Notice to industry: Implementation of the amended Fertilizers Regulations – prioritization of compliance activities after the end of the transitional period
May 3, 2023
The Fertilizers Regulations were amended on October 26, 2020. While reducing overall burden on industry, the changes introduced new requirements for some product categories that involve up-front investment, cost and time for industry to fully implement. To ease the transition, the regulations allow regulated parties to comply with either the former ("old") or current ("new") regulations for a period of 3 years.
This transition period is coming to an end on October 26, 2023. After that date, all fertilizer and supplement importers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers will be required to comply with the amended regulations.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) compliance and enforcement
Business disruptions across the value chain caused by the pandemic have made it difficult for some companies to comply with the new regulations by October 26, 2023. For product categories that are most impacted and for the companies that demonstrated the "intent" to comply by submitting their applications early (before November 3, 2022), the CFIA will focus its inspection efforts on compliance promotion activities.
Compliance promotion is any activity that supports, motivates or encourages compliance with legislation that CFIA enforces. It includes industry consultations, communication, information sharing, tools and processes to help regulated parties understand the regulatory requirements. It is different from control actions (for example product detention) or enforcement (for example prosecution) which the CFIA can take to correct a non-compliance and control risks.
Both compliance and enforcement actions taken by the CFIA are part of a continuum as described in Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
In the event of a safety issue, the CFIA will take action immediately to protect consumers and the environment. For label non-compliances that do not impact the safety of the product or its safe use, the inspectors will inform the regulated party of non-compliance and work with them to bring the product back into compliance in the most effective and timely manner as possible.
Who does it apply to
Registerable fertilizers and supplements that were formerly exempt from registration under the old regulations, and for which an application was received before November 3, 2022:
- the company will have an additional 12 months (until October 26, 2024) to transition their marketplace labels/packaging in compliance with the "new" regulations
Mixtures that contain registerable fertilizers and supplements that:
- were formerly exempt, but now require registration or
- were registered under the former regulations and continue to require registration under the current regulations;
and for which an application was received prior to November 3, 2022; the downstream producers will have an additional 24 months (until October 26, 2025) to transition the mixed product label into compliance with the "new" regulations.
Who are downstream producers
A producer of a fertilizer or supplement that requires an "upstream" supplier to bring their product(s) into compliance with the amended regulations before they can manufacture/blend their final mixed product and print their labels. This includes:
- mixed fertilizers or supplements
- treated seeds; and
- growing media products that contain regulated fertilizers or supplements
Why November 3, 2022
All applications for registration received before that date will have undergone a first review by the end of the transition period. If a significant safety risk is identified during the first review, the registration will be denied and applicant will have to resubmit in order to import or sell the product legally in Canada. This will reduce safety risks associated with unassessed products reaching the marketplace.
Who gets inspected
The CFIA inspects a variety of different facilities and establishments as part of their routine marketplace monitoring and compliance verification activities. This includes importers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers of regulated fertilizers and supplements. Recognizing that retail stores that sell bagged fertilizers and supplements are, in general, not involved in product registration or preparing product labels, they will not be the focus of inspection activities in the upcoming 2 years following the end of the transition period (October 2023).
Should their facilities be inspected during that period, they may be informed of the compliance status of a given product line, but the communication will be directed at the "responsible" party (for example importer, manufacturer, registrant etc.).
The CFIA has been experiencing challenges meeting its service delivery standards which has led to registration delays. We recognize that these delays are outside of the companies' control. Those who submitted their applications before November 3, 2022, and have not been denied registration due to safety concerns, will be able to market their product while they wait for the registration to be finalized. For an update to current delays to service delivery standards please got to: Update on fertilizer service standards.
Fertilizer Safety Section
c/o Pre-market Application Submissions Office (PASO)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa ON K1A 0Y9
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