Fact Sheet: Licensing of Food Businesses
Proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)

PDF (117 kb)

Under the proposed SFCR, most food businesses would require a licence to:

  • import food
  • manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package, or label food to be exported or sold across provinces
  • export food that requires an export certificate – even if not preparing the food
  • slaughter food animals where the meat product is to be exported or to sold across provinces
  • store and handle a meat product in its imported condition for inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Would you need a licence? Find out by using our interactive tool. It only takes 5 minutes.

How would it work?

A business may choose to apply for one licence that covers all its establishments, activities and types of food, or multiple licences that would cover unique combinations of establishments, activities and types of food.

To apply for a licence, a business would submit an application to the CFIA providing

  • activities for which a licence is being sought
  • location(s) of establishment(s) where the activities will be conducted
  • types of foods for which a licence is being sought

If a business currently holds a registration or licence issued under the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Fish Inspection Act or the Meat Inspection Act,

  • it would remain valid until it expires, even once the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) is in force, as long as
  • there is a statement on it that it is also a licence issued under the SFCA.

Once expired, food businesses would need to apply for a licence under the SFCR.

Applying for a licence would be easy – through your My CFIA account, a new and secure way to access CFIA's services online, view and manage your transactions, and apply for certain permissions, including those licences that will become required once the proposed SFCR comes into force.

Why it matters

Currently, not all food businesses require a licence. Licensing would help the CFIA to

  • better identify food safety risks in order to target inspections
  • communicate important food safety information directly to food businesses
  • take enforcement actions, such as suspending or cancelling a licence, when regulatory requirements are not met

Learn more at www.inspection.gc.ca/safefood.

You may also be interested in:

  • Would you need a licence? interactive tool
  • Video: SFCR – What Food Businesses Need to Know
  • Understanding the proposed SFCR: a handbook for food businesses

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