Can an operation maintain their CanadaGAP records in a language other than English or French? Can the audit be carried out in a different language?
All CanadaGAP audits are conducted in either English or French. While the auditee may use and maintain written records and procedures in other languages, if the auditor cannot decipher the required information in reviewing documentation during the audit, the auditee must have someone available who can translate the information for the auditor.
CanadaGAP makes available the food safety manuals, record-keeping forms in Excel and the audit checklist in Spanish. In addition, some of the CanadaGAP materials are available as resources from other organizations in different languages (e.g., Punjabi, Mandarin, etc.). Program participants may choose to use these resources in different languages internally – for example, to train employees or to conduct an internal audit.
Please note that the English versions of all CanadaGAP material (e.g., CanadaGAP Food Safety Manual for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, CanadaGAP Food Safety Manual for Greenhouse Product, CanadaGAP Audit Checklist, etc.) are always the normative versions of the documents. In the case of discrepancy between translation, the English version shall prevail.
A split audit occurs when the audit takes place over two or more on-site visits that are separated in time (e.g., a 0.5-hour visit to see harvesting on September 12 followed by a 3.5-hour on-site document review on November 14). On-site CanadaGAP audits must not be split into two or more separate visits except under highly unusual circumstances, and only when the Certification Body has received written authorization from CanadaGAP to split the audit. Permission must be sought in writing by the Certification Body, along with a clear description of the circumstances, and approval must be obtained from CanadaGAP in advance of the audit. Split audits are not permitted under the CanadaGAP program.
An example of a split audit is:
- an auditor observes harvesting of potatoes in October and returns in January to complete the document review.
In contrast, these examples would NOT be a split audit:
- an operation needs two audits their first year in order to have two crops on their certificate— one in May for asparagus and one in October for apples.
- an auditor is unable to see a new packing line on the day of an audit due to mechanical failure. The remainder of the audit is completed that day, but then the auditor returns to the operation two days later to complete the observation of the packing line.
- an auditor arrives at the audit and it’s raining; therefore, the harvesting of strawberries cannot be observed. The remainder of the audit is completed that day, but the auditor returns to the operation the week after to complete the observation of harvesting.
Except in very special circumstances, audits must occur when activities relevant to the operation’s certification are underway – 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 based on a snapshot of what is occurring at the operation on the day of the audit. When the operation wants to split an audit so that the auditor can rush through observing activities such as harvesting and then come back at a less busy time to review documents on a separate date, that does not achieve the intent of an audit.
Some further reasons that audits cannot be split into two parts include:
- The tour portion of the audit may take the most amount of time for the auditor to complete; therefore, splitting the audit does not save the operation much time.
- The auditor cannot assess the implementation of the food safety program properly without cross-checking details to determine their accuracy, currency and validity. Having the audit take place on two separate dates, makes cross-referencing of information next to impossible.
- A two-part audit would entail substantial overlap for each visit. This means that the auditor would spend more time overall, thus increasing the total audit duration.
- If audits were to be split, it would create confusion for the auditors about which questions to score and at which audit, especially for non-conformities This confusion would lead to inconsistency among audits and increased potential for disputes around audit findings and results.
- Splitting audits introduces a further complication for certification bodies in managing the audit and certification process for all clients.
For more information, see Section 184.108.40.206 of the CanadaGAP Program Management Manual.
Program participants may pay their annual program fee using one of the following methods:
- By cheque – mail to the CanadaGAP office at:
- 245 Menten Place, Suite 312, Ottawa ON K2H 9E8
- By credit card (Visa or Mastercard) – If you have received an invoice through email, follow the link in the invoice/email to pay by credit card, or call the CanadaGAP office at 613-829-4711 to provide card details or leave a message and we will contact you to obtain your credit card information
- By wire transfer or direct deposit – email the CanadaGAP office at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the necessary information
Invoices are sent out annually to program participants on the anniversary of their enrolment. A receipt will be sent electronically or in paper format (if email address is not available) once the payment has been received. Audit fees and auditor travel expenses are billed separately by the certification body and must be paid directly by program participants to their certification body.
How are revisions made to the CanadaGAP Program? If I make a request and it is approved, when will it be published?
Updates and revisions are made to the CanadaGAP program on a regular basis. These changes stem from user requests (program participants, Certification Bodies/auditors, buyers and/or other stakeholders), to account for new science, to align with changes in government regulations and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), as well as to clarify interpretation of existing requirements.
The general procedure for processing requests for modification are:
- Requests for modification are received.
- As needed, further research is carried out by CanadaGAP staff.
- Requests and supporting information are taken to the Technical Advisory Committee annual meeting.
- CanAgPlus Board approves changes as necessary.
- Approved changes are integrated into CanadaGAP Program materials (HACCP models, manuals, audit checklists, training materials, etc.).
- All changes must be approved by CFIA to show that technical rigour is being maintained.
- Manuals released in January/February for April 1st implementation by program participants.
For many years, CanadaGAP issued annual updates to the Food Safety Manuals. Going forward, CanadaGAP hopes to update the manual less frequently (e.g., every 2 years if possible). However, the process above for integrating changes into the standard must be followed regardless of frequency of updates. Users will have to wait longer for requested changes to be incorporated into the manuals (e.g., request to include a new crop in the scope of the program) in cycles where revisions are issued less often.
If an operation from outside of Canada is enrolling in the CanadaGAP program, is the annual program fee the same? Must the fee be paid in Canadian dollars?
The annual program fee can be paid in U.S. dollars (USD), and the USD fee is adjusted to reflect the difference in value between Canadian and U.S. currencies. The annual program fees payable in USD can be found on the ‘costs’ page. Operations wishing to pay the annual program fee in USD are required to use the enrolment form specific to U.S. funds.
Participants can voluntarily terminate their participation from the Program without cause. The authorized contact person must inform CanadaGAP directly in writing of any change in status (e.g., failed audit, withdrawal or suspension of certificate, delay in certification, crop failure, etc.). Refunds or credits must be requested in writing.
- Refunds: Should the operation withdraw from the program (e.g., after a failed audit), upon request the Annual Program Fee is refundable to the authorized contact less a $100 processing fee, provided a written request (email or mail) is received within nine (9) months from the date of receipt of payment. Please note in that case, membership in the corporation that operates the CanadaGAP Program (CanAgPlus) will be revoked effective immediately. That is, an operation will not be considered a CanAgPlus member in good standing and will forfeit all member rights (including the right to participate and vote in the annual general meeting, elect directors, etc.).
- Credits: Alternatively, should an operation decide to postpone certification (e.g., after a crop failure), upon request the Annual Program Fee can be applied as a credit for one year. Please note in that case, membership in the corporation that operates the CanadaGAP Program (CanAgPlus) will be suspended for the current year and will resume in the subsequent year. That is, for the current year, the operation will forfeit member rights to participate and vote in the CanAgPlus annual general meeting, elect directors, and other such rights and duties of members. Full membership status will be restored the following year, when the Annual Program Fee is applied.
- The FVGC Charge of $50 collected annually by CanadaGAP for the Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada (FVGC) cannot be refunded or applied as a credit under any circumstances. For those enrolled in option A1, A2, B, C or E the charge is due annually for the duration of operation’s enrolment in CanadaGAP, regardless of certification status.
Operations should keep CanadaGAP informed of their status, by contacting the CanadaGAP office.
CanadaGAP certificates are valid for 12 months. In exceptional cases, an operation can request from their Certification Body an extension of their certificate. Some of these exceptional cases include:
- to manage audit timing of multi-commodity operations,
- extenuating circumstances such as a strike or severe weather,
- previous audits occurring at times that were not optimal because of errors in audit scoping,
- previous certificates issued with expiry dates that do not reflect correct timing for subsequent audits
- changes in an operation’s activities or crop
The certificate may be extended 4 months (at the maximum) as long as the following conditions are met:
- the extension is granted before the certificate expires
- the operation is in good standing with CanadaGAP
- the next audit will occur during the extension period.
COVID-19: Due to exceptional circumstances during the pandemic, Certification Bodies may be able to extend their certificate for up to six months for a COVID-related extension.
More detailed information can be found in the CanadaGAP Program Management (Section 220.127.116.11.4) found here.