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Less than one month until your food business may need a licence

In less than one month many food businesses will require a licence when the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) come into force. You can apply for a Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence in My CFIA now. In order to apply for an SFC licence, businesses will need to attest that they have preventive controls in place.

Those who submit SFC licence applications by email or fax will be asked to apply using the My CFIA portal. If you already have a CFIA account number you will automatically be charged on January 15. Businesses who wish to pay by credit card will need to sign back in to My CFIA on January 15 to pay for their licence. Your licence will be issued digitally on or after January 15 (once payment is received and necessary verifications have been completed).

Keep in mind – if your business currently has a registration or licence with the CFIA and it is expiring before January 15, 2019, continue your normal process to renew your registration or licence, as needed. That registration or licence will remain valid under the SFCR until it expires, even if your date of expiry of the renewed registration or licence occurs after January 15, 2019, provided there is a statement on it indicating that it is also a licence under the Safe Food for Canadians Act. Once expired, you will be required to apply for an SFC licence under SFCR.

Find out what to consider before applying for an SFC licence and make sure you understand which food category to select.

To find out if your business will require an SFC licence or need to meet other SFCR requirements on January 15, 2019, visit the Timelines landing page to access the interactive tools and sector-specific timelines for various food commodities.

Videos on how to apply for a licence

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has new videos to help business owners apply for a licence and understand whether they should create a single or multiple profiles for their business in My CFIA.

Licensing fees

The licence will cost $250. An amended Fees Notice was published in Canada Gazette 1 on December 15, 2018. The amendments will come into force on January 15, 2019 in line with the SFCR. For those that currently pay establishment registration fees, it is important to note that these fees have been converted to establishment inspection fees. The monetary amount will remain the same. These are in addition to the SFC licence fee and will be payable upon the first inspection in a given year.

The CFIA has created a chart comparing previous and new fees to help businesses understand the changes by commodity.

Certificate of free sale

The manufacturers’ declaration will no longer be used for exports as of January 15, 2019. Food Businesses must obtain a licence and certificate of free sale through My CFIA.

Upcoming webinars

The English sessions of the SFCR webinars are now full; however, businesses can still register in the French sessions (simultaneous French interpretation). For those unable to make one of the webinars, we will be recording a session and posting it to the SFCR section of the CFIA’s website in early January 2019.

For more information, visit the SFCR webinars for industry page.

New and updated guidance documents

To help businesses prepare for the new regulations, the CFIA will continue to publish new and updated guidance documents on a regular basis. The CFIA has an advanced search tool called the Guidance Finder, which lets users find information about SFCR requirements by specifying activity type, food commodity, method of production and document type.

The following documents were recently posted on the SFCR website:



For more information about the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, visit

Once you have obtained your SFCR licence, please contact the service group.