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Regulatory requirements: licensing of food businesses

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

As of March 31, 2020, CFIA fees are subject to an annual adjustment based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Please refer to CFIA's Fees Notice for updated fee amounts.

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1.0 Introduction

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) provide the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) with the ability to issue licences to food businesses, authorizing them to conduct one or more activities, These regulations also allow the CFIA to renew, amend, suspend or cancel a licence.

The ability to licence food businesses who import food into Canada, make food, or slaughter food animals for interprovincial trade or export provides the CFIA with:

The following provides an overview of the regulatory requirements on licensing, as found in Part 3, Division 1 of the SFCR.

2.0 The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's authority to issue, renew or amend a licence

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Sections 26 and 27

Rationale

These sections of the SFCR define the scope of food commodities and activities for which the CFIA may issue a licence. Licensing allows CFIA to authorize a food business to conduct an activity and, where relevant, to attach specific conditions to those activities.

What this means for your food business

To help you understand, specific criteria and resources are provided below. Key terms throughout the text have been hyperlinked to the SFCR glossary.

Sections 26 and 27: Food commodities and activities for which the Canadian Food Inspection Agency may issue a licence.

Resource:

3.0 Licence application

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Section 28 and Paragraph 29(1)(e)

Rationale

Under the SFCR, CFIA uses an application process to issue, renew or amend licences to food businesses. The information collected during the application process allows the CFIA to develop a profile for each licence holder, including their contact information, the type of food, or food commodity and the activities that they conduct on the food or food commodity. This profile helps the CFIA to better plan inspections based on risk.

What this means for your food business

To help you understand, specific criteria and resources are provided below. Key terms throughout the text have been hyperlinked to the SFCR glossary.

Section 28 and Paragraph 29(1)(e): Application for the issuance, renewal or amendment of a licence.

4.0 Conditions for the issuance, renewal or amendment of a licence

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Sections 29 to 34

Rationale

There are conditions that need to be met before the CFIA can issue, renew or amend your licence. These conditions are there to make sure that food businesses:

What this means for your food business

To help you understand, specific criteria, resources and examples are provided below. Key terms throughout the text have been hyperlinked to the SFCR glossary.

Paragraphs 29 (1)(a), (b), (e) and (f): General conditions for issuing, renewing or amending a licence.

Paragraph 29(1)(c): Additional conditions for the issuance, renewal or amendment of a licence to import

Paragraph 29(1)(d): Additional condition for the issuance, renewal or amendment of a licence with respect to food animals and meat products

Section 30: Refusal to issue, renew or amend a licence

Subsection 31(1): Location of activities associated with the licence

Section 31(2) and (3): Timeframe that activities can be conducted during work shift

Section 32: Amendment of a licence due to your inability to conduct one or more activities identified in your licence

Section 33: Expiry of a licence

Section 34: Invalidity of a licence

In addition, subsection 20(5) of the SFCA does not allow you to transfer your licence to another person.

5.0 Suspension and cancellation of a licence

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Subsection 29(2) and sections 35 to 40

Rationale

The suspension of a licence is an option that may be used by the CFIA to allow a licence holder to maintain their licence while trying to address a non-compliance.

The cancellation of a licence is a final step used in situations where the licence holder is unable or unwilling to correct a non-compliance.

What this means for your food business

To help you understand, specific criteria and resources are provided below. Key terms throughout the text have been hyperlinked to the SFCR glossary.

Section 35: Grounds for suspending a licence

Section 36: Notification prior to suspending a licence

Section 37: Grounds for immediate suspension

Section 38: Duration of suspension

Subsection 29(2): Renewal of a suspended licence

Section 39: Grounds for cancelling a licence

Section 40: Notification prior to cancelling a licence

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