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What we heard report – Consultation on the proposed changes to maximum quantity limits for personal use exemption

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Introduction

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) set out maximum limits on the amount of food that can be moved by travelers across borders for their personal use. These limits are specified in a document that is incorporated by reference into the SFCR called: Maximum quantity limits for personal use exemption.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recently proposed changes to how much food individuals can bring with them into Canada, aiming for personal limits that reflect the weight or volume of foods typically brought by travelers for their personal use. The CFIA sought feedback about the proposal through a 27-day public consultation in early 2020. Participants included consumers, industry members, and government representatives.

This report summarizes the feedback CFIA received during the consultation period. The CFIA would like to thank all those who participated in the consultation.

Consultation overview

The CFIA consulted on the maximum quantity limits for personal use exemption, which is divided into 31 categories of foods, through an online consultation from February 6, 2020 to March 4, 2020.

The objective of the consultation was to seek feedback from Canadians on the proposed personal use limits for food.

Who we heard from

The CFIA received 161 submissions outlining questions and proposed adjustments to the values of the maximum quantity limits for the personal use exemption:

What we heard

Stakeholders provided valuable perspectives and information on the proposals for personal exemption limits. The proposed maximum quantity limits appeared to be well received for some food categories. Some respondents identified food categories that should be adjusted to better reflect typical personal use weights or volumes.

Depending on the type of food, there was general support, mixed views, or indications that the proposed limit was too high or too low. The following summarizes what was heard. Note that not all respondents responded to all categories.

General support

There was general support for the proposed limits for honey, maple syrup, and maple products, processed egg products, and all foods not otherwise identified in a specific category (categories 8, 9, 10, 16 and 31).

Mixed views

Respondents expressed varying viewpoints with respect to dairy products, including milk and cream (categories 1 and 2), fish and seafood (category 4), fresh fruits and fresh vegetables (categories 6 and 7), and meat products other than chicken, turkey, beef or veal (category 11). Some respondents said they favour an increase to the proposed limits while others want to see the limit decreased.

Additional comments included:

Proposed level too high

Respondents indicated that the personal import limit for eggs (category 3), dry fish (category 5) and oils, including olive oil, (category 26) is too high and should be reduced. In the case of eggs, it was suggested to reduce the limit to 2 or 3 dozen.

Proposed level too low

For several categories, some respondents said the proposed personal exemption limit was too low. These include:

Next steps

CFIA is reviewing all of the comments provided as it considers adjustments to the proposed limits. The revised personal use exemption limits will be posted on CFIA's website in a document that is incorporated by reference in the SFCR entitled: Maximum quantity limits for personal use exemption.

CFIA's website will also be updated to include guidance and compliance promotion material related to the maximum quantity limits for personal use exemption.

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