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Getting started: Toolkit for food businesses

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) generally apply to businesses that import food or prepare food for export or interprovincial trade. Certain traceability, labelling and advertising requirements also apply to food businesses that trade intraprovincially.

Does your business need to meet new requirements? Find out by using these interactive tools:

Consult the sector-specific timelines to determine when the requirements apply to your business. If you need a licence, you can apply using My CFIA.


If you need a licence, you can apply using My CFIA. To get a licence, you need to have a written preventive control plan or preventive controls in place.

A business may choose to apply for one licence that covers all of its establishments, activities and types of food, or multiple licences that would cover unique combinations of establishments, activities and types of food.

Refer to Licensing for more information.

Preventive controls

Preventive controls help to prevent food safety hazards and reduce the likelihood of contaminated food entering the market, whether the food is prepared in Canada or imported.

Under the SFCR, most businesses need to document their food safety controls in a preventive control plan (PCP). However, small businesses in some sectors may not require a written plan but do have to have preventive controls in place, such as sanitation and pest control measures.

Refer to Preventive controls for food businesses for more information.


Traceability is the ability to track the movement of a food product, one step forward and one step back in the supply chain. Retailers only need to trace one step back, not forward to consumers.

Refer to Traceability for food for more information.


Imported food must be prepared with the same level of food safety controls as food prepared in Canada. Canadian businesses importing food, including ingredients, will need a licence in most cases.

Refer to Food imports for more information.


As an exporter, the food you export must meet Canadian requirements, as well as those of the importing country, before you can export your food. Countries may have different requirements for each food commodity. You are responsible for knowing the requirements set by the country of import that relate to public and animal health as well as plant protection. When there are no requirements in the foreign country, you still need to comply with applicable Canadian law.

Refer to Food exports for more information.

More information

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