This is to advise that as of March 15, 2021, food import transactions of previously registered food commodities meat, fish, dairy, eggs, processed eggs, processed fruits or vegetables, honey, maple and, fresh fruits or vegetables will automatically be rejected by the Canadian food inspection agency (CFIA) when transmitted electronically, unless a valid SFC licence is entered in the Integrated Import Declaration (IID) and shipments may be refused entry to Canada.
Businesses must obtain their SFC licence before presenting their shipment at the border. They will not be able to obtain an SFC licence at the border.
Please contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for more information on import requirements and consult the CFIA’s website for further details on commercially importing food to Canada.
The CBSA enforces regulations at the border to reduce the risks of bringing diseases, pests and invasive species into Canada and the threats to global biodiversity from the trade of endangered species.
Whether you are importing food, plan or animal products into Canada for a commercial purpose or exporting such products from Canada, you must meet a significant range of requirements. You must then demonstrate compliance with these requirements at the border.
On this page
- Importer responsibilities at the border
- Importing safe food for Canadians
- Exporter liability at the border
- More information
- Contact information
Importer responsibilities at the border
Commercial imports of food, plant and animal products are subject to the same reporting, accounting and release procedures as any other commodities. In addition, they are often subject to specific import requirements, such as:
- supporting documents
As an importer, it is your responsibility to know the specific import requirements for the product you are bringing into Canada. This includes any materials used for transporting or packaging the product, for example:
- wooden pallets
- wooden crates
Ensure that your shipment is free from soil contamination and meets all applicable import requirements when it arrives at the Canadian border.
Visit Step-by-step guide to importing commercial goods into Canada for more information.
Importing safe foods for Canadians
Commercial importers of certain foods need a valid Safe Food for Canadians licence to import it into Canada. If you need a Safe Food for Canadians licence and do not have one, your shipment will either be delayed or refused entry at the border. Other enforcement actions may also apply.
Food items that require a licence include:
- meat products
- fish and seafood
- dairy products
- shell eggs
- processed egg products
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- processed fruits and vegetables
- maple products
- baked goods
- non-alcoholic beverages
- nuts and seeds
- dried herbs and spices
- grain-derived foods such as cereal
More information on food imports
- CFIA's Automated Import Reference System (AIRS): Complete and current CFIA import requirements for food, plants, animals and related products entering Canada. Please be aware import requirements can change daily due to emerging threats.
- Safe Food for Canadians Act
- Safe Food for Canadians Regulations
- Graduated enforcement of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations as of January 15, 2019
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency Toolkit for food businesses
- Food imports
- How to properly declare a Safe Food for Canadians licence
Exporter liability at the border
Many Canadian-sourced food, plant and animal goods are subject to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Environment and Climate Change Canada's (ECCC) wildlife export requirements.
If you intend to export any of the goods covered by these regulations, you must present the CBSA with the proper permits and certificates. Border services officers will review this documentation and inspect your goods to ensure everything complies with the requirements. If it does, the CBSA will allow the goods to be lawfully exported from Canada.
- Memorandum D19-7-1: Interpretation of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
- CITES Control List (and annotations)
- Other Species Requiring an Import Permit
- CITES Species Recognized as Endangered or Threatened in Canada
- Animal imports
- Plant and plant product imports
For more information, consult the following resources:
- CFIA National Import Service Centre
In Canada and the United States call toll-free:
Local calls and all other countries:
- Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
Endangered species/ Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) requirements
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