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Overview: Licensing of food businesses

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

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.

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Under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), food businesses need a licence based on the activities they conduct. Food businesses that conduct any of the following activities are required to obtain a licence:

Find out if and when you need a licence by using our licensing interactive tool. It only takes 5 minutes.

How does it work?

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.

To apply for a licence, a business must submit an application to CFIA providing:

If a business holds a registration or licence issued under the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Fish Inspection Act or the Meat Inspection Act:

Once expired, food businesses will need to apply for a licence under the SFCR.

Sign up for My CFIA today to access a growing number of online services including, licences, export certificates, as well as electronic payment options.

Why it matters

Currently, not all food businesses require a licence. Licensing helps CFIA to:

Learn more at

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