Food import guidelines in Canada: Things to Know!

FILE PHOTO: Lines of trucks are seen at a container terminal of Ningbo Zhoushan port in Zhejiang province, China, August 15, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS

The food industry has become a rapidly growing segment of the economy. Many Canadian importers are looking to enter this domain given its growth potential. There are some customs regulations that one needs to be aware of before entering it.

The foods imported into Canada have to pass through various stringent health and safety guidelines. New rules have come into force since March 2021 to ensure higher protection for Canadian consumers’ safety.

The firms like render customs brokerage services in Canada to help food importers comply with all the new regulations without hassles. They save importers a lot of time and money.

This article takes you through the regulations around Canadian food imports and how a customs brokerage firm can help you.

Canadian food imports

The food importers need to possess a “Safe Food for Canadians”(SFC) license mandatorily. It applies to imports of foods such as

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Processed produce
  • Honey
  • Maple
  • Fresh produce

The license needs to be obtained before the imports reach the port of entry.

If the import request is rejected, the importer faces a huge financial burden in the form of fines, seizures, and delays.

The new rules announced in 2021 mandate an automatic rejection of the shipment in case of the absence of a valid SFC license.

Compliance with SFC license regulations

  • According to the SFC Act, importers are prohibited from moving their goods into Canada upon the expiry of their SFC license.
  • The SFC license needs to be renewed on the CFIA account portal and submitted at the earliest. It can be done so up to 120 days before the date of expiry.
  • Renewed SFC licenses are valid for 2 years.

How can a customs broking firm help you?

  1. An experienced customs broking firm has qualified customs agents who are well-versed with the rules of customs clearances for various types of imports.
  2. It can help you in the following ways.
  3. The customs agent help in the application, renewal, and the necessary documentation for SFC licenses.
  4. Customs agents help the importers in understanding various tariff lines and help choose the best import options.
  5. The best use of existing trade agreements can be made for food imports.
  6. Last-mile delivery of the shipment is also provided from the point of entry.

Concluding thoughts

Food importers in Canada can earn higher margins of profits with professional customs clearance advice. Choose an experienced clearance broker to ensure compliance with Canadian customs and earn higher margins.