New CFIA Notice: Safe Food for Canadians Licence Requirement for Food Imports

Dec 9, 2023 | News

Dear Valued Client,

In a recent notice released on November 1, 2023, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has highlighted the mandatory requirement for most food importers to possess a valid Safe Food for Canadians licence (SFC licence). Effective February 12, 2024, the CFIA will implement automatic verification procedures for SFC licences concerning the import of manufactured foods.

The prerequisites for a valid SFC licence for importing food into Canada include its active status (not expired, surrendered, suspended, or cancelled), alignment with the activity of “Importing Food,” and pertinence to the specific commodities being imported. It’s imperative for importers to accurately input their SFC licence number in their import declarations to avoid automatic rejection of food import transactions.

Failure to comply with these requirements will result in the rejection of import transactions, leading to the denial of entry for the importer’s shipment into Canada. Correcting licensing errors and resubmitting the import declaration will be necessary to proceed with the import.

For detailed guidance on ensuring compliance and understanding the automatic licence verification process, importers are encouraged to refer to the CFIA’s updated guidelines.

The notice also addresses non-resident importers, emphasizing that their SFC licence must be specifically issued for the activity of “Importing Food” and for the exact commodities intended for import. It’s crucial to avoid selecting “Exporting Food,” as the CFIA differentiates between these activities.

For further information regarding applying for or amending an SFC licence, the CFIA’s Food licences page serves as a valuable resource. Additionally, comprehensive details on food import requirements can be found under the Food imports section.

This notice serves as a crucial reminder for food importers to ensure compliance with the updated CFIA regulations on SFC licences, safeguarding against potential disruptions in the importation process into Canada.


For further information please contact our team at [email protected]



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