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Guide for preparing an Export Control Plan (ECP): Overview


This guidance was developed to help food exporters prepare an Export Control Plan (ECP). An ECP demonstrates how an exporter complies with the requirements and conditions set out in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) and the Food export control policy.

Exporters will need an ECP when they require an export permission from the CFIA (such as an export certificate or endorsement for addition to an export eligibility list). The examples included in this document are generic and not exhaustive. Your ECP should be tailored to your specific food business, product(s), and foreign market conditions.

Domestic export requirements are set out in the SFCR. Export conditions are set out in the Food export control policy. An export condition is a stipulation that is not prescribed in Canadian regulations but that an exporter needs to meet in order to be issued an export permission (such as an export certificate, or endorsement to an export eligibility list) by the CFIA.


For definitions of terms used in this guide, go to:

Roles and responsibilities


Exporters are responsible for meeting regulatory requirements, and any applicable additional conditions for export, as outlined in the Food export control policy.

Exporters must:

These elements form the basis for the exporter's ECP.

Figure 1 – Graphic representing the 2 levels of market access and required controls

2 levels of market access and required controls. Description follows.
Description for Figure 1 – Graphic representing the 2 levels of market access and required controls

If you require CFIA to issue a certificate or add you to an export eligibility list to export food commodities, then you need to have:

  • Written controls and documents set out by the SFCA/SFCR; and
  • Export controls, that ensure complete and accurate export documents

And, if you export a food commodity to a country that has negotiated addition conditions, then you need to have:

  • Written controls that demonstrate how you meet the importing country conditions

The CFIA will then verify that your controls are effective in meeting the conditions for certification or endorsement to an eligibility list.


CFIA verifies compliance of exporters through preventive control inspection, commodity inspection, or sample collection. CFIA may conduct additional activities to verify export eligibility at any time during the export permission issuance process.

CFIA reviews the exporter's ECP to verify that the exporter has adequate export controls in place to ensure the food they export meets domestic requirements and export conditions.

These activities help the CFIA determine if an export certificate can be issued, or if an eligibility list request can be endorsed. When non-compliance is identified, the CFIA takes appropriate actions to manage risks to food safety and market access including compliance and enforcement action.

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