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Incorporation by reference

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) strives to develop regulations that promote innovation and reduce administrative burden. At the same time, these regulations should also give CFIA the tools to ensure food safety and protect plant and animal health. Incorporation by reference (IbR) is one approach that supports these objectives.

IbR is a drafting technique that brings the content of a document into a regulation without having to copy it into the regulation's text. This technique allows CFIA to update these documents with greater flexibility to maintain an agile and flexible regulatory regime.

To support this practice, CFIA's Incorporation by Reference Policy describes a clear and comprehensive process for selecting IbR documents. The policy outlines the general principles and processes that CFIA follows when identifying documents appropriate for IbR and making modifications to those documents. The principles of accessibility, transparency, consistency, reasonableness and clarity form the foundation of the policy.

For a current list of IbR documents in regulatory provisions that CFIA administers, please visit the Inventory of documents incorporated by reference.


Documents incorporated in CFIA-administered regulations may be modified to align with the most up-to-date scientific findings, commercial innovations, or shifts in international relations.

Internal documents

CFIA will notify domestic stakeholders and international trading partners of proposed modifications to internal documents and give them the opportunity to comment, where required.

Consultations on existing internal documents incorporated by reference will be posted on CFIA's Consultations and engagement page.

External documents

When an external party informs CFIA of its intent to modify an incorporated document, CFIA will provide notice in the section below. For more information on external documents, see CFIA's Incorporation by Reference Policy.

Guidance on requesting modifications to IbR documents

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