On November 20, 2012, Bill S-11, the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA), passed third reading in the Canadian House of Commons and awaits Royal Assent.

SFCA consolidates four key pieces of legislation:

  • Canada Agricultural Products Act
  • Fish Inspection Act
  • Meat Inspection Act
  • Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (as that legislation relates to food).

Key elements of the SFCA include:

  • Mechanism for formalizing/strengthening the controls applicable to imported foods through the ability to create a licensing regime for importers;
  • Authority to develop regulations on a broad range of food safety issues including:
    • the requirement for quality management/quality control programs,
    • safety programs and prevention control plans,
    • food traceability systems and record keeping requirements, and potentially
    • mandatory food hazard/recall notification;
  • Prohibition on the importation of unsafe foods (with greater anticipated regulatory/border scrutiny) and a prohibition on the sale of foods that have been recalled by federal order; and
  • Significant fines/penalties for contravention of the legislation and possible director/officer liability.