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Changes for food business licences

The U.S. has made it a requirement that all Canadian businesses who ship food acquire a license

Food business owners are encouraged to get a licence under the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulation set to come into effect Jan. 15.

Applications for A Safe Food for Canadians licence costs $250 and can be made now. The licence will be valid for two years.

Depending on the food commodity, type of activity, associated risks and business size, compliance with some requirements will be necessary immediately on Jan. 15 while others will be phased in over the following 12 to 30 months.

Business owners are encouraged to consult the sector-specific timelines on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website to determine if and when new requirements apply to them.

Businesses that export food products will now require a licence if they need to obtain either an export certificate or certificate of free sale.

The United States has recently made it a requirement for all Canadian businesses that ship food to the U.S. to meet their new food safety standards.

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations will permit Canadian food businesses to acquire a licence that demonstrates that they meet the requirements under the U.S. Foreign Supplier Verification Program so that they can continue trading with the U.S.

If a business currently has a registration or licence with the CFIA, that registration or licence will remain valid until it expires, even if the date of expiry of the renewed registration or licence occurs after Jan. 15, provided there is a statement on it indicating that it is also a licence under the Safe Food for Canadians Act.

Once expired, the business will be required to apply for a Safe Food for Canadians licence.