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The Can-Trace Traceability Self-Assessment Tool is designed to help determine your company’s current level of capability to trace a product throughout the supply chain.

Its intent is to provide your company with direction on what information may be required to collect, keep, share in the case of an adverse event such as a food recall.

The final assessment reached will be based on the Can-Trace Food Traceability Data Standard version 2.0 that was developed by Canadian industry in collaboration with regulatory agencies such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

It is important to note that the results of this tool are not all encompassing and do not ensure food safety. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of all participants within the food supply chain to establish other processes and systems to ensure food quality and safety measures (such as HACCP certification) are met.


You will be asked questions related to your company’s use of technology and adherence to existing data standards. This will allow you to assess your current capabilities to electronically transact business information with your trading partners.

There are four primary roles or “actors” that have been identified in the Can-Trace Traceability Self-Assessment Tool:

  1. Primary producer (grower, farmer, etc.)
  2. Processor (packer, re-packer, processor, manufacturer)
  3. Wholesale/distributor (wholesaler, distributor, broker)
  4. Retail store/foodservice operator

It is recognized that there may be other intermediary actors but you should select the closest role from the identified actors.

There are four sections contained in this tool. The first section will ask basic questions related to your business. The second will address your basic traceability knowledge. The third section covers the basic elements of traceability in the context of basic business processes including procurement, receiving, shipping, and the final section will address best practices.

Based upon your responses to the questions, you will be given a score that you can use to assess your capabilities and rates your company against the industry benchmark (which is based on the Can-Trace and global traceability standards). Each question is weighted, as certain capabilities are more fundamental to an effective traceability program.


No information will be captured or retained by GS1 Canada other than your basic company information included in the first section. No company information, personal contact information or the responses will be retained to protect your privacy. This tool is provided simply for your own use as a diagnostic tool.

Traceability Overview

  • Traceability is the ability to trace the history, application or location of that which is under consideration. Traceability has two components: tracking and tracing.
    • Tracking: is the capability to follow the path of a specified unit and/or lot of trade items downstream through the supply chain as it moves between trading partners.
    • Tracing: is the capability to identify the origin of a particular unit located within the supply chain by reference to records held upstream in the supply chain.
      • Supply Chain: is a set of approaches utilized to efficiently integrate suppliers and clients (comprised of stores, food service, retailers, wholesalers, warehouses, distributors, manufacturers and primary producers) so food and food products are produced and distributed in the correct quantities, to the correct locations, and at the right time, in order to minimize system wide costs while satisfying service level requirements.
  • The Three Basic Elements of Traceability:
    • Product, Party and Location Identification: Fundamental to tracking and tracing a product for full chain traceability is that every food component harvested from farm or sea and through every stage of its transformation/packaging to a finished consumer product must be uniquely identified at each stage of transformation or possession – and that these identifiers be linked.
    • Recording of Information: Effective traceability requires standardizing the information that needs to be recorded through each step of the food production and distribution chain.
    • Linking of Information: To ensure the continuity of the flow of traceability information, each partner must pass on information about the identified lot or product group to the next partner in the production chain, or alternatively, to a central data base or registry where information can be retrieved when necessary.


One-Up/One-Down Traceability Model

The current Can-Trace Canadian Food Traceability Data Standard (CFTDS) version 2.0 supports a one-up-one-down model for traceability and therefore stipulates that data must be “collected, kept and shared” by all the participants in the food supply chain to accomplish this.

  • “Collect” refers to a participant in the food supply chain obtaining the relevant data from their trading partner in the food supply chain.
  • “Keep” refers to a participant in the food supply chain keeping/storing and maintaining the relevant data.
  • “Share” refers to a participant in the food supply providing the relevant data to their trading partner in the food supply chain.
  • Collect Data: The data that the participants in the supply chain are required to obtain from the relevant member of the supply chain.
  • Keep Data: The information that each participant in the supply chain is required to record and maintain in their business records.
  • Share Data: The information that each participant in the supply chain is required to provide to the relevant member of the supply chain.


The CFTDS addresses information flowing from the primary producer end of the supply chain up to delivery to the back door of the retail or foodservice operation. The store shelf or end consumer is beyond the scope of the CFTDS.

Produce Traceability Self-Assessment Tool

Traceability does not relate to food safety directly but the ability to identify, isolate and recall product(s) in the case of an adverse event. Most companies will indicate that they have some traceability capabilities.

Traceability Readiness
Step 1 – Basic Organization Information

The first section covers basic organization information. Keep in mind that the only information that will be collected is your type of business, size and province. This is not a questionnaire but a self-assessment tool.

Select your company’s size (in number of employees):

1 to 10 employees
11 to 50 employees
51 to 100 employees
101 to 500 employees
500+ employees

In what province/territory are you located?

Select a supply chain role that best describes your company:

Note: Based on the scope of Can-Trace if you are a Primary Producer you are considered the first participant in the supply chain with no previous trading partners. The scope of the assessment does not include the acquisition of raw materials such as fertilizer.

Primary Producer (Grower)
Processor (Packer, Re-packer, Shipper)
Wholesaler or Distributor
Retail/Store or Foodservice Operator