Fertilizers Regulations Amendments on Changes to Labelling, Imports and Exports

Fertilizers (plant nutrients) and supplements (substances other than fertilizers that improve the physical condition of soils or aid crop yield) are regulated under the fertilizer regulatory framework. The Fertilizers Act and the Regulations require that all fertilizers and supplements that are imported into or sold in Canada be properly labelled and be safe with respect to human, animal and plant health, and the environment.

CFIA works together with other federal government departments and agencies, such as Health Canada, including its Pest Management Regulatory Agency, Environment and Climate Change Canada, as well as municipalities, provinces, and territories to monitor and verify that all fertilizers and supplements meet science-based standards for safety.

Recently published in Canada Gazette, Part 11, volume 154 on November 11, 2020 the Fertilizers Regulations is amended to further clarify that both domestically produced and imported products intended for export, or for manufacturing purposes, are exempt from all provisions of the Fertilizers Act and the Regulations. Proponents will continue to be able to request export certificates that attest to the fact that the product meets the Canadian regulatory requirements. The exemption for fertilizers imported for personal use will be removed. However, fertilizers imported into or manufactured in Canada for experimental purposes (research trials) will continue to be exempted. The new provision will still stipulate that the product must be safe but will be exempted from registration and labelling requirements. Also, the product itself will not be allowed to be sold nor will the treated crops be permitted to enter the food or feed commercial chains.

These amendments will also streamline labelling requirements while requiring bilingual labelling of core product information as required under the Official Languages Act. Several administrative changes have also been made, including removing the application form from the Regulations, extending the registration period from three to five years and repealing the Compendium of Fertilizer-Use Pesticides. Moving forward, all fertilizers and supplements that are, or contain, pesticides, will have to conform to the provisions of the Pest Control Products Act with respect to human, animal or plant health and safety, or the environment.

The objectives of the regulatory amendments are to:

  1. update product definitions and the compositional criteria of primary materials to bring them up to date with current science, industry trends and international standards;
  2. use incorporation by reference to enable regular updates to the List of Materials as new information comes to light;
  3. clarify the general exemptions from all provisions of the Fertilizers Act and the Regulations to facilitate the import of products intended for export or manufacturing purposes;
  4. introduce a risk-based approach to support innovation and expedite time to market for safe fertilizers and supplements, while maintaining high product safety standards. Align regulatory intervention and oversight with the potential health and safety risks associated with the product and its use (revised exemptions from registration);
  5. reduce regulatory and administrative burden on regulated parties by streamlining the registration, re-registration and registration amendment process; and
  6. modernize labelling requirements to allow more flexibility and limit the mandatory label information. Health and safety information will have to appear in both official languages.

Consultations was held on the proposed changes to the Fertilizers Regulations from December 2018 to February 2019. View the results of the feedback and comments received on the proposed modernization of the Fertilizers Regulations. You can reach out to the CFIA Fertilizer Program assistance and contacts here.

For information and contact:

Fertilizer Program
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0Y9
Email: cfia.fertilizermodernization-modernisationengrais.acia@canada.ca