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Are you an exporter of manufactured food? Say hello to the Certificate of Free Sale

April 2019

A laptop opened to the My CFIA sign up page

As of January 15, 2019, the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) provides the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) authority to issue export certificates for all food sectors provided that the applicable regulatory requirements under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) are met. For exporters operating within the manufactured food sector (products that were previously in the non-federally registered sector), the new Certificate of Free Sale replaces the Manufacturer's Declaration.

Food exporters should keep in mind that the Certificate of Free Sale does not replace or override any product or commodity-specific regulatory requirements or other certificates, or importing requirements of any country.

Why move to the Certificate of Free Sale?

Moving to the Certificate of Free Sale helps further two significant objectives on CFIA's agenda – to facilitate market access for small, medium and large businesses and to better support CFIA's "digital-first" tools and services, making it easier and faster for businesses to request an export certificate.

Benefits of switching to the Certificate of Free Sale

In today's digital age, the previous process for obtaining a Manufacturer's Declaration was outdated. To obtain one, the exporter was required to visit a Notary Public and take an oath promising that their product was made in Canada, was not regulated under other food commodity legislations, and was intended solely for export to the specified country on the form. The notarized document then had to be hand-delivered to a CFIA office.

The Agency understands that for most businesses, the old saying, "there is not enough time in the day" is relatable. Businesses who are eligible for the Certificate of Free Sale can request it online using a My CFIA account in a matter of minutes.

Improving international trade

The Government of Canada aims to increase agri-food exports to $75 billion annually by 2025. To support this commitment, CFIA is focused on improving trade processes and export certification while striving to maintain the safety of Canada's food products – the Certificate of Free Sale does just that.

Before you apply

Before applying for your Certificate of Free Sale ensure that you meet all the following requirements:

  1. You have a valid Safe Food for Canadians Licence;
  2. The food intended for export was produced by a licensed business that meets the applicable SFCR requirements, including the preventive control requirements;
  3. The food was produced under sanitary conditions, is edible, free from contamination and is not labelled in a false, misleading, or deceptive manner;
  4. You are willing to accept the possible commercial risk of your products being refused entry by the importing country; and
  5. The product being exported is still within Canadian borders.

How to apply

Learn more

Food export questions and answers about the SFCR

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