My CFIA - Frequently asked questions

General

What online services are available in My CFIA?

An individual or a business can request permissions such as licences, permits and export certificates. Consult My CFIA online service to confirm if My CFIA will support your service request. If you are looking for specific information about CFIA's programs, services or initiatives, you can submit your question using the online Feedback Form.

Who needs a licence under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)?

Generally speaking, you need a licence to do any of these activities:

  • import food to Canada (this includes all importers, including non-resident importers)
  • manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package, or label food for international or interprovincial trade
  • request an export certificate
  • slaughter food animals for international or interprovincial trade
  • store and handle a meat product in its imported condition for inspection by the CFIA

For information on whether you need a licence, refer to the Would you need a licence? interactive tool and the guidance found in the document titled Food business activities that would require a licence under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. Read the Licensing of Food Businesses Fact Sheet or the Questions and answers: Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) for more information.

What commodities should I select to reflect my food product(s) in my Safe Food for Canadians licence application?

For a list of commodity options that could be included in your Safe Food for Canadians licence application along with examples, refer to examples listed in Food categories identified in the licence application. It is important to select the correct category/commodity that reflects your food product(s). For example, if you make cream filled doughnuts they would fall into the category of "manufactured foods." You do not need to select categories to cover the ingredients you use in your products (you would not select "eggs" or "dairy" to cover the ingredients in your doughnuts). Selecting the wrong commodity could unnecessarily trigger a pre-licence inspection and slow down your licence application.

What do I do if I have forgotten my user ID and password?

If you've forgotten your user ID or password, do not create another My CFIA account, call 1-800-442-CFIA (2342) and we can help you reset it.

How do I make amendments to an already issued service request?

In order to amend an already issued service request, log into My CFIA and select your Party Profile. Scroll down and select the issued permissions tab then select the permission number of the application you would like to amend. The application information will open; select "Amend" to adjust the information. Please note that you cannot amend expired service requests.

How will I know if my Profile is validated?

If you would like to know if your Profile has been validated or not, sign in to your My CFIA account. When you select your Party Profile from the drop-down menu "(Validated Party)" will appear if validation has been completed. The CFIA will not send out a notification email once your Profile has been validated.

Can I create service requests if my Profile hasn't been validated yet?

You do not need to wait for your Profile to be validated prior to submitting most new service requests, including the Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) Licence. Your service request will simply remain on hold until your Profile has been validated. Once validated, your request will automatically continue through the process required. Requests that require prior validation include export certificates such as the Certificate of Free Sale, as an issued SFC Licence is a prerequisite step in the certificate application process.

Adding additional establishment information in My CFIA

What kind of business information is required?

The CFIA is requesting additional establishment information about operations at your facility, such as the volume and type of products you produce, and mitigation measures implemented at the establishment such as recognized certifications, a sampling plan and quality assurance personnel.

How will the CFIA use this information?

The additional establishment information that you provide will be used to evaluate the risk your establishment poses through our Establishment-based Risk Assessment model for food establishments (ERA model). The information you provide will be used to assign your establishment a risk result; This will help inform the frequency and intensity of oversight and inspections.

Why should I provide this information?

Moving forward, the CFIA is looking to conduct more efficient and consistent inspections as well as use our data to focus on areas of highest risk. By adding your additional establishment information, you are providing information about your risk mitigation measures, which allows the CFIA to focus its inspection activities on areas of highest risk and will help strengthen Canada's food safety system.

Who should provide the additional establishment information?

Any quality assurance personnel from the establishment may be best suited to provide the information requested. This individual can be included as a Party Profile Manager on your My CFIA account.

When should I add this information?

You are able to complete the additional establishment information immediately after an SFC licence has been granted in My CFIA. You should provide this information as soon as possible. You will also be asked to provide the information every two years when your SFC license expires. Additionally, you should update your information anytime it becomes out of date. For example, if you acquire a private certification such as Canada Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Hazard Analysis and Critical Points certification (HACCP) and/or Global Food Safety Initiative certification etc. at your establishment, this can improve your risk result and should be entered into the mitigation approaches section in the My CFIA system, in order for your establishment to have an accurate risk level.

Enrolment

How do I access My CFIA online services?

To access My CFIA, you must sign up by choosing a secure Sign-In method using either GCKey or Sign-In Partner. For more information about these sign-in options, consult the online FAQs.

Once you have signed-in using GCKey or the Sign-in Partner, you must then create a contact profile. Any who wishes to use My CFIA must create a contact profile as part of the enrolment process.

Who can sign up for My CFIA?

Any individual can sign up and create a contact profile.

To request services for business use, an individual, business or Alternative Service Provider (ASP), such as a veterinarian or a laboratory, you must create a contact profile then a business profile (party profile) or ASP profile.

Additional enrolment information for businesses is available on My CFIA.

What is the difference between a contact profile, a party profile, and an ASP profile?

A contact profile is the profile of an individual while a party profile is a business entity or organization's profile. Everyone who uses My CFIA must create a Contact Profile. This profile can also be used to request services for personal use, such as an import permit for a pet.

Any sole proprietor or organization whose business activities are subject to the Acts and Regulations administered and enforced by the CFIA will need to create a Party Profile as part of the enrolment process.

An Alternative Service Provider (ASP) such as a veterinarian or laboratory must create an ASP profile to interact online on behalf of a business for services that require their specific accreditations. For more information about ASPs, consult the FAQs for ASPs.

Who is included in a party profile?

A party profile includes the following contacts:

  • Profile Authority
  • Profile Manager
  • Alternate Profile Manager
  • Regulatory Contact
  • Emergency Contact
  • Party Contacts

For information on how to choose and assign Party Contacts, visit the "Before you Sign up" page.

How do I add my address when I am a non-Canadian resident importer?

When you are a non-Canadian resident importer filling out the "Importer Licence Application" select the box above the address field titled, "I do not have an address in Canada." This will allow you to fill in an address outside of Canada.

What is a Profile Authority?

A Profile Authority is a mandatory contact in a My CFIA Party Profile. This role is designated by the current owner, partner, director or company officer of the business/entity enrolling in My CFIA. The company officer can designate themselves or someone else as the Profile Authority by uploading a signed, Proof of Authority form, as part of the enrolment process. The person designated as Profile Authority is accountable for all information required in the Party Profile, including requests for services.

Do I need to a Business Number to sign up for My CFIA?

For all business transactions conducted through My CFIA, the CFIA will be using the nine-digit Business Number (BN) issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as the standard identifier of businesses. As part of the enrolment process, the CFIA will use the BN to validate a party profile.

Before a service request can be fully processed in My CFIA, a signed Proof of Authority form must be uploaded as part of enrolment. The Agency will verify that:

  • the name on the Proof of Authority form is the same as identified in My CFIA
  • the name of the person signing the Proof of Authority form is the same as the one identified in the BN ownership information kept on file by the CRA; and
  • the legal name entered in My CFIA matches the BN information issued by the CRA

How do I get a Business Number?

Access the Business Registration Online service to apply.

What is a claim code?

A claim code is a system generated code that is sent from the CFIA to an individual so that they may claim a contact profile started by Agency staff. These codes expire after 15 days if unused. If your code expires, call 1-800-442-CFIA (2342) to request a new claim code.

What is an invite code?

Invite codes are used to give people associated with your business access to your Party Profile so that they can manage or request services on your behalf. You can invite people to act as the Profile Manager, Alternate Profile Manager, Profile Authority, or as a Party Contact. These roles have slightly different administrative rights which can be found in the "Choose and assign contacts" section of the before you sign up page.

If the invited individual does not have a My CFIA account, they will need to sign up and create a contact profile before they can enter the invite code. Invite codes can also be sent to individuals to accept the role of Profile Manager if a draft party profile has been created by the CFIA.

Does every contact need their own invite code or do they use the same one?

A unique invite code is generated by the system for each contact, and will be unique to that individual.

How do I give someone access to the party profile for my business?

An invite code is sent to an individual when a profile administrator (Profile Manager, Alternate Profile Manager, or Profile Authority) invites them to connect with a party profile.

If you have not created a Party Profile yet or are in the process of enrolling, you can invite a Profile Manager and/or a Profile Authority by entering their email in the 'Identify Profile Manager' and/or 'Identify Profile Authority' screens of the party enrolment process. If you do not invite a Profile Manager at this point, you will become the default Profile Manager. Leave the email on the 'Identify Profile Manager' screen blank if you wish to be the Profile Manager. This role can be re-assigned after enrolling.

Once you have enrolled, you can invite Party Contacts (with no administrative rights) to access your profile or invite new a New Profile Manager, Alternate Profile Manager, or Profile Authority. To do this, select the "Manage Party" tab in your dashboard.

What are the administrative rights associated with each Party Contact?

While party contacts (employees or service brokers) are not able to update profile information, any party contact can view profile information and create, submit, or collaborate on any service request. All party contacts can also view and action each other's service requests. The only contacts that can edit Party Profile information (such as a telephone number) are the Profile Authority, Profile Manager or Alternate Profile Manager.

The Profile Manager associated with my party profile is no longer working with my organization. How do I assign a new Profile Manager?

To re-assign a Profile Manager, the Profile Authority or Alternate Profile Manager must invite a new Profile Manager by sending them an invite code. To send an invite code, the Profile Authority must log into his/her account and click on "Manage Party" then "Mandatory Party Contacts." Under "Principal Contacts," click on "Edit the Profile Manager" and enter the email of the new Profile Manager.

Once the new Profile Manger accepts the role, the old Profile Manager will no longer have access.

We highly recommend having two individuals in the system (Profile Manager and Alternate Profile Manager) as the CFIA cannot change party contacts in My CFIA on your behalf.

I received an invite code by email to accept a role in My CFIA. How do I accept this role?

If you received an invite code by email, this means that someone is requesting that you be given access to their Party Profile. Sign-in to your account and enter the invite code.

If you have not used My CFIA before, you will have to sign up for My CFIA by registering for a GCKey or using a Sign-in partner. Once you have completed the CFIA registration basic details, you will be required to create a Contact Profile.

To complete the enrolment process, select the "Enrol New Party/Alternate Service Provider/Enter invite code" from the "Party Administration" box on your dashboard. Insert the invite code you received by email, found under the option "Enter an invite code," and click "Submit." Do not include any blank spaces before or after the code.

Some roles have administrative responsibilities so make sure that you read and understand the attestation when accepting a role.

Should a large company with multiple establishments enrol as a single party?

Businesses have the flexibility to set up their party profile based on their business model. My CFIA has two options for setting up a party profile. A single or multiple party profile model may be employed when enrolling.

What is a single party profile?

A single party profile is most suited to businesses that want to manage all business interactions with the CFIA through a head office or a single location.

With a single party profile, your business will be able to assign a profile manager and invite other party contacts, such as employees or brokers, to sign on to the profile. All party contacts will be able to view and submit requests on behalf of your business.

What are multiple party profiles?

Multiple party profiles are most suited to businesses that have multiple establishments, organizational units or business divisions that want to interact with the CFIA independently.

With multiple party profiles, each unit of your business can manage interactions with the CFIA and submit requests independently. Your business will be able to assign a separate profile manager and invite individuals (party contacts) to each party profile. Only the party contacts associated to a specific party profile will be able to view and submit requests on behalf of that party profile.

If a client wants to request the same permission or export certificate again, will the form pop up as pre-populated or do they have to re-enter all the same information again?

You will be able to view and re-use previously submitted information for export certificate requests.

Can the system detect duplicate entries?

Yes. To avoid duplicate entries, the system will use the email address as a unique identifier for contact profiles. This means that the system will not accept duplicate email addresses on multiple contact profiles and will indicate that the email address entered is already in use.

Can I submit an online service request without creating a party profile?

You may only request a service from your contact profile for personal use (such as requesting an import permit for a pet). To access My CFIA and request services online, any individual or organization whose business activities are subject to the Acts and Regulations administered and enforced by the CFIA will need to create a party profile as part of the enrolment process. Online service requests will be processed by the Agency only once the party is validated.

Alternative Service Providers

What is an Alternative Service Provider?

An Alternative Service Provider (ASP) is an individual or organization that has an alternative service delivery arrangement with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Under this arrangement, the provider (for example, an accredited veterinarian who inspects a party's animals prior to export) delivers a program or service that would otherwise be delivered by the CFIA.

In My CFIA, a business can invite an ASP to be associated with their party profile. This allows the ASP to interact online on behalf of the party for services that require their specific accreditations.

Which ASPs should enrol in My CFIA and when?

Alternative Service Providers (ASPs), such as veterinarians or laboratories should consider enrolling so that they may interact electronically with their clients and access the services they can support online.

How do ASPs enrol?

Alternative Service Providers (ASPs) follow the same general enrolment process as any individual or organization. Both a contact profile and an ASP profile must be created as part of the enrolment process.

ASPs will be asked to identify their type of business, where they are situated, and what they are accredited to do. ASPs will also be asked to select the source of their accreditation. The ASP will be able to respond to tasks regarding service requests within the system once all of the necessary information has been entered into the system and validated by the CFIA.

How do I connect with an ASP using My CFIA?

If an Alternative Service Provider (ASP) has a validated My CFIA account, you can search for the ASP by name, location or accreditation from your My CFIA account profile. Please note that ASPs cannot search for or initiate contact with a party.

What tasks can an ASP do within My CFIA?

Alternative Service Providers (ASPs) will be able to perform tasks within the system that they have been accredited for, such as inspection and certification. A business with a party profile can send tasks appropriate to the ASP. ASPs will be able to accept or decline tasks. If a task is accepted, the ASP will have access to the details of the request. For example, ASPs will be able to upload inspection results and electronically endorse export certificates where required.

How will the CFIA know that the ASP has the necessary authorization to provide the service being requested?

Alternative Service Providers (ASPs) who enrol in My CFIA are validated by the CFIA as part of the enrolment process.

I currently use a private veterinarian/laboratory for my service requests. Can I continue to do this using My CFIA?

Yes. If you use an Alternative Service Provider (ASP), this relationship can be established within My CFIA. Once you and your ASP enrol, you can connect using your My CFIA account profile and continue to collaborate within My CFIA.

Export-related Services

What if I need an export certificate right away?

Current service channels remain open to clients. As export certificates become available through My CFIA, processes will be in place to allow for requests to be prioritized based on the need for short turn-around times. There will be no changes to existing service standards.

How does the system know which export certificate is needed?

As part of the online application process, you will be taken through a series of questions that will identify the appropriate export certificate. This process will also identify any requirements that must be met, for example, if an inspection is needed.

My company exports multiple shipments of the same product to the same country on a regular basis. Do I need to go through the process to identify the certificate each time?

You will be able to view and re-use previously submitted requests for export certificates.

What happens when an importing country changes its requirements?

In the event that an active service request is impacted by changes in requirements by the importing country, you will be notified.

I have a broker who does my export applications for me. Can brokers use My CFIA? Do they need to enrol and create an account?

A business may send an invite code to a broker so they can enrol and interact with that party on line.

Once the invitation is sent, the broker has 15 days to accept the invitation before it expires. The broker must enrol as a 'Party Contact' before they can facilitate a service request on behalf of their client using My CFIA.

Who will be signing the export certificates?

My CFIA streamlines how clients submit their service requests by providing one entry point. The certification process will continue as it currently does, CFIA inspectors and Alternative Service Providers (ASPs) will sign export certificates as required.

How do I obtain my export certificate?

Completed electronically signed certificates can be obtained from your portal dashboard.

Ink signatures certificates are issued at CFIA offices. The current process you may have in place to pick up your certificate will continue to be available. This can be noted in the comments section on the submission page of your online service request. For more information about export certification, visit the food exports, aquatic animal exports, terrestrial animal exports, or plant exports page.

Additional support using My CFIA?

For step-by-step instructions, walk-through videos and other resources related to My CFIA, refer to My CFIA User Guidance.

Having trouble?

Call 1-800-442-CFIA (2342)

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