Tips for a smooth Safe Food for Canadians licence application

Most food businesses need a Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence to import, export or send food across provincial and territorial borders. Find out if and when your business needs a licence by using our interactive tool.

Here are some things you should consider before applying for a licence in My CFIA:

Choosing a food category

When filling out the application for your licence, you will have to indicate what foods you want your licence to cover. You will be asked to choose from a list of food categories and activities. 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. For more information, refer to examples listed in Food categories identified in the licence application.

Business number

When signing up for My CFIA, businesses must use their 9-digit business number issued by the Canada Revenue Agency. To obtain a business number, visit the CRA website.

Legal business name

You need to enter your Legal Business Name when signing up for My CFIA. This may differ from your operating name. The CFIA will use your legal business name to validate your My CFIA account, which must happen before an SFC licence or other permission can be issued to your business. You can find your legal business name on any federal or provincial document of business registration, certificates of incorporation or partnership, and official tax documents such as your T2 Corporation Income Tax Return.

Other SFCR requirements

In order to apply for an SFC licence, you will need to attest that your business has preventive controls in place. You will also need to meet traceability requirements.

Single or multiple profiles

When signing up for My CFIA, your business needs to decide to create single or multiple profiles. This decision could impact how many licences you can apply for because you will use this profile to apply for your licence(s). Find out more by watching our videos on single or multiple profiles.

Application process

Wondering what you can expect when you apply? Watch our demonstration of applying for a licence and learn more about what to consider before applying for a Safe Food for Canadians licence.

Additional support using My CFIA

For step-by-step instructions, walk-through videos and frequently asked questions related to My CFIA, refer to My CFIA User Guidance.

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