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Government of Canada finances a trade certification program for micro and small food enterprises

By Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada   


November 9, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

To help our smallest agricultural businesses further expand into grocery and food services, the Government of Canada is supporting the creation of a certification program that will allow businesses to meet specific trade requirements. 

The $336,858 investment, announced by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, will support GS1 Canada, a not-for-profit association, to develop training tailored to small and micro food enterprises. The project includes learning modules and a virtual portal of resources specifically for them.

GS1 Canada plans to equip at least 200 businesses across Canada with the knowledge, tools and experience they need to prepare for trade with different sectors, including the grocery sector, distribution and food services.

Completion of the certification program will provide micro and small enterprises (MSE) with access to other services provided by GS1 Canada for one year. A key component of this subscription for MSEs is ensuring their products have licensed GS1 barcodes, which are required by many Canadian retailers and distributors, as well as access to online tools to share quality, bilingual product data with trading partners. GS1 barcodes are a global standard and play an important role in supply chains and traceability.

Small businesses are the heart of our local communities and engines of Canada’s economy. Supporting the development of trade knowledge and breaking down barriers will help them grow and contribute even more to the economic development of their region and our country.


“This new certification program will help small and micro businesses in the food sector meet key industry and regulatory requirements and learn essential information about trade and export. This will help these businesses to access new opportunities and strengthen our economy.”

  • The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“We are proud to be partnering with government to launch the Trade Certification Program, providing much-needed support, knowledge and resources for small businesses getting ready for trade. As a neutral, not-for-profit organization, we are committed to helping small businesses successfully bring their products to market. Through our role as a trusted, strategic partner, this robust education program has been developed to help small businesses meet Canadian trading partner requirements, including understanding the importance of unique product identification, bar-coding, data quality and GS1 supply chain standards.”

  • Kelly Asghar, Acting President, GS1 Canada

Quick Facts

  • In its Fall Economic Statement 2022, the Government of Canada released its plan to continue its sound stewardship of the economy, make life more affordable, and build an economy that works for everyone.
  • As of December 2020, there were 1.22 million employer businesses in Canada. Of these, 1.2 million (97.9 per cent) were small businesses. Micro-enterprises (1-4 employees) make up 55.3 per cent of Canadian businesses.
  • GS1 Canada is a neutral, not-for-profit association that collaborates with industry to develop standards, education and non-proprietary, industry-directed solutions to benefit businesses of all size. GS1’s scale and reach—local member organizations in 116 countries, over two million user companies and six billion transactions every day—help ensure a common language of business around the world to support healthy global supply chains and improve efficiency, safety, sustainability and visibility.
  • The funding announced today is provided through the AgriAssurance Program: National Industry Association (NIA) Component, which funds projects at the national level to help industry develop and adopt systems, standards and tools to support health and safety claims about Canadian agricultural and agri-food products.
  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a $3 billion, five-year (2018-2023) investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector.

Additional Links

AgriAssurance Program: National Industry Association Component
GS1 Canada
GS1 Canada Trade Certification Program
Fall Economic Statement 2022


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