Canada’s Ministers of Health and Agriculture and Agri-Food have announced that final Safe Food for Canadians Regulations were published in Canada Gazette, Part II (CGII). The regulations come into force January 15, 2019.
While the regulations primarily address important food safety and traceability matters, there is a significant trade and commerce element of particular interest to the produce industry. Canadians who buy, sell or negotiate the sale or purchase of fruits and vegetables inter-provincially and internationally will be required to be a member in good standing of the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation, unless excepted from the regulations. The requirements are outlined in Part 6, Division 6 Fresh Fruits or Vegetables, Subdivision C Trade of Fresh Fruits of Vegetables, paragraphs 122(1), (2) and (3).
“This is an important milestone for DRC” notes President & CEO Fred Webber. “When the DRC opened in 1999, one of the founding principles was to work towards single “body” licensing in Canada to integrate the CFIA Licensing and Arbitration Regulations requirement for a Produce Licence with the requirement for a DRC Membership. The new regulatory requirement fulfills that objective.” It will be important for non-Canadians to ensure when they are purchasing from or selling to an entity in Canada they only transact with a DRC member in good standing.
A section of the DRC website is dedicated to the SFCR and includes background information, a list of exceptions as well as a self-assessment tool to assist in determining if one is subject to the regulatory requirement. The information is available in English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Punjabi.
DRC offers members a common set of trading standards and member responsibilities that promote the fair and ethical trading of produce entering the North American marketplace as well as a full range of mediation and arbitration services. “In addition to fulfilling a regulatory requirement, a DRC membership is good business and provides an additional layer of risk management” added Webber.
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The DRC is a member-based organization whose core work is “business-to-business private commercial dispute resolution”.
Mediation and arbitration services address issues such as slow pay, partial pay and no pay disputes, quality and condition problems for produce purchased or sold within Canada (inter-intra provincial) and internationally as well as contract issues related to breach of contract by either party.