC membership.

ARGO Customs Can Help

Contact ARGO customs today for more information about customs clearance in Canada and importing and exporting.