Summary of amendments to the Fertilizers Regulations

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Note: As a result of recent regulatory changes, information regarding regulations, registration requirements, standards and policies and other related information about the Fertilizer Program found on the CFIA's website is currently being updated.

Amendments to the Fertilizer Regulations have removed regulatory requirements for efficacy and quality. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) no longer regulates the efficacy and quality of fertilizer products.

This change enables the CFIA to focus on verifying the safety of fertilizers and supplements, and will strengthen industry's leadership role in quality assurance and verification. It will also provide industry with greater flexibility, reduced costs and less red tape.

All fertilizer and supplement products continue to be regulated for safety for humans, plants, animals and the environment. Safety assessments will continue to examine all ingredients in a fertilizer or supplement. These assessments include human exposure, safety of food crops grown on land that has been treated with the product, impacts on animals and plants other than the target crop species, and ecosystem effects including impact on soil, biodiversity and leaching to waterways. The CFIA will also continue to verify that fertilizer products are properly labelled to avoid product misrepresentation in the marketplace.

To view the amendments in full, please consult the Canada Gazette, Part II.

The CFIA encourages stakeholders to make use of the product specific inquiry information to obtain up-to-date information regarding regulatory requirements under the Fertilizers Regulations.

Snapshot: What's New

Exemptions from registration:

1. Farm Fertilizers:

Mixed farm fertilizers that contain nutrients in a mineral form (obtained by extraction or by physical or chemical processes) and do not contain pesticides will continue to be exempt (Paragraph 3.1(3)(b)). The standards for mixed fertilizers to contain no less than 18 percent or 24 percent cumulative nutrient content has been repealed (Section 10). Therefore, some Low Analysis Farm Fertilizers (LAFFs) will no longer require registration. In addition, farm fertilizers which contain nutrients that are not derived from mineral form will be subject to registration, unless they meet a different exemption.

2. Seeds treated with a fertilizer or supplement:

The provisions with regards to seed treated with rhizobia were expanded to cover all seed treated with a fertilizer or a supplement that is intended for that use and is either registered or exempt from registration. In effect, seed mixtures treated with fertilizers or supplements will not require registration providing the supplement or fertilizer is registered for that use and labelled accordingly (Paragraph 3.1(3)(d)). Therefore, some currently registered treated seeds will no longer require registration.

3. Potting soils that contain a fertilizer or supplement:

The exemption for potting soils that contain supplements, if those supplements are registered, was expanded to include fertilizers. Thus, a potting soil that contains a fertilizer or a supplement that is either exempt from registration or is registered for use in potting soils is exempt from registration (Paragraph 3.1(3)(h)).


4. The standards for mixed fertilizers requiring a nutrient content of 18 percent and 24 percent in Section 10 have been removed.

5. The standards for rhizobial inoculants prescribing the minimum number of viable cells per seed and in furrow in Subsections 10.2(1) and (1.1) have been removed.

6. Subsection 10.2(2) has been expanded to cover all supplements containing viable organisms (not only rhizobia). Subsection 10.2(2)(a), which ensures that the amount of product applied to the seed of any crop will not interfere with the commonly used rates of seeding for that crop was retained. However, subsection 10.2(2)(b), was amended to remove efficacy standards and focus on product safety (preventing contamination with detrimental or pathogenic microbial species).

7. The standards in Subsection 10.2(3) for pre-inoculated seeds have been removed.

The standards in Subsection 10.2(4) preventing a pre-inoculated seed from containing substances that inhibit nodulation, nitrogen fixation or affect the viability of the active organisms have been removed.

The standards in Subsection 10.2(5) regarding the requirement to provide efficacy data on inoculant extenders have been removed.

8. The standard in Subsection 10.3(1) regarding the requirement for slow-release fertilizers to contain at least 25 percent of the total guaranteed nitrogen to be present in water-insoluble form has been removed.

The standard in Subsection 10.3(2) regarding the requirement to provide efficacy data for controlled release fertilizers has been removed.

9. The standard in Subsection 11.(2) regarding the requirement for all products to be efficacious for the intended purpose has been removed.

The Subsection 11.(3) requiring that lesser plant nutrients shall not be present at toxic levels has been expanded to cover all plant nutrients when the fertilizer is used at recommended rates.

10. The standards for combined nutrient level (CNL) and the associated calculations in Section 13 have been removed.

The standards for nutrient and pesticide minimum levels and tolerances in Schedule I and in Section 14 have been removed.

Guaranteed Analysis:

11. The Paragraphs 15(e) and 15(f) referencing the guarantee analysis requirements for tobacco fertilizer have been removed.

The Paragraph 15(g) regarding the requirement to guarantee the minimum amount of water-insoluble nitrogen in per cent has been removed.


12. The labelling requirement for slowly available plant nutrients in Section 17 has been removed.

13. The labelling requirements for tobacco fertilizers in Subsection 21(5) have been removed.

Schedule I:

14. The standards for nutrient and pesticide minimum levels and tolerances in Schedule I have been removed.

If you have any questions about the Fertilizers Regulations amendments, please contact the Fertilizer Program at:

Fertilizer Safety Section
c/o Pre-market Application Submissions Office (PASO)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9
Phone: 1-855-212-7695
Fax: 613-773-7115

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