Difference between DRC membership and CFIA License under the proposed SFCR

The proposed CFIA Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) are expected to come into force in mid-2018. Upon the coming into force the current CFIA Canada Agricultural Products Act (CAP Act) will be repealed. The CAP Act requirement for CFIA produce license to buy and sell fresh fruit and vegetables will be replaced by the SFCR regulatory requirement for a DRC membership for buyers and sellers of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Fresh fruit and vegetable dealers will no longer be able to apply for a CFIA produce license once the new SFCR come into force. The option of having a CFIA license OR a DRC membership will be eliminated. Those affected by the new regulations will be required to obtain a DRC membership, unless exempted. The new regulations will result in the requirement for a mandatory membership in the DRC for some buyers and sellers of fresh fruits and vegetables who were not previously subject to the requirements of the CFIA Licensing and Arbitration Regulations. It is important to note that there is no change for existing DRC members. 

The DRC’s relationship and relevance to the SFCR pertain to trade and commerce only. Food Safety and Traceability requirements, including a CFIA (food safety) Licence will remain under the purview of CFIA. Any and all food safety and traceability inquiries should be directed to the CFIA (www.inspection.gc.ca).

To obtain an exemption from the trade of fresh fruit or vegetable provisions in Part 2, Division 2 of the proposed Regulations: Trade of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, one must fall within the categories listed below.

Exemption – persons

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to:

(a)  a person who is a member in good standing of the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation, a corporation incorporated under Part 2 of the Canada not-for-profit Corporations Act, as described in its bylaws;

(b)  a person who only sells fresh fruits or vegetables directly to consumers if that person paid less than $100,000 for the fresh fruits and vegetables that they sold to consumers within the previous 12 months;

(c)  a person who only purchases, sells or negotiates the purchase or sale on another person’s behalf, sends or conveys from one province to another or imports or exports less than one metric ton (2 205 lb) of fresh fruits or vegetables per day;

(d)  a person who only sells fresh fruits and vegetables that they have grown themselves; or

(e)  an organization that is a registered charity as defined in subsection 248(1) of the Income Tax Act or a club, society or association described in paragraph 149(1)(1) of that Act.

If you or a trading partner do not have a DRC membership, and are not exempt from the requirement, you should prepare to secure a DRC membership prior to the coming into force of the SFCR. If you are not sure if you are exempt, contact the DRC Help Desk for assistance. We can help you determine if you are subject to the requirements of the SFCR and assist you in securing DRC membership prior to the coming into force of the SFCR.

Over the coming year, DRC is initiating broad education and outreach initiatives to ensure awareness of the changes and their impact and the value-added benefits and services of DRC membership. Education and outreach materials and factsheets will be made available in English, French, Spanish, Punjabi and Chinese. We appreciate our members’ support in encouraging trading partners to become informed of the upcoming regulatory changes and to join DRC if they have not already.

For more information please call or email the DRC Help Desk at:

DRC Help Desk | 613-234-0982 | Info@fvdrc.com