Starting Nov. 1, 2022, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will resume its regular enforcement of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) requirements for the manufactured food sector.

Back in 2020, the CFIA made the decision not to prioritize compliance activities associated with the SFCR, which came into affect on July 15, 2020, in recognition of the challenges faced by the industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period, importers of manufactured foods were not expected to encounter delays or disruptions in their imports as a result of not having a Safe Food for Canadians licence yet – although they were still free to apply for a licence under the SFCA.

Effective Nov. 1, 2022, regular compliance activities will resume. According to the CFIA press release: “As of this date, the CFIA will conduct compliance activities in the MFS consistent with its long-standing Compliance and enforcement policy to respond to non-compliance with fairness, impartiality and transparency. CFIA’s early enforcement efforts, where possible, will focus on promoting the understanding of and compliance with these new requirements.”

Businesses that that have not yet applied for a licence under the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) should do so as soon as possible to make sure they will comply with SFCR requirements.

In most cases, importers require a licence to import foods into Canada. If you aren’t sure whether you need a licence or not, you can use the following tool:

SFCR Licensing Interactive Tool

The CFIA notes that importers must get their licence before presenting your shipment at the border. You will not be able to get a licence at the border.

Learn how to apply for a Safe Food for Canadians licence here.

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