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


You may be thinking about becoming a non-resident importer (NRI) if you shipping to Canada or maybe your customer wants you to be the importer of record for shipments going to them in Canada. It is important to know as of January 15, 2019, the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations come into effect which will impact the way non-resident importers currently export to Canada. For the purposes of this article we will ignore tax and valuation components and leave that for another article from an expert guest writer. For now, let’s just worry about what it means from a DRC and SFCR perspective.

The CFIA defines a non-resident importer is a person importing food into Canada whose fixed place of business is located in a country other than Canada. Starting January 15th, 2019 in order to be an NRI for fresh fruits and vegetables, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is going to apply four main conditions:

  1. Food Safety:
    • Non-resident importers will only be recognized in countries with equivalent food safety systems to those in Canada. On January 15, only companies in the United States of America will be recognized to be non-resident importers. 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 to be recognized as a non-resident importer shipping into Canada. This is because the SFCR requires that anybody importing or moving fresh fruits and vegetables across provincial lines needs to be a member in good standing with the DRC.
  4. CFIA Licensing:
    • Obtain a licence as an NRI from CFIA. This means setting up a myCFIA account and applying for a licence. We would strongly recommend getting this in place prior to the January 15, 2019 implementation date to avoid any delays.

Look for our follow-up article, where we plan to have a guest writer inform us on calculating valuations for tax purposes on both pre-sold and un-sold goods entering Canada via an NRI.