The Government of Canada marks two months until the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations come into force

News release

November 15, 2018 – Gatineau, QC

In June 2018, the Government of Canada announced the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, which will protect Canadian families by making the food system even safer by focusing on prevention and allowing for faster removal of unsafe food from the marketplace.

Speaking yesterday at the Food Safety Forum in Gatineau, Quebec, Jean-Claude Poissant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, highlighted that the new regulations will come into effect in two months. In his speech, Mr. Poissant emphasized that the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations will reduce unnecessary administrative burden on businesses by replacing 14 sets of regulations with one, and will help maintain and grow market access for Canada's agri-food and agricultural sector.

Depending on the food commodity, type of activity and business size, compliance with some requirements will be necessary immediately on January 15, 2019 while others will be phased in over the following 12-30 months.

The new regulations will require food businesses that import or prepare food for export or to be sent across provincial or territorial borders to have licences, as well as preventive controls that outline steps to address potential risks to food safety. They will also help reduce the time it takes to remove unsafe food from the marketplace by requiring businesses to trace their food back to their supplier and forward to whom they sold their products.

The United States has recently made it a requirement for all Canadian businesses that ship food to the US to meet their new food safety standards. The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations will permit Canadian food businesses to acquire a licence that demonstrates that they meet the requirements under the U.S. Foreign Supplier Verification Program and continue trading with the U.S.

Businesses that require a licence will have to attest that they have preventive controls in place (such as sanitation and pest control measures) and businesses with $100K or more in annual sales will have to prepare a written prevention control plan. Businesses are encouraged to enrol now in My CFIA and be prepared to apply for their licence when it becomes available. My CFIA is a convenient and secure way to do business with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Businesses can manage and track service requests online, including permissions such as licences, permits, registrations and export certificates. Those who submit SFCR licence applications by email or fax will be redirected to apply using the My CFIA portal.The CFIA is sharing information with industry in face-to-face sessions across the country as well as through webinars.  More webinars will be offered over the coming weeks. Details will be posted to the CFIA website as they become available.


“The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations are the result of an unprecedented level of consultation with the agriculture sector and other stakeholders. They will enhance Canada’s reputation as a global leader in food safety, while expanding market access for Canadian food products.”

– Jean-Claude Poissant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

"The Canadian Produce Marketing Association worked closely with members and CFIA during the development of the SFCR and looks forward to implementation that fulfills the mandate of a safe, nutritious food supply for Canadians which strengthens Canada's long standing status as a global leader in food safety."

– Ron Lemaire, President, Canadian Produce Marketing Association

“I.E.Canada and its members support the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations coming into force on January 15, 2019. Implementation of the regulations will effectively enhance consumer confidence in the safety of food that is imported into Canada and produced within Canada.”

– Jim Sutton, Executive Director, Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters (IE Canada)

“The Retail Council of Canada supports the new Safe Food for Canadians regulations and is partnering with CFIA to make compliance easier through the RCC Guidebook and other resources.  RCC partnered with CFIA early and meaningfully, landing on a single set of rules that clarify expectations and foster a level playing field across the food industry.”

– Jason McLinton, Vice President, Grocery Division and Regulatory Affairs,

Retail Council of Canada

“CMC has a long-standing relationship with the CFIA and these regulations are an essential building block of a risk-based, modern food safety system that will improve consistency and allow companies more flexibility to run their businesses.”

– Chris White, President and CEO, Canadian Meat Council

“These new outcome-based regulations are forward-thinking and support the introduction of new, safe innovative foods in the Canadian marketplace. Food and Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) wishes to thank the CFIA for helping our members adapt to the changes needed under the regulations and providing guidance on how to leverage new food safety requirements to support our important continued trade relationship with the U.S. We are confident that our members will transition readily through the adaptation of existing food safety programs to meet the needs of the new Regulations."         

– Susan Abel, Vice President, Safety & Compliance, Food and Consumer Products Canada

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has interactive tools and sector-specific timelines to help businesses find out if and when new requirements will apply to them. The CFIA also has plain-language information and resources – including step-by-step guides - to help businesses meet all the new requirements.

  • Food businesses that were not previously registered with the CFIA will need to meet requirements under the regulations. This includes businesses conducting activities related to confectionary, snack foods, beverages, oils, dried herbs and spices, nuts and seeds, coffee and tea, processed grain-based foods such as baked goods, cereals and pasta, among others.

  • The new regulations will also apply to all imported food to ensure that it meets the same food safety outcomes and has been prepared with the same level of food safety controls as food prepared in Canada.

Associated links


Media Relations
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Oliver Anderson
Senior Policy and Communications Advisor
Office of Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

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