How the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations impact Non-Resident Importers


You may already be a Non-Resident Importer (NRI) shipping to Canada, thinking about becoming an NRI if you are shipping to Canada, or perhaps your customer wants you to be the importer of record for shipments going to them in Canada. No matter the circumstance, it is important to know that on January 15, 2019 the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) come into effect and will impact the way NRIs currently export to Canada.

What does this mean from a DRC and SFCR perspective?

CFIA defines a non-resident importer as a person importing food into Canada whose fixed place of business is in a country other than Canada. Effective January 15, 2019 in order to be an NRI for fresh fruits and vegetables, CFIA will apply four main conditions when considering NRI status:

  1. Food Safety: To be eligible to obtain a licence as an NRI under the SFCR, the NRI’s fixed place of business must be in a country that the CFIA has recognized as having a food safety system that provides at least the same level of protection as that of Canada’s. Currently, this includes commodities covered by USFDA and CFIA Food Safety Systems Recognition (FSSR) Arrangement. As more food safety systems are evaluated, more countries may be added in the future.
  2. Port of Entry (United States): Product must enter Canada directly through the US. In other words, the product must land and clear US customs before it can move into Canada. You cannot be a US NRI and ship the product from another country straight into Canada.
  3. DRC Membership:  A DRC Membership is required for NRIs shipping fresh produce into Canada as the SFCR requires that anybody importing or moving fresh fruits and vegetables across provincial and/or international borders must be a DRC member in good standing. It is important to keep in mind that a SFCR licence and a DRC membership do not have the same intent. A SFCR licence intends to identify businesses and authorize those businesses to carry out licensable activities such as NRI. A DRC membership requires fair and ethical trading practices by minimizing trade irritants and facilitating effective trade dispute resolution.
  4. CFIA Licence: Obtain a licence as an NRI from CFIA. To do so, set up a myCFIA account and complete the application for a license. We strongly recommend doing so prior to the January 15, 2019 implementation date in order to avoid any delays.

As always, if you still need help or want to explore other scenarios, please give us a call (+1 613-234-0982) or drop us a line at

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