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Archived - Food export questions and answers about the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)

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The following page has been archived. For an updated list of questions and answers please visit Questions and answers: Safe Food for Canadians Regulations of the Toolkit for businesses.

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Meat brokers and meat traders

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will maintain the status quo for meat export processes to maintain market access and prevent negative impacts on existing trade relations. In future, the CFIA will be reviewing export certification processes, and will consult with all stakeholders including foreign competent authorities during any review of certification processes before making any changes.

The CFIA requires applications for meat export certificates to come from the licensed operator of the registered establishment. To clarify with Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) terminology, the CFIA will continue to issue certificates following current processes under SFCR to the licensed food business conducting activities related to preparing for export at a domestic establishment. These activities could include processing, treating, preserving, storing, grading, labelling, packaging, or manufacturing. See Food business activities that require a licence under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations for more information.

Definitions

Meat broker

The commercial entity that is not a principal in export sales transactions and does not take title/ownership of goods. They would only take a commission on the transaction done by two parties, usually the plant and the buyer.

Meat trader

The commercial entity that is a principal in export sales transactions and does take title/ownership of goods as well as arranging for their physical movement to foreign markets. Meat traders engage with foreign customers/stakeholders, and are the party declared on CFIA Official Meat Inspection Certificates (OMICs) as the exporter.

Questions and answers

With these definitions in mind, we have the following questions and responses:

Is an export licence required by a meat trading company to export meat? The health certificate is usually changing ownership from the packers to the trading company before port loading and then to the foreign importer weeks later upon payment.

In the SFCR, exporters are only required to have a licence if they request an export certificate. Meat traders, who would be considered exporters under the SFCR, will not be able to request export certificates at this time as the CFIA will only issue meat export certificates to the licensed operator of the establishment, that is to say, current registered domestic establishments. Therefore, meat traders are not required to have a licence.

Meat traders who are importing and exporting may voluntarily chose export on their licence as well as import.

Under what particular business model would a meat trading company need an export licence?

In accordance with existing procedures, meat trading companies will not need an export licence as the CFIA will only issue meat export certificates to the licensed operator of the establishment.

The SFCR requires exported food to have been prepared by a licence holder.

Is an import licence required by a trading company to import meat? If so, please confirm if it is a different one than for exports.

Yes, meat traders that own the meat shipment that is being imported require a licence to import meat.

Only one (1) licence is needed for those wishing to import and export because both activities can be added to a single licence. The licence must indicate all activities/food commodities applicable.

Can a trading company without an import or export licence manage, by interacting directly with the CFIA, the process of returning a meat container/consignment they own back to Canada without having the original meat processing/packing establishment handle the process with the CFIA?

No, only a licence holder will be allowed to return meat shipments back to Canada and this would normally be the establishment of origin that requested the export certificate although a non-licensed trader can facilitate the return procedure (reference: SFCR § 22(1)(b)).

The CFIA currently works with all parties implicated in the shipment of Canadian goods returned to verify that the integrity of the container was maintained. Traders will not see any changes to the procedures for returning containers to Canada as a result of the SFCR. The product will still need to be presented at a licensed establishment for the purposes of inspection.

Can a trading company without a licence manage, by interacting directly with the CFIA, the process of getting replacement documents on a container/consignment that the trading company owns without having the origin establishment handle the process with CFIA?

Not currently. The CFIA is maintaining the status quo while we transition through the SFCR so even if a trading company had a licence, they would need to follow current processes.

Can a trading company have access to My CFIA and eventually retrieve an electronic certificate (e-certificate) for meat exports once the system is in place?

A trading company will have access to My CFIA if they are getting a licence, that is to say, if it is mandatory for some domestic and import activities and possibly for export of other foods and/or voluntary meat export.

The CFIA will look into the capabilities of My CFIA to support any future changes to the export certification process.

What are the requirements and options for trading companies (exporters) located outside of Canada buying meat products directly from Canadian plants? If a non-resident meat trader needed to be licensed by the CFIA, would they be eligible? Are there any implications for the future as well?

Non-resident exporters can be licensed under SFCR (voluntary for meat export) but they would also be required to work with the licensed operator of the establishment for export certificates as the CFIA requires applications for meat export certificates to come from the operator of the establishment.

Would trading companies with a licence for other food commodities, for example fruits or vegetables, have any advantage on the services they can provide managing meat versus trading companies specialized in meat?

No, trading companies with licences for other commodities will not have any advantage over those specializing in meat exports. While other commodity traders may become licensed and request certificates as per existing program structures for other foods, they will still need to go back to the operator of the meat establishment for the meat certificates.

Manufacturer's Declaration Form (CFIA/ACIA 5280) and the Certificate of Free Sale (CFIA/ACIA 5786)

The CFIA will no longer sign nor countersign the Manufacturer's Declaration Form (CFIA/ACIA 5280) once the SFCR comes into force on January 15th, 2019.

Questions and answers

Why is the Manufacturer's Declaration Form (CFIA/ACIA 5280) not being issued after January 15, 2019?

The Manufacturer's Declaration Form (CFIA/ACIA 5280) is not an export certificate and was developed with the intent to support the non-federally registered food sector (NFRS) where CFIA did not have the authority to certify food exports under the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) and Regulations (FDR).

The new SFCR provides the CFIA with authority to issue export certificates for all foods when a certificate is required by the importing country.

Effective January 15, 2019, the Manufacturer's Declaration Form (CFIA/ACIA 5280) will be replaced by the Certificate of Free Sale (CFIA/ACIA 5786) when a certificate or commercial document is required for export. This certificate will only be issued to food companies licensed under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR).

What is a Certificate of Free Sale?

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) form for the Certificate of Free Sale (CFIA/ACIA 5786) is available for food products manufactured by licensed parties under the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and Regulations (SFCR). A Certificate of Free Sale is issued by the CFIA to meet an importing country's requirements when a certificate or commercial document is required for exported food products. For more information, please visit: https://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/exporting-food/certification/certificate-of-free-sale/eng/1507732648572/1507732649258.

What do I require to obtain a Certificate of Free Sale?

If you want to export your manufactured food products (products that were previously in the non-federally registered sector), and require a certificate of free sale, you must have a valid Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence to manufacture and/or export; and meet other SFCR requirements including a written preventive control plan (PCP).

Can an existing notarized Manufacturer's Declaration Form (CFIA/ACIA 5280) still be used?

A regulated party may continue to use Manufacturer's Declaration Forms that were notarized by a notary prior to January 15th, 2019 for a period of thirty (30) days. This will give exporters time to apply for a licence and put in place a preventive control plan (PCP) and traceability controls in order to request the Certificate of Free Sale (CFIA/ACIA 5786) from the CFIA.

What if a shipment is refused at the importing country's border?

Exporters should work with their local CFIA office when a shipment is refused at the importing country's border. Examples of reasons why a shipment would be refused could include, because of administrative errors on the certificate, or if the country does not recognize the Certificate of Free Sale (CFIA/ACIA 5786) for markets previously accepting the Manufacturer's Declaration Form (CFIA/ACIA 5280).

Am I eligible to apply for a Certificate of Free Sale online?

Initially, applying for a Certificate of Free Sale online through My CFIA will only be available to newly licensed food businesses under the SFCR for foods that fall in the manufactured foods category. These food businesses were not previously registered with the CFIA.

All previously registered food businesses should continue to apply for their export certificates through their local CFIA offices, until further notice.

What are the benefits of applying for the Certificate of Free Sale online?

Your online application takes only minutes to complete, provided you already have a My CFIA account. As part of the online application process once you log into your My CFIA account, you will be taken through a series of questions that will determine the requirements. Once completed, you will be able to immediately download and print an electronically signed certificate from your dashboard.

There are even more benefits of using My CFIA - such as the ability to use copy, re-use, and template functions, which will allow you to re-submit frequently used applications for exported commodities, saving you time.

Do I use the Certificate of Free Sale for all my food exports?

The Certificate of Free Sale should only be used if it is required by the importing country. This is the only certificate CFIA will issue for foods that fall in the manufactured food category; in other words, products that were previously in the non-federally registered sector.

The Certificate of Free Sale does not replace product- or commodity-specific certificates that have been negotiated with foreign countries. It also does not replace or preclude additional import requirements that may be established by the importing country. For any foods manufactured by a currently registered food business, the application for the Certificate of Free Sale or any other required export certificate must be made through local CFIA offices.

Do I need to print the Certificate of Free Sale?

Yes, the Certificate of Free Sale must be printed so it can accompany your shipment and be provided to the importing country.

How do I print my Certificate of Free Sale issued through My CFIA?

The certificate will be available for printing from your My CFIA account dashboard. Navigate to your issued certificate tab and select your certificate from the list. Under the export certificate documents, click and download your original export certificate. You will only be able to print the original certificate once, but you can print as many certified copies of the certificate as you need.

Can my shipment be accompanied with a certified copy of the Certificate of Free Sale or do I need the original certificate?

Your original Certificate of Free sale must be used as the official import document and must accompany your shipment. A certified copy can be forwarded as a duplicate to the importer, used for preclearance purposes and stored in your files.

What if I am unable to print my original certificate?

If you cannot print your certificate, call 1-800-442-CFIA (2342) and a service agent will assist you.

Do I need special paper for the Certificate of Free Sale?

No, you should print your certificate on standard white letter-sized (8.5 × 11) paper. No other colours or sizes will be accepted internationally.

Do I need a colour printer?

Yes, you will need a colour printer in order for the red CFIA electronic stamp and electronic signature to appear clearly.

What is the fee for a Certificate of Free Sale?

Certificates of Free Sale requested through My CFIA will be free of charge for newly SFC licensed food businesses in the manufactured food sector until new fees notice come into effect. For other sectors requesting the certificate of free sale at a CFIA office, existing fees for export certificates identified in the Fees Notice will continue to apply under the SFCR.

Does the Certificate of Free Sale expire?

No, once the Certificate of Free Sale is issued, there is no expiration date. However, the importing country may not accept the certificate if it is not used within a reasonable period of time, as determined by the importing country.

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