CPMA understands that this is a busy and concerning time for our members, the entire produce industry and the public. Below you will find links to information and resources to help your business navigate the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We will be continually updating this page as things develop and new information becomes available.

Click the links below to access the following topics, or scroll down to read all:

     CPMA_BulletLeaf    Consumer Overview and Information on COVID-19
     CPMA_BulletLeaf    Border and Trade
     CPMA_BulletLeaf    Foreign Worker Entry into Canada
     CPMA_BulletLeaf    Health and Safety
     CPMA_BulletLeaf    Food Safety
     CPMA_BulletLeaf    Labelling Requirements
     CPMA_BulletLeaf    Transportation
     CPMA_BulletLeaf    Protocols and Best Practices
     CPMA_BulletLeaf    Resources for Canadian Businesses
     CPMA_BulletLeaf    Examples of COVID-19 Resources from CPMA Member Companies


Consumer Overview and Information on COVID-19

CPMA has developed an information document for produce companies, health professionals and members of the public to share, to help ensure everyone is aware of methods of prevention of the spread of COVID-19, specifically when handling produce, and that scientific evidence currently shows no indication that COVID-19 is a foodborne illness.

Click here to access this document.

More COVID-19 resources for consumers can also be found on the Half Your Plate website.

Border and Trade

For help understanding the definition of essential services across borders and to understand what documentation will be required at the Canada – US border: Canada Border Services Agency has established a toll free line, staffed 24/7, to answer specific questions about Border Crossing: 1-800-461-9999 from within Canada, and 1-204-983-3500 or 1-506-636-5064 from outside Canada.

On September 18th, it was announced that restrictions on travel across the land border between Canada and the U.S. would be extended until October 21, 2020.

Should you have drivers that are experiencing any challenges crossing the border due to COVID-19, please contact Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) 24/7 Business Information Service at 1-800-461-9999. Please have on hand the following information when you call: the driver's name and nationality, work status in the US and Canada, driving history, and point of entry.

If you have concerns that rejections at the U.S. border are not justified, you can contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Info Center (open Mon-Fri between 8:30am and 4:00pm ET) at 1-877-227-5511.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions and other measures such as movement restrictions and quarantines. New restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Trade commissioners can provide you with market-specific insights and guidance to help you mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. 

CPMA was pleased to see the decision of the Government of Canada to allow businesses to defer payments for customs duties and taxes to June 2020. Along with other importer and broker organizations, CPMA had urged the Government to provide flexibility in payment deadlines, including through a letter sent to CBSA and the Department of Finance on March 24.

Foreign Worker Entry into Canada

Please be advised that he travel restriction exemptions for foreign workers that were announced are now in place. Workers who are exempt can now travel to Canada.

If travelling by air, you need to pass a health check before you’re allowed to board your flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air. When you arrive in Canada we’ll assess your health before you leave the port of entry. You must isolate for 14 days even if you have no symptoms. This is mandatory.

Only people who provide essential services and truck drivers who regularly cross the border to maintain the flow of goods are exempt from the isolation requirements.

The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot is now open and will accept applications until May 14, 2023.

On March 18, 2020, CPMA and 18 other agriculture organizations across Canada, submitted a Temporary Foreign Worker Program COVID-19 Agri-food Risk Management Plan to the Prime Minister’s Office in order to support the entry of temporary foreign workers to Canada, essential to our agriculture industry, while taking every reasonable precaution to address the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here to read the Executive Summary of the proposed Temporary Foreign Worker Program COVID-19 Agri-food Risk Management Plan.

Health and Safety

Food Safety

There is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus. There is no known risk of COVID-19 entering Canada on parcels or packages coming from affected areas. If the Government of Canada becomes aware of a potential food safety risk, appropriate actions will be taken to ensure the safety of Canada’s food supply.

Given these unprecedented circumstances, GFSI has instructed the Certificate Program Owners (i.e. CanadaGAP) that “… certificate extension can last for a period of up to 6 months.” There may be options to do desk audits or virtual audits, but this has not been finalized. The complete document can be found here: GFSI - Coronavirus Position Regarding Audits. You should contact your GFSI audit provider to discuss the proper path forward for your organization.

Labelling Requirements

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has temporarily suspended some of its low-risk activities. Low-risk CFIA activities are those that do not immediately impact the production of safe food for Canadians. The CFIA is also providing flexibility for certain labelling requirements for foodservice packaged products that have no impact on food safety, as detailed below.



On March 16, 2020, the Government of Canada declared workers such as commercial truck drivers, train and air crews, and others whose professions require cross-border travel to the U.S. in order to maintain trade and deliver essential products to Canadians, will be exempted from the requirement to self-isolate for at least 14 days upon entering into Canada from abroad.
Click here for more information from the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

Persons exempt from mandatory quarantine are still required to wear an appropriate mask or face covering upon entry into Canada and while in transit, and should otherwise respect the intent of the Order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

Protocols and Best Practices

Resources for Canadian Businesses

CPMA Resources

Agriculture Employment Portals and Supports

Government of Canada Resources

Other Business Resources

On May 25, the Government of Canada announced the launch of a 4-week hotline known as the Business Resilience Service. This service will be open to businesses in need of financial planning advice to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The hotline is a national, bilingual service operated by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Small business owners with financial needs can call 1-866-989-1080 (toll-free) seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET).