CanadaGAP certification does not replace a licence under the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), IF your company needs to obtain one.
The interactive tool on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website will help you determine whether or not you need a licence by guiding you through a series of questions on the scope and activities of your operation. It only takes about 5 minutes to complete. To get started, click on the SFCR Licensing Interactive Tool
Government will never accept a private industry program doing inspection work for them. CFIA is obligated to enforce the regulations. CFIA has been very clear about that since they first began talking about the SFCR in 2014. However, program participants may be less likely to be chosen for inspection than companies who are not certified. Certification is one of several factors that CFIA will consider in their risk-based decisions about who to inspect.
No, CFIA has limited resources. Not everyone will have an inspection, let alone every year. CFIA will be using a risk-based system to determine who needs an inspection. Risk factors include, among others: inherent product risk, the activities that the company is involved in (some are considered higher-risk than others), prior inspection results, compliance history, previous violations or incidents, etc. One of the elements that will affect the risk profile is whether the company has an established food safety program in place, whether they are certified, and how closely aligned their certification program is with the regulations.
CanadaGAP requirements have been examined in detail by CFIA, who has determined that the CanadaGAP standard is 100% aligned with the food safety elements required by the regulations. The letter that CFIA sent to the industry on January 15, 2019 mentions CanadaGAP by name as a model system for meeting the food safety preventive controls that companies must have in place to comply with the regulations.
A CanadaGAP presentation was created on Canada-U.S. regulatory initiatives to explain how CanadaGAP requirements line up with SFCR requirements. The presentation also explains how CanadaGAP certification fits with regulatory initiatives in the U.S., including the Produce Safety Rule and the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP).
CFIA has fully recognized CanadaGAP as a model system to meet the food safety elements of the regulations. They have done a full comparison between SFCR requirements for food safety and CanadaGAP requirements and determined 100% alignment. Only non-food safety elements of the regulations would need to be added for a CanadaGAP-certified company to have preventive controls that are fully compliant with the regulations (e.g., grade standards, labelling).
To view the presentation, go to the CanadaGAP website at: https://www.canadagap.ca/publications/presentations/
CanadaGAP has posted various CFIA resources on its website to help CanadaGAP-certified companies familiarize themselves with the regulations and related material. To access them, visit the Food Safety Links webpage and click on the second tab labelled ‘Canadian Government Resources’.