Notice to International Trading Partners: Progress Towards Electronic Certification

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is phasing in the launch of electronic export certificates across food, animal and plant commodities.

Automation of the export processes and certificates will be rolled out incrementally starting this year. This will allow industry time to adjust to the new way of doing business with the CFIA and to minimize any disruption to trade as existing versions of export certificates are phased out.

As the CFIA transitions to electronic certification through My CFIA, certificates may continue to be signed with ink or a new electronic signature and new features such as digital images and certificate numbering will be added.

Current and revised versions of the certificates (and shipping marks) will remain in circulation during the transition period. The CFIA will also maintain the secure paper requirements through the transition period to government to government transmission, where removing secure paper requirements can be considered.

New Certificate Viewer

A new feature called the "CFIA Certificate Viewer" which will be available through the My CFIA website will allow international trading partners the ability to view and authenticate Canadian issued certificates online. Enhanced security features within the viewer will protect commercial information.

Government-to-Government (G2G) Transmissions

The CFIA is modernizing import processes to align with electronic export certification and is continuing to work with countries directly on acceptance of electronic certificates to support government-to-government transactions for export.

Bilaterally Negotiated Certificates

All bilaterally negotiated certificates remain unchanged. Prior to launching bilaterally negotiated certificates electronically, the CFIA will engage directly with foreign competent authorities. All negotiated export requirements for public or plant/animal health requirements and associated attestations for bilaterally negotiated certificates remain in place.

Overview of procedural changes to CFIA's export certification
Procedural Change Impact
New online CFIA Certificate Viewer
  • Stakeholders can view and authenticate Canadian issued certificates through My CFIA.
  • The CFIA will no longer be crimping certificates as it will be redundant practice when electronically issuing certificates.
  • The CFIA will maintain the current, secure paper requirement through the transition period (beginning in 2018) for certificates until government to government transactions occur and this security feature becomes redundant.
Paper certificates can be endorsed using electronic signature images in addition to traditional ink signatures
  • CFIA certifying officials have the ability to sign certificates with electronic signature or tradition ink signature.
New certificate number and schema:
Year – S (generated by the CFIA's Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP) or M (generated outside DSDP) – 9 digits (e.g.: 2018–S-123456789 or 2018-M-123456789).
  • The CFIA will no longer be issuing certificates with numbering schemes that vary depending on commodity and area of issuance. A consistent numbering approach allows for validation in the certificate viewer.
Amendment to the CFIA's policy for the requirements for shipping marks for the Meat Certificate (CFIA/ACIA 1454) based on new certificate number schema
  • The system will generate a certificate number of more than six digits, which is the current limitation set due to shipping marks and export stamps.
  • New certificates include an additional field under the certificate number. It provides the same functionality as a shipping mark: 'the boxes are stamped with XX'. Exporters will be able to use this field to mark product within an inspected shipment as part of their traceability requirements.
  • The CFIA is currently drafting the guidance and policy to replace the existing instructions in Chapter 11 of the Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures. In the interim, exporters will be requested to use the corresponding last 6 digits of the export certificate to be stamped on the corresponding product.
A digital image can be embedded within an electronic certificate
  • CFIA officials and Alternative Service Providers (ASPs) have the ability to attach an image to a certificate. This will replace hand drawn markings to certificates (e.g.: identifying marks for horse exports).
Overview of formatting changes to CFIA's export certification
Formatting Change Details

A standardized format for margins, logos and font sizes:

  • Margins have changed, 0.5" around page
  • CFIA signature in top left
  • Canada wordmark in the bottom right
  • Font has changed to Arial and Times New Roman for the population of the fields
  • CFIA issued certificates will have a consistent look and feel.
CFIA certifying official can initial all pages of a certificate if there is more than one page.
  • The system allows for information in many certificates to roll over onto multiple pages and will require a certifying official to initial all pages of the certificate.
Removal of blank product lines within certificates.
  • This is a security feature to ensure that no additional product can be added to the certificate after it has been issued.
  • The certificate information may no longer have blank fields in the certificate but may be after the CFIA signature block.
Removal of internal form version and status
  • Only a single international form number will appear on the certificate.
Date added on the bottom left of the certificate.
  • Date identifies the latest version with format changes.
Secure Paper for the meat certificate (CFIA/ACIA 1454)
  • Improved security features include:
    • Proprietary watermarked paper
    • Laser friendly grain
    • Toner retention
    • Invisible fluorescent fibres
    • Secure-scan pattern
    • Coin reactive ink on borders
    • A sequential number printed on the back of every page in grey
  • The CFIA will provide secure copy specimen copies when engaging bi-laterally.
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