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Ministerial exemptions for alleviating a shortage in Canada

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, other requirements will be introduced in 2020 and 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

In order to alleviate a shortage in the domestic supply of a food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, the Minister may exempt the food marketed through import or interprovincial trade from the minimum grade (quality), labelling and/or packaging requirements prescribed by the Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations (SFCA/R) [174(1), SFCR].

This ministerial exemption must be necessary to alleviate a shortage in Canada in the available supply of a food that is manufactured, processed or produced, and must not have an adverse effect on health and safety. The food product for which an exemption is issued must comply with all other applicable federal legislation, including the Food and Drugs Act and the Food and Drug Regulations.


The process for applying for a ministerial exemption to alleviate a shortage in Canada and its requirements (for all foods) will be developed and published in the Industry Labelling Tool. Until that time, all former ministerial exemption processes will continue.

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