By Canada’s Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation
Canada’s Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) are expected to come into force in mid-2018. Although much of the detail has to do with food safety and traceability, the regulations also include important trade and commerce requirements pertaining specifically to buyers and sellers of fresh fruits and vegetables. The regulations require buyers, sellers, importers, and exporters of fresh fruits and vegetables to be members of the Dispute Resolution Corporation (DRC), unless otherwise exempted as per the regulations. Some buyers and sellers who were not previously subject to the CFIA Licensing and Arbitration Regulations may be subject to the new requirement.
According to DRC President & CEO, Fred Webber, “Our goal is to ensure a smooth transition to the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. Members of the DRC team are available to attend events across the country to make presentations, and the DRC Help Desk is also available to provide information and assistance.”
The DRC has prepared the following helpful guide.
What is in the regulations: Division 2 Trade of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables?
It is prohibited for a person to:
- Sell or negotiate the sale on another person’s behalf of any fresh fruit or vegetable that is to be exported or to be sent or conveyed from one province to another;
- Purchase or negotiate the purchase on another person’s behalf of any fresh fruit or vegetable that is to be imported or to be sent or conveyed from one province to another;
- Receive or receive on another person’s behalf any fresh fruit or vegetable that has been imported or sent or conveyed to from one province to another; or
- Send or convey from one province to another or import or export any fresh fruit or vegetables.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to:
- 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;
- 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;
- 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 lbs) of fresh fruits or vegetables per day;
- A person who only sells fresh fruits and vegetables that they have grown themselves; or
- 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.
* Individual or company
Transitioning to the SFCR
For members of the DRC, it is business as usual and no action is required. However, if you buy, sell export or import fresh fruits and vegetables and are not a member of the DRC, it is important to determine if a DRC membership is required in order to meet the regulatory requirement.
The DRC has developed a series of self-assessment tools to assist in determining whether a DRC membership is required in order to comply with the new regulations, including:
- DRC SFCR outreach backgrounder;
- Agent, grower’s agent, broker;
- Farm markets and direct to consumers;
- Grower, shipper, packer;
- Retail, food service and restaurants; and
- Wholesalers and distributors.
Canada’s Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation (DRC) was established in February 2000 pursuant to Article 707 of NAFTA, which provided for the creation of a private commercial dispute resolution body for trade in agricultural commodities. Today, the DRC has members from Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and numerous other countries. You can reach the DRC Help Desk by phoning (613) 234- 0982, e-mailing , faxing (613) 234-8036, or by visiting www.fvdrc.com.