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Operational procedure: Procedures for cancelling a food licence

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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1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspection staff on the procedures for cancelling a licence issued under sections 20(1) of the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA).

This document is intended to be used in conjunction with other guidance documents as referenced in section 3.0.

The guidance outlined below should be used when the inspectorate has applied the SRRP, reviewed the Operational guideline – Food regulatory response guidelines and determines that suspension of a food licence is appropriate.

2.0 Authorities

The inspection powers, control actions and enforcement actions authorized by the above legislation are identified and explained in the Operational guideline – Food regulatory response guidelines.

3.0 Reference documents

4.0 Definitions

Definitions are located in either the:

5.0 Acronyms

Acronyms are spelled out the first time they are used in this document and are consolidated in the Food business line acronyms list.

6.0 Operational procedure

6.1 Verify that grounds for cancellation are met

Refer to the Operational guideline – Food regulatory response guidelines to verify that grounds for cancellation of a licence are met.

6.2 Recommend that the Director of Operations begin the licence cancellation process

6.3 Provide an opportunity to be heard

If the licence holder accepts the invitation for an opportunity to be heard, the Director of Operations:

In the event that the licence holder declines the opportunity, the Director of Operations makes their final decision based on the information available and records it on the Recommendation for a Licence Action form.

The Director of Operations forwards the decision to regional inspection staff as per established protocols.

6.4 Complete cancellation of the licence

If the Director of Operations decides to proceed with the cancellation:

6.5 Notify Centre of Administration (CoA) of the CFIA decision to cancel a licence

Once the inspection decision has been taken to cancel a food licence, the Director of Operations or delegate, sends a red-flagged e-mail to the CoA at

  1. subject line in the e-mail "CANCELLATION– SFC licence – licence number – company name"
  2. communicate valid rationale that led to this decision in the body of the e-mail
  3. attach supporting documentation (if applicable) to help the CoA defend the Director of Operations' decision when the CoA removes the regulated party from the Safe Food for Canadians Licence Registry,
    When a licence is cancelled, the CoA will amend the status of the licence in DSDP. The Safe Food for Canadians Licence Registry list is directly updated from DSDP (it may take up to 4 hours for the list to refresh). The amendments to the Safe Food for Canadians Licence Registry List, reflects the eligibility of the food business licenced under the SFCR for export to US and countries that do not require a commodity and country specific establishment or product eligibility list.
    The export eligibility lists for fish (Canadian Establishments Approved List for fish and seafood), the List of Federally Registered Meat Establishments and their Licensed Operators for meat and the list of Registered egg stations are maintained separately. CoA will manually update these lists when notified by the inspectors of changes to a licence status.
  4. inspector should confirm that the licence holder's status on the Safe Food for Canadians Licence Registry and other applicable eligibility lists have been updated.
  5. apply the Operational procedure – Procedures for maintaining food export eligibility lists to request removal of the licence holder from all applicable export eligibility lists. Country specific export eligibility lists are maintained by the Food Import / Export Division or by Foreign Competent Authorities of the importing country and found in the Export registers and lists - Information by country.


If the licence holder continues to conduct an activity that was identified in their licence after the licence is cancelled, refer to the Standard regulatory response process to determine appropriate enforcement and or control actions.

7.0 Appendices

For general inquiries related to this operational guidance document, please follow established communication channels, including submitting an electronic Request for Action Form (e-RAF).

Appendix 1 – Forms and templates

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