Administrative Monetary Penalties: Fact Sheet

Canada has one of the safest food systems in the world. A strong food safety system maintains consumer confidence and is the foundation of market access, which allows Canadian businesses to compete and invest in even better food safety outcomes.

To maintain and strengthen food safety, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) uses a wide range of enforcement tools to encourage industry to comply with federal food regulations and, when necessary, to respond to non-compliance that could put Canadians at risk or damage Canada's international reputation.

Industry and consumers have both indicated that they want CFIA to deal effectively and consistently with instances of non-compliance. CFIA may issue administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) as notices of violation with warning or financial penalty, depending on the nature of the violation.

Why is CFIA expanding the use of AMPs across the entire food sector?

CFIA has a mandate to safeguard food, animals and plants that enhance the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy. Canadians and international trading partners need to know that food is safe and that regulations are being followed. Having a comprehensive and consistent set of tools to enforce compliance strengthens CFIA's ability to protect public health and facilitate market access for Canadian businesses.

Previously, in the food sector, AMPs could only be used for certain commodities, leaving a gap in the enforcement tools available to the Agency. By expanding the use of AMPs across the entire food sector, CFIA will have access to a consistent and comprehensive set of tools to enforce requirements for all food available to Canadians.

How will CFIA ensure that AMPs are used consistently across the country?

CFIA's updated Compliance and Enforcement Policy outlines how it will conduct enforcement, including the application of AMPs in a consistent, fair and transparent manner. Detailed operational guidance and procedures are posted on our website to help CFIA staff and industry understand regulatory requirements. Deeper understanding helps provide greater clarity, consistency, predictability, and transparency in the use of compliance and enforcement actions across CFIA's regulatory mandate.

When are AMPs used?

CFIA has the flexibility and authority to select the appropriate enforcement actions based on risk and the nature of the non-compliance. Gravity of non-compliance is determined by considering the potential or actual harm associated with the non-compliance, the compliance history of the regulated party, and the intent associated with the non-compliance. These factors also help determine whether an AMP is issued as a notice of violation with warning or with financial penalty.

Regulated parties are responsible for understanding and complying with regulatory requirements. More information is available in the Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

Can an individual receive an AMP?

AMPs can be issued to an individual or to a company.

What are the penalties?

AMPs can be issued as a notice of violation with warning or with financial penalty.

AMPs with financial penalty to individuals can range from $500 to $1,300.

Violations committed in the course of business or in order to obtain a financial benefit can result in financial penalties ranging from $1,300 for minor violations to $15,000 for very serious violations.

How often are AMPs used?

AMPs are issued when necessary. The number of AMPs issued varies from year to year. The Agency currently publishes quarterly reports on the number of AMPs issued in animal transportation, animal identification, health of animals, feed restrictions, and plant protection. In the near future the Agency will be publishing information on AMPs issued across all food sectors.

Can regulated parties challenge an AMP?

A regulated party that has been issued a Notice of Violation with warning may request a review of the facts of the violation before the Minister or the Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal.

Regulated parties issued a Notice of Violation with penalty have four options:

  1. Pay the penalty. Payment made within 15 days after the day on which an AMP is served (delivered) results in the penalty amount being reduced by 50%
  2. For penalties of at least $2,000, request to enter into a compliance agreement with the Government to nullify, in whole or in part, the penalty and replace it with an agreement to spend up to double the penalty amount on corrective actions to ensure future compliance
  3. Seek recourse by requesting a review of the facts of the violation before the Minister
  4. Seek recourse by requesting a review of the facts of the violation at the Canadian Agricultural Review Tribunal

What is a compliance agreement?

On receiving a Notice of Violation with penalty of at least $2,000, a regulated party may request to enter into a compliance agreement with CFIA. A compliance agreement offers the regulated party the opportunity to address the non-compliance by investing up to $2 for every penalty dollar into a solution that would resolve the non-compliance issue and prevent recurrence. For example, the regulated party could invest into setting up processes, training or purchasing equipment that prevents non-compliance in the future.

The regulated party must submit a detailed proposal to be evaluated by CFIA. If both parties agree to the proposed approach and implementation date, the compliance agreement is drawn up and signed by both parties, which becomes a legal and binding agreement under the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act.

CFIA conducts a follow-up inspection to determine if the conditions of the compliance agreement are in place and working by the implementation date. If so, the penalty is reduced by the amount of the investment (outlined in the agreement). If not, the penalty amount is doubled.

It is important to note that the reduction of the penalty amount resulting from a compliance agreement, even if the penalty amount is reduced to zero, does not erase the violation from the regulated party's compliance history. The violation stays on record, which is used when reviewing the compliance history of a regulated party for a period of five years.

Will CFIA publish names of companies that receive AMPs?

The Government of Canada is committed to openness and transparency, which includes sharing information about companies that do not comply with federal food safety rules. As part of that ongoing commitment, information about AMPs issued by CFIA will be published in the near future on CFIA's website.

What is the timeline for implementation of the amendments?

The regulations are in force immediately upon registration of the amended AAAMP Regulations in Canada Gazette, Part II.

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