Audit Process2017-11-14T16:17:20-05:00

Timing/Scheduling of audits

Once an operation enrolls in the CanadaGAP program, when will their audit be scheduled for? Can audits be scheduled anytime or do they have to occur while an operation is harvesting or packing?2020-03-31T14:17:04-04:00

The Certification Body or the auditor will contact the operation to arrange a suitable date for an audit. When setting up an audit date, operations should keep in mind that a designate must be available to accompany the auditor.

Audits must be scheduled to occur when activities relevant to the operation’s certification are occurring – during harvest, product handling, packing/repacking season, shipping, etc. This is important for the auditor to properly assess the implementation of the food safety program. Activities that are not occurring cannot be included in the scope of the audit. Multi-commodity operations may find, depending on the activities and crops involved, that a number of audits over several years are required before certification reflects the full scope of their business.

For more detailed guidance on optimal audit timing, please refer to the CanadaGAP Program Management Manual, Section Audit Scheduling. It is the responsibility of the Certification Body (CB) to ensure that the audit is scheduled appropriately.

March 31st, 2020 at 02:17 pm
Does an operation that supplies multiple commodities need more than one audit? Is there more than one Audit Checklist?2017-11-03T16:26:10-04:00

There is only one Audit Checklist and it includes the requirements for all scopes that CanadaGAP covers. Audits must take place while relevant activities are occurring. Depending on the timing of an operation’s season and activities, they may not be able to have all activities/crops included in their CanadaGAP certification after a single audit. It may take more than one audit and longer than a single season before a certificate will reflect the full extent of an operation’s activities/crops. Most customers are aware of this reality and have shown flexibility as complex operations work towards certification for the full range of their activities.

November 3rd, 2017 at 04:26 pm
When will my audit occur if I have a complex operation and need certification for multiple commodities, activities, or certification options?2021-04-16T14:24:19-04:00

CanadaGAP has outlined guidance for certification bodies in Appendix III.2 of the Management System Manual that contains relevant information on audit scoping, timing and scheduling for complex operations. This Appendix outlines basic principles for program participants who have operations with multiple commodities, multiple activities, more than one certification option, or numerous production sites. To access the Management Manual click here.

April 16th, 2021 at 02:24 pm

Unannounced Audits

What is an unannounced audit?2021-08-31T15:38:49-04:00

An unannounced audit is an audit that is not scheduled in advance with the operation. The details regarding unannounced audits vary depending on certification option (see further FAQs for more details and also a detailed guidance document here).

August 31st, 2021 at 03:38 pm
How do unannounced audits work?2021-09-01T11:13:11-04:00
Option A1 and A2 (not GFSI recognized) Options B, C, D
What kind of notice is provided by the CB? Early in the year, the CB contacts clients chosen for an unannounced audit to inform them that they have been selected and to gather information and what will need to be seen.

The Certification Body provides notice 2-5 business days advance notice before the audit is to occur.

Early in the year, the CB contacts clients chosen for an unannounced audit to inform them that they have been selected and to gather information and what will need to be seen.

The operation receives no advance notice of the unannounced audit date.

Is there more than 1 unannounced audit option? No Starting October 1, 2021, CanadaGAP is introducing two new unannounced audit (UA) options for program participants enrolled in certification options B, C, and D:

  1. All CanadaGAP Certification Bodies must make available the first option (UA Option 1)

At the discretion of the CB, they may also make available the second option (UA Option 2). **An operation should check with their Certification Body to confirm whether this new unannounced audit option 2 is available**

Option A1 and A2 (not GFSI recognized) Options B, C, D Options B, C, D
How many audits will there be in a year? One.

The unannounced audit will take place instead of a scheduled audit.

UA Option 1


The unannounced audit replaces that year’s regularly scheduled audit.

UA Option 2


One announced audit, scheduled as usual during the usual timeframe AND

One unannounced audit during a general timeframe (“audit window”) determined by the CB and confirmed with the program participant.

What will the timing of the unannounced audit be? The unannounced audit will occur when activities relevant to the scope of the operation’s certification are occurring. UA Option 1

The unannounced audit must be timed such that the auditor can observe the crops/activities that need to be seen that year.

Failure to keep the CB updated on timing of crops/activities that need to be observed, can lead to loss of certification.

UA Option 2

For the timing of the unannounced audit:

The CB will set and inform the client of the unannounced audit “window”, typically a 30-day timeframe.

It is possible that the unannounced audit “window” will be outside of the operation’s peak season of activity.

The operation may indicate 1 blackout date for every 6 days within the window.

What will the cost be for the unannounced audit? The program participant pays for one (unannounced) audit that year, since the unannounced audit replaces a regularly scheduled audit. UA Option 1

The program participant pays for one (unannounced) audit that year, since the unannounced audit replaces a regularly scheduled audit.

If a second attempt is needed for the CB to perform the unannounced audit, audit fees will be charged for both visits.

UA Option 2

The program participant pays for two audits that year, both the announced and unannounced audits.

Paying for an extra audit allows the program participant to plan for their regular audit during peak season, and to have advance notice of the audit “window” for the unannounced visit. This cost only applies in the year the operation is chosen for an unannounced audit.

More detailed information around unannounced audits can be found in the guidance document here.

September 1st, 2021 at 11:13 am
Does having an unannounced audit for an operation enrolled in Option A1/A2 affect their audit cycle or random audit selection?2021-08-31T15:05:04-04:00

If an operation is enrolled in Option A1 or A2 (4-year audit cycle), there is no change to the way the audit cycle or random audits work. The operation will still be informed in advance if they are randomly selected for an audit. However, they may not be told the exact date of the random audit (i.e., it could be unannounced).

August 31st, 2021 at 03:05 pm
Who will have an unannounced audit?2021-08-31T15:04:15-04:00

The unannounced audit programme is for operations enrolled in all certification options.

  • For Options A1, A2, C, and D: Each year the Certification Body will choose 10% of its clients for an unannounced audit; therefore, over time, everyone will have an unannounced audit.
  • For Option B (group certification): Certification Bodies will select 25% of the group members each year to undergo an unannounced audit.

August 31st, 2021 at 03:04 pm

November 14th, 2017 at 04:17 pm
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