Trade Regulation Updates

Safe Foods for Canadian (SFC) Licence for the Manufactured Food Sector

November 3, 2023

Recently, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has announced they will begin to enforce the requirement to hold a valid Safe Foods for Canadian (SFC) Licence for the manufactured food sector.

This is a courtesy notice to inform you that effective February 12, 2024, the CFIA will begin to validate your SFC Licence information at the time of importation. If you do not hold a SFC licence that is valid for Importing manufactured food products, your shipment will be denied entry into Canada until a valid licence is obtained.

Please see the CFIA Notice to Industry: Importing manufactured foods into Canada with a Safe Food for Canadians licence for complete details. Following is a recap of the new requirements.

Affected Commodities: Manufactured food sector products include, but are not limited to, alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, confectionery, sweeteners, snack foods, fats, oils, food chemicals, foods derived from grains, infant foods, nuts, seeds, spices, herbs, seasonings, condiments and vegan dairy substitutes.

Additional commodity information can be found on the CFIA page: What to consider before applying for a Safe Food for Canadians licence in the “Manufactured foods” section.

Requirement: An SFC licence to import must be obtained BEFORE the food product arrives at the border, and it must:

  • be valid
  • cover the activity "importing food" and
  • cover the commodities (manufactured foods) that are being imported


The SFC licensing regulations came into force on January 15, 2019. The CFIA has utilized a phased-in commodity approach and allowed a generous transition period for importers to apply for and obtain their SFC licenses. This phased-in approach has allowed safe and compliant shipments without a valid SFCR license to enter Canada. This transition period is now coming to an end, and CFIA will fully enforce the requirement to have a valid SFC licence at importation for all food commodities.

It is important to note that it is the responsibility of the Importer to ensure the food products they import meet the requirements of the Safe Foods for Canadians Regulations, including obtaining the required licences. Any food product deemed unsafe or non-compliant can be refused entry by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the CFIA. 

Importers can apply for, request amendments to and review their SFC licences in their MyCFIA portal.

For questions or issues with your SFC licence, please refer to the CFIA’s Food Licensing page or contact the CFIA’s Centre of Administration.

Please ensure your SFC licence, including the commodities covered, is reported to us as soon as obtained or amended.

If you need assistance with applying for your SFC licence, our Trade Advisory Services can provide you with guidance (additional charges may apply).

Please contact your account manager with any questions you have about these requirements at any time by emailing or calling 604.538.1566.