Food Program Framework
Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- 1.0 Introduction
- 2.0 Purpose
- 3.0 Guiding Principles
- 4.0 Operating Environment
- 5.0 Legal Authorities
- 6.0 Food Program Elements
- 7.0 Foundational Elements To Support Program Design
- 8.0 Emergency Planning/Response
- 9.0 Annexes
- Annex A: Food Program Logic Model
- Annex B: CFIA's Program Policy Universe (April 2014)
- Annex C: Roles and Responsibilities
- Annex D: Governance
- Annex E: Planned Spending For The Food Program 2014/15
List of Acronyms
- Agriculture and Agrifood Canada
- Alternative Service Delivery
- Canada Border Services Agency
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency
- Emergency Response Plan
- Food and Agriculture Organisation
- Food and Drugs Act
- Food and Drug Regulations
- Food Illness Outbreak Response Protocol
- Food Program Framework
- Federal, Provincial, Territorial
- Food Safety Emergency Response Functional Plan
- Food Safety Recognition Program
- Health Canada
- High Profile Issue
- Incident Command System
- International Organization for Standardization
- Information Management/Information Technology
- Inspection Verification Team
- Memorandum of Understanding
- Preventive Control Plan
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations
- World Trade Organisation
The objective of this document is to outline the framework for the Food Program in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). It highlights for all food stakeholders, including consumers, industry, and governments, the core elements and key principles of an effective food control system.
The passage of the Safe Food for Canadians Act, in November 2012 sets the stage for important changes to the regulation of the food system in Canada. This new Act consolidates three different food inspection Acts and their corresponding regulations (and eight different programs) along with the food provisions from the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act into one overarching law. This enables the CFIA to apply consistent regulatory requirements and inspection approaches across all regulated food commodities and results in a legislative foundation for food consisting of two (2) federal statutes – the Food and Drugs Act and the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA).
This Food Program Framework applies to all food commodities regulated under these two statutes and impacts food commodities and their ingredients that are domestically prepared, imported and/or exported.
This Framework is designed to function within the existing resources of the CFIA with scalable activities based on risk and resource availability.
This framework will be reviewed and updated every five years (or sooner if necessary) in line with the legislated five year review of the SFCAFootnote 1 . Any changes will be documented in the Document Control section.
Any comments or questions on this framework can be directed to:
Strategic Partnerships Division
1400 Merivale Road, Tower 1
Floor 6, suite 218
Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9
Attn: Food Program Framework
This document is intended to be read as if the SFCA is in force. It is expected that the SFCA will be brought into force once the Regulations under that Act are in place.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) Food Program Framework describes how the CFIA establishes the requirements that control food and the way in which it uses its resources to produce the most effective impact.
The Framework is intended to provide stakeholders, ranging from industry and associations, to consumers and international regulatory bodies, as well as CFIA personnel, with a clear and transparent outline of the various activities related to food in a single resource.
- describes the guiding principles and operating environment of the Food Program;
- provides the legal authorities to control food;
- defines the elements of the Food Program, including obligations and how risk informs activities;
- outlines the policy universe in which the Food Program operates;
- identifies the roles and responsibilities of the various partners in the food supply;
- explains the governance employed by the CFIA within the Food Program; and
- details the planned spending for the current fiscal year.
The Food Program is guided by four basic principles: 1) accountability, 2) consistency, 3) sound science, and 4) transparency. The environment in which the Food Program operates is rapidly changing and is complex. Globalization of the food supply, advances in production methodology, and in science and technology, and the modernization of international approaches to food safety are all challenging the way in which the CFIA operates.
The legislative framework for the Food Program consists of the following statutes: the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) and the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA). The FDA and its regulations apply to all food sold in Canada, establishing health and safety requirements, compositional standards, and prohibitions relating to misleading or deceptive labelling, packaging, treating, processing, selling, and advertising. The SFCA applies to food commodities, providing for their inspection, safety, labelling, and advertising; as well as for their import, export and interprovincial trade. In addition, the SFCA defines the standards for food commodities and the establishments where certain activities are performed, and the licensing requirements for those who perform specific activities. The SFCA also provides for prohibitions against food commodity tampering (or threats to tamper).
The Food Program is built on the premise of risk-based oversight. Specifically, the Agency's activities are based on analyzing the risk associated with a particular issue and responding appropriately to manage the risk. This process starts with risk assessment – the potential harm a particular issue or incident could cause and the likelihood of it occurring. Thus, the greater the harm and likelihood of it happening, the higher the risk and the more resources the Agency allocates to managing the risk. Risk relates not only to food safety or human health, but also covers other corporate risks such as those to the economy (i.e. trade implications, fraudulent practices) and the effects on the strategic priorities of both the government of Canada and the CFIA.
Once the risk is understood, the CFIA then determines the most appropriate response to managing the risk: from working with foreign trading partners to manage the risk before the product arrives in Canada, to working with the domestic industry and associations to promote compliance. Other types of response could include carrying out inspections at regulated parties, conducting surveillance activities such as surveys and product sampling, requesting regulated parties to remove unsafe product from the distribution system, or not taking any action, if the risk is low or negligible.
To support the risk-based approach, there are several foundational elements for the Food Program:
- Risk intelligence provides the Agency with information on uncertainties within the food supply and can inform risk management activities.
- The CFIA values the opinions and perspectives of the stakeholders who are affected by the CFIA's decisions and is committed to engaging and being transparent with all affected and interested stakeholders.
- The CFIA has a suite of policies that promote consistency and that guide the development and design of the Food Program (e.g. Domestic, Import and Export Program Design Policies, Compliance Promotion Policy, Transparency Policy, Cost Recovery Policy). Annex B of the Framework outlines the policy universe.
- The CFIA values competent and qualified staff and is committed to the professional development of its employees by supporting learning and development programs.
- Robust and integrated information management and modern technology is a foundational element of the Food Program that supports analysis for continuous improvement.
- The CFIA is committed to continuous improvement and uses a documented review mechanism to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the Food Program.
The CFIA also develops and exercises emergency plans which provide an effective and efficient response to food emergencies. These plans outline the CFIA's responsibilities, the actions to take during an emergency, and how it uses the Incident Command System in responding to emergencies.
Finally, the Framework provides a logic model for the Food Program, as well as the roles and responsibilities for the various organizations within the CFIA, the governance employed by the CFIA, and the funding for the Food Program for 2014–15.
Mitigating risks to food safety is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA's) highest priority. Safeguarding the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy is the driving force behind the design and development of the CFIA's programs. CFIA, in collaboration and partnership with industry, consumers, and federal, provincial and municipal organizations, works to protect Canadians from preventable health risks related to food and zoonotic diseases. The CFIA also supports Canadian agriculture and the ability of agri-food businessesFootnote 2 to enter and compete successfully in domestic and global markets.
To meet these objectives, the CFIA develops and enforces regulatory and program frameworks for domestically produced food as well as imported and exported food that meet both Canadian and international requirements. Regulatory and program frameworks are based on the most current and relevant information, and keep pace with a rapidly evolving, global environment. The CFIA also engages in outreach and consultation activities with key stakeholders and partners (including those in industry), consumers, other governments, and international trade and standards organizations. In so doing, the CFIA maintains open and transparent communication with its stakeholder and consultative groups, which is a key priority in maintaining world class approaches to food safety in Canada.
Within the food context, the CFIA develops and delivers oversight and regulatory responses to:
- prevent and manage food safety risks for both domestically prepared and imported food products,
- contribute to consumer protection and marketplace fairness and
- contribute to market access for domestically prepared food products.
The CFIA's Food Program is the plan that articulates how the CFIA will achieve its objectives related to food while the Food Program Framework provides the foundations upon which the food program is built and is the basis for an integrated and comprehensive program design.
The Framework is intended to provide stakeholders from industry and associations to consumers and international regulatory bodies as well as CFIA personnel with a clear and transparent outline of the various activities related to food in a single resource. The framework:
- describes the guiding principles and operating environment of the food program,
- the authorities and obligations of the CFIA and of regulated parties,
- the elements of the food program including the risk-based approach,
- provides a logic model for the food program,
- outlines the policy universe in which the food program operates,
- delineates the roles and responsibilities of the various partners in the food supply,
- outlines the governance employed by the CFIA within the food program and
- details the planned spending on the program.
3.0 Guiding Principles
This Food Program Framework (FPF) is founded on the following guiding principles:
A number of key players have a role in the food control system:
- Industry is responsible
- for the safety of their products
- to have processes in place to identify and effectively manage identified hazards and
- for marketing food products in a truthful manner.
- establishes control requirements
- implements verification strategies
- takes the necessary action in the case of non-compliance and
- maintains and revises regulatory requirements.;
- Consumers play a legitimate and responsible role in safe food handling practices in the home and in making good food choices.
The Food Program Framework is:
- applicable along the entire food continuum and across all food commodities;
- consistent with international obligations and standard setting bodies (e.g., Codex Alimentarius);
- consistent with and respectful of CFIA's values and related principles;
- based on recognized quality management principles and systems
The Food Program Framework is based on the best available science and assessment of risks.
In line with the CFIA's Transparency Policy, the Food Program Framework is developed jointly with CFIA's partners and stakeholders through open and transparent consultation.
4.0 Operating Environment
The environment for food and agricultural production and distribution has changed rapidly in recent years. Global supply chains have fundamentally changed the way in which food is produced, processed, packaged, distributed, stored and sold. The resulting increase in production speed, volume and diversity of products has challenged regulatory systems worldwide.
Advances in science such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and food processing technology are similarly challenging regulatory agencies to respond. Emerging pathogens and diseases will continue to affect the regulatory landscape. Canada and its trading partners are undertaking modernization initiatives to address challenges that affect the global food supply and ultimately, the Canadian food supply.
Food safety incidents in recent years, both internationally and domestically, have heightened consumers' awareness of food risks resulting in heightened standards for safe food. Consumers are more connected than ever before and expectations are rising for safer foods and accurate labelling. The shifting consumer landscape – aging population, diversity and increased access to information – is affecting the way the food environment operates and demanding more accountability by industry for the food they make and transparency from the Government of Canada.
The approach to delivering food safety outcomes in the international arena is shifting as well. The international standard setting body for food safety, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, promotes the use of systems-based approaches as an effective means of delivering food safety outcomes. A systems-based approach means that those who have the primary responsibility for the safety of the food they prepare or sell – that is, food producers, processors and importers – implement preventive programs to identify and control food safety risks. Globally, it is recognized that the wider use of preventive and systems-based approaches to manage risk delivers better food safety outcomes.
5.0 Legal Authorities
The statutes and regulations noted in sections 5.2 to 5.4 provide the legal framework within which the CFIA operates and establishes the legal obligations with which food companies must comply. The CFIA's role is to ensure that this framework remains relevant and effective and reflects current science. The CFIA's food program is aimed at verifying compliance with these legal requirements and taking appropriate actions when non-compliance is observed.
5.1 International Standards
The increased globalization of food trade and the mobility of populations has heightened the importance of the international activities under the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Food Standards Programme, in particular those of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex)Footnote 3. The main purposes of this Programme are:
- Protecting the health of consumers and ensuring fair food trading practices and
- Promoting coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations.
The Codex Program in Canada is managed by an interdepartmental Committee consisting of senior officials from HC, the CFIA, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. Canada participates actively in the development of Codex standards and Canadian positions are developed in consultation with stakeholders representing federal and provincial/territorial government departments, consumer groups, industry associations, health care professionals and academia.
Adherence to Codex standards and related texts is voluntary and intended for use by national governments. The WTO encourages its members to base their food safety measures on Codex standards, where they exist, and these texts are used by the WTO as international benchmarks in trade disputes. It is Government of Canada policy to use international standards if they meet our regulatory objectives, i.e. where those standards and guidelines would achieve Canada's appropriate level of protection or fulfil a legitimate objective.
The CFIA also negotiates and enters into arrangements for the implementation of technical requirements for the international movement of commodities, negotiating export certificates and seeking recognition of Canada's system to facilitate access to foreign markets.
5.2 Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act (CFIA Act) provides the foundation for the creation of the CFIA, and describes the responsibilities, organization, resources, powers, and reporting framework of the Agency. The CFIA Act recognizes the responsibility of the Minister of Health for establishing policies and standards relating to the safety and nutritional quality of food sold in Canada and the responsibility for the overall direction of the CFIA was given to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food. However, under an Order in Council approved in October 2013, the overall direction of the CFIA was transferred to the Minister of Health. This transfer means that the powers included in the CFIA Act, such as the power to set fees or order a recall, now reside with the Minister of Health.
The CFIA is responsible for enforcing the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) as it relates to public health, safety or nutrition as well as the administration and enforcement of all other provisions of the FDA (as it relates to food).
5.3 Food and Drugs Act and Food and Drug Regulations
The Food and Drugs Act (FDA) applies to all foodsFootnote 4 sold in Canada, including both imported and domestically manufactured products at all levels of trade (interprovincial and intra-provincial). The FDA and its regulations, the Food and Drug Regulations, establish health and safety requirements for the sale of food in Canada, compositional standards for food and prohibitions relating to misleading or deceptive labelling, packaging, treating, processing, selling and advertising regarding food.
5.4 Safe Food for Canadians Act and RegulationsFootnote 5
The Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) applies to food commoditiesFootnote 6 and provides for:
- their inspection, safety, labelling and advertising,
- their import, export, interprovincial trade
- the establishment of standards for the food commodities and the establishments where certain activities are performed
- the registration or licensing of persons who perform certain activities
The SFCA also establishes prohibitions against:
- the importation of a food commodity, the sale of which would be prohibited under section 4 of the FDA,
- the sale of a food commodity subject to a recall order under section 19(1) of the CFIA Act,
- the misleading or deceptive manufacturing, preparing, labelling, packaging, importing, selling and advertising of a food commodity
- the tampering of, or threat to tamper with, any food commodity, including its package and label
- the movement of a food commodity from one province to another or the import or export of a prescribed food commodity unless the person is licensed to do so.
5.5 User Fees/Cost Recovery
The CFIA's Cost Recovery Policy and Framework, states that it is CFIA policy to charge a user fee for services that provide the service recipient with direct benefits beyond those received by the general public.
The objectives of the cost recovery policy are:
- to encourage effective and responsive service delivery;
- to promote a fair and consistent approach to program funding;
- to foster an understanding that user fees may be charged for:
- services provided by the Agency,
- the use of facilities provided by the Agency, or
- products, rights and privileges provided by the Agency; and
- to inform service recipients about the requirements of the User Fees Act, the Treasury Board Policy on Service Standards for External Fees, and the Treasury Board's Guide to Costing and the Guide to Establishing the Level of Cost-Based User Fee or Regulatory Charge. This last document lays out how calculate a user fee.
The framework will promote a consistent and robust approach to determining individual fees for services across Agency programs.
6.0 Food Program Elements
The food program first establishes legal requirements that regulated parties must respect and which are designed to control food risks. The program then designs the approaches to ensuring that food safety risks are managed by deploying inspection, sampling, surveillance, and other resources. Figure 1 below outlines the various elements of the Food Program.
6.1 Obligations of Regulated Parties
Using the authorities outlined in section 5.0 above, the regulatory requirements that apply to the food industry are composed of four key elements related to:
- the identification of regulated parties,
- food safety and other regulatory requirements,
- preventive control plans, and
- commodity specific obligations.
Knowing who is doing what in the domain of imported and exported food as well as food that is prepared and sent from one province or territory to another is an important foundational element of the food program design. Under the SFCA, most regulated parties who prepare food commodities for inter-provincial trade or for export, and those who import food commodities require a licence issued by the CFIA. Licensing is a tool in the food safety regime that allows the Minister to authorize a regulated party to conduct an activity and, where relevant, attach specific conditions to the activities.
Regulated parties have the option of applying for a licence per establishment or per activity, or a single licence which would cover all of their operations in multiple establishments and/or multiple activities. If a single licence is issued for multiple establishments or activities, the suspension and cancellation of the licence would affect all of the establishments and/or activities subject to the licence. Once issued, licences are valid for a two year period and a fee will apply to obtain and renew a licence. A licence application or renewal may be refused if the applicant has not met the requirements of the SFCA and it regulations, has provided false and misleading information, or has outstanding unpaid fees.
From the licensing information, the CFIA would also issue establishment numbers for the purpose of risk-based oversight and in order to facilitate continued trade with foreign countries.
License holders and regulated parties are responsible for complying with all legislative requirements set out in the Food and Drugs Act and in the Safe Food for Canadians Act. This includes both food safety and non food safety requirements.
6.1.2 Food Safety and Other Regulatory Requirements
Food safety and other regulatory requirements apply to all foods sold in Canada as well as food commodities that are traded inter-provincially or internationally. Depending on the nature of the operation, the regulatory requirements are based on some or all of the following elements which would need to be addressed by regulated parties:
- Process and product controls for both food safety hazards and other regulatory requirements
- Sanitation and pest control
- Employee hygiene and training
- Equipment design and maintenance
- Physical structure and maintenance of the establishment
- Receiving, transportation and storage
- Traceability, recall and complaints
6.1.3 Preventive Control Plans
In most cases, a licence holder will be required to prepare, keep and maintain a Preventive Control Plan (PCP) demonstrating how all regulatory requirements are being met. This includes both the requirements in the SFCA and the FDA.
Licence holders and other regulated parties are responsible for:
- putting in place programs and measures to ensure compliance with food safety and other regulatory requirements such as:
- compositional standards
- net quantity
- label declarations etc.
- monitoring and controlling their operations,
- correcting any deviations as they occur, and
- maintaining ongoing compliance.
Licence holders would also be required to notify the CFIA immediately when they have reason to believe that a non-compliant product that could have a potential impact on human health has entered the Canadian marketplace.
6.1.4 Commodity Specific requirements
In addition to regulatory requirements that apply to all food, additional requirements may be applied to specific commodities. For example, requirements for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry are tailored to address the need for controls that are specific to those commodities that are not captured in horizontal food safety requirements.
6.2 Approach to Oversight
The CFIA's food program is designed to:
- better manage risk through risk-based decision-making
- direct resources to the areas of highest risk across all food commodities
- provide a strong policy foundation to support the food program
- promote compliance with regulatory requirements
- implement predicable and transparent regulatory response when necessary
- support market access in international trade
To meet these objectives, the CFIA takes a risk-based approach to oversight of the food industry and to the identification of activities to mitigate risk.
6.2.1 Risk-based Oversight
In order to make sound and defendable risk management decisions and to effectively manage resources, the Food Program has adopted an integrated approach based on riskFootnote 7. This approach involves two distinct but related activities; risk assessment and risk management. Although distinct, these two activities are inter-related and share the responsibility for developing options to address identified or potential risks.
Figure 2 below outlines the risk-based approach.
6.2.2 Risk Assessment
The output of risk assessment is risk characterization. In order to characterize a risk, the risk assessors collect and analyze scientific data to produce a hazard identification and exposure assessment. Risk assessment is conducted to generate credible, objective, realistic and balanced analysis. In order to provide a level of confidence, the risk assessment should delineate the uncertainties and assumptions and outline the impact of these factors on the assessment. The risk assessment should not provide any decisions on the acceptability of the risk level or identify activities or actions to reduce the risk.
The CFIA is developing a Risk Assessment Model to conduct risk assessments related to licence holders. This provides a consistent and structured approach to analyzing food safety risks related to food and providing risk assessment results (a determination of the food safety risk of a licence holder) to inform risk management decisions. In order to determine the food safety risk, the model takes into account several sources of information including:
- commodity/commodity type
- volume of production/shipment
- intended end use of the commodity
- environmental scanning, foresight and intelligence
- knowledge of the process/system/other interventions used to produce, process or market the commodity
- preventive control plan assessment
- country of origin of the commodity and the ingredients
- compliance history of the establishment/industry
6.2.3 Risk Management
Risk management is the integration of risk characterization with other non-scientific considerations to make regulatory decisions. The output of risk management is an overall risk determination and the identification of activities to address the risk. In the CFIA's food program, some of the considerations that are assessed in arriving at an appropriate risk management response may be:
- the impact on market accessibility
- the impact on the economy
- the strategic priorities and direction of the government
- legal implications
- implementation of private certification schemes
- audit or recognition by external standards organizations (e.g. ISO)
- foreign country assessments
The design of the food management approach is no longer commodity based, but is now focused on four distinct functional areas: 1) food safety systems, 2) meat hygiene, 3) import/export, and 4) consumer protection and market fairness.
Private Certification Schemes
Private certification schemes are formal, documented food safety systems developed and administered by the private sector. They prescribe methods to obtain specific objectives and outcomes, and typically involve audits and certification, and in retail oriented schemes, the authorized use of logos that have meaning in the marketplace.
Private certification schemes can play a role in helping to achieve regulatory objectives, provided they are effective, credible and aligned with public policy objectives. While there is no intent to replace regulatory oversight, and while the CFIA will retain its regulatory responsibilities, it is increasingly recognized that certification to private schemes has potential to be used as a factor within risk-based allocation of regulatory resources.
The CFIA is developing a paper on private certification that will guide and inform the use of these schemes within risk management.
6.3 Risk Management Options
To complement the new organizational structure in the food program, CFIA is developing a Risk Management Strategy that documents the principles and the processes that the CFIA uses to best manage risk. The Strategy identifies the inputs required to make an informed decision (i.e. risk assessment results, impacts on the Canadian market, the economy and the environment etc.) and outlines the requirements to document and approve the selected risk management option.
Some of the options that could be applied to manage risk include:
- changes to regulatory requirements,
- development of compliance promotion tools,
- implementation of survey or surveillance plans,
- compliance verification activities,
- development of standards and guidelines, etc.
6.3.1 Compliance, Control and Enforcement
The CFIA is developing a Compliance, Control and Enforcement Policy that will describe the CFIA's vision and approach to:
- facilitating compliance,
- verifying compliance with regulatory requirements,
- controlling risk and
- responding to non-compliance.
The Policy will establish the general principles for applying legislative requirements and describe the strategic context in which the CFIA conducts its regulatory activities. The Policy will also set out the overall approach to compliance promotion, compliance verification, control of risks and enforcement as well as the roles and responsibilities of government and stakeholders. Lastly, the Policy will highlight key criteria that are considered when determining the most appropriate regulatory response.
Compliance promotion is defined as any activity that increases awareness, informs, motivates or changes behaviour, and encourages compliance with a regulatory requirement. The CFIA is developing a Compliance Promotion Strategy to address:
- major changes to food, animal and plant legislation and regulatory approaches (e.g., outcome-based and system-based regulation) under Agency Transformation;
- the unique needs of small and medium-sized operations;
- the need for a consistent and uniform approach to compliance promotion across the Agency; and
- the use of compliance promotion as a risk management tool that allows CFIA to raise awareness where required as part of annual program planning (e.g., target additional communication and outreach efforts where there have been compliance issues).
Compliance promotion should be a collaborative effort in order to be successful. Industry, regulators, third parties and consumers all play a part in securing compliance. Small businesses may be particularly challenged to meet regulatory obligations due to limitations related to human, financial, technical and time resources and a lack of specialized expertise to help them understand and comply with legislative requirements. Small businesses generally rely on information provided by the regulator or industry associations.
The main vehicle for compliance promotion products at the CFIA is the CFIA's website which holds information and links to various documents, references and guidance material. One of the most helpful products is the Guidance Document Repository. The repository provides a single location for all guidance documents for industry. The CFIA has also developed an on-line self-assessment labeling tool which helps producers, manufacturers and retailers create compliant labels.
To assist regulated parties, the CFIA has developed interpretive guidance and model systems. Interpretive guidance provides plain language explanations of regulatory requirements while model systems are processes that have been demonstrated, when applied properly, to achieve the regulatory outcome. Interpretive guidance and model systems related to the food program will be available on the CFIA's website.
Although it is recognized that industry has the ultimate responsibility for producing safe and compliant food, third parties (e.g. non-government organizations, academia and food technology centers) have technical expertise and specialized knowledge relevant to the food sector and can provide services or training tailored to meet industry needs. Industry can also provide leadership by promoting best practices, providing peer support and guidance. The CFIA also plays a role in the generation of compliance through communication with regulated parties and by providing guidance and other tools to generate compliance.
Complementary Voluntary Programs
Licence holders may consider a number of process control, quality or food safety management systems to assist with the development and implementation of their control program. Many of these are based on voluntary international standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization for food safety management systems, audit and certification bodies and accreditation.
The Food Safety Recognition Program (FSRP) is one such voluntary program. It is led by the CFIA with the participation of the provincial and territorial governments and industry. The purpose of the program is to provide a framework to support industry-led food safety systems in order to maintain the confidence of FPT governments, Canadian consumers and Canada's trading partners. Once fully recognized, the industry-led scheme can be accepted as a model system and factored into CFIA risk oversight.
The CFIA uses a consistent approach to verify that regulated parties are in compliance with all regulatory requirements. Compliance activities can take place:
- in a foreign jurisdiction
- at the Canadian border
- at domestic processing facilities or importers' facilities
- throughout the distribution system
- at the point of final sale
The CFIA conducts inspections of regulated parties and inspects/samples products to verify compliance to regulatory requirements using a risk-based approach. Further to an annual priority setting exercise, CFIA resources are targeted to commodities, processes and establishments representing the highest risk to Canadians. Procedures are developed and inspectors are trained to deliver these inspection procedures in a consistent manner. A robust data capture and reporting system is utilized to record inspection findings, provide reports to regulated parties and to enable analysis of the performance of the food oversight system by the CFIA.
Compliance activities can be pro-active or responsive.
A typical inspection consists of:
- Conduct Inspection
- document review
- Communicate Results
- Conduct Follow-up
The CFIA uses a variety of tools to pro-actively verify the compliance of regulated parties and products including establishment and product inspection, surveillance and monitoring, and sampling and testing. These activities are undertaken based on an annual work plan that targets areas of highest risk and is based on the best available science. The work plan and priorities are updated annually to respond to emerging risks and changing priorities.
Compliance verification activities can also be carried out in response to a potential food safety issue and/or non-compliance.
The goal of a responsive inspection is to verify whether or not a food safety hazard or non-compliance exists as well as to determine the nature and extent of the problem. This is to be done in a thorough, consistent and timely manner. Information obtained through the responsive inspection provides the basis for risk assessment and for the development of appropriate risk management strategies to control affected products. Several key activities included in this process are:
- Identify product(s) associated with the incident;
- Obtain a detailed description of the suspect affected product(s);
- Acquire information about the causative agents and their sources;
- Evaluate the affected product(s) for risk;
- Investigate to determine the root cause of the issue;
- Expand the follow-up where it is determined that the issue may affect the safety and/or compliance of other food products.
Response to Non-compliance
When non-compliance is determined, the CFIA takes control action and/or enforcement action that is/are commensurate with the seriousness of the non-compliance. The Food Enforcement Guideline provides structure and guidance in responding to non-compliance.
To ensure greater consistency in decisions and responses, Centres of Expertise will be established to provide a single point of interpretation and advice to inspectors when specific questions arise. Interpretations will be catalogued and distributed so that consistency is achieved in decisions and approaches.
There are a range of tools available to the CFIA to respond to non-compliance including:
- A letter of non-compliance
- Product seizure/detention
- An order to remove a product from Canada
- Licence suspension/cancellation
- Recall order
- Issuance of an administrative monetary penalty (AMP)
Further, enforcement investigations are carried out by the CFIA to gather and secure evidence that may lead to a recommendation for prosecution. An enforcement investigation may involve:
- Obtaining search warrants
- Gathering evidence and protecting continuity of the evidence
- Conducting surveillance
- Interviewing persons and taking statements
Upon completion of the enforcement investigation, a determination will be made whether to recommend prosecution or not to pursue further action.
The CFIA publishes information about enforcement actions on its websiteFootnote 8.
The CFIA undertakes surveillance activities to:
- demonstrate the safety of the food supply,
- inform CFIA activities,
- enable Canadians to make informed decision about the food they eat and
- support Canadian exports and demonstrate to our partners the equivalency of Canada's food safety systems.
Surveillance covers a wide range of activities including targeted inspections, sampling, post-market surveys and other data gathering activities and covers multiple hazards to human health including chemical hazards, microbial hazards (bacteriological and viral) and undeclared allergens.
There are generally four (4) phases in relation to surveillance activities:
The process of gathering risk information, assessing the applicability of the information to the Canadian context, integrating all relevant information with critical evaluation of uncertainties, assessing appropriate approach and determining feasibility (including method availability and enforceability).
- Policy implications
Policy considerations are then applied to the prioritization of activities. This includes consideration of trade obligations, submission of industry data, lack of data (e.g. country of origin when there is an emerging market importing into Canada), issues of particular concerns to consumers, public opinion surveys etc.
The implementation of the surveillance activity.
- Analysis and reporting
Includes the generation of reports to Canadians and the detailed analysis of data to elucidate trends/patterns and areas of uncertainties for inclusion in the prioritization step. Also includes analysis of long term risk management options such as enhanced surveillance, targeted inspection activities, outreach to affected industry sectors and education initiatives for Canadians.
7.0 Foundational Elements to Support Program Design
7.1 Risk Intelligence
The CFIA uses risk intelligence to gather information that will identify uncertainties and inform risk management activities. The CFIA, working with its partners in the food continuum, identifies possible risks to the food system based on the observations of:
- Border authorities
- Domestic stakeholders
- International partners
The CFIA and its partners analyze risk intelligence information and respond accordingly (for example, adjusting risk ratings, conducting targeted surveillance or compliance verification activities).
7.2 Communication and Engagement
In order to develop effective policies and strategies, the CFIA values the perspectives of the stakeholders who are affected by our decisions. Some of these stakeholders include:
- other federal government departments and agencies
- provincial and territorial governments
- international organizations
- other countries
The CFIA has developed a set of values to support effective interactions with these various groups. These values are outlined in the CFIA's Statement of Rights and Service for Producers, Consumers and Other Stakeholders. The CFIA is also developing a Statement of Regulatory Excellence that set out the Agency's commitment to transparency and accountability as it develops regulations and programs. The values and principles in the Statement of Rights and Services include:
- The CFIA will treat stakeholders with respect, professionalism, fairness, and impartiality. The CFIA has developed a series of audience-specific guides to provide stakeholders with a better understanding of:
- their rights when interacting with the CFIA.
- how the CFIA works with its stakeholders.
- the standards of behaviour by which CFIA employees abide.
- how the CFIA reports on its inspection results.
- how to reach the CFIA.
- The CFIA is committed to transparency and openness in its regulatory decision making. This includes clearly outlining regulatory requirements and consequences of non-compliance.
- The CFIA is accessible and provides timely information to all stakeholders whether from regulated parties who need to understand legislative obligations or to consumers who want to take measures to protect themself against risks.
- The CFIA treats its stakeholders fairly, respectfully and courteously. The CFIA's reputation and credibility are vital to the ability to deliver the mandate. As such, the CFIA conducts itself in a way that preserves trust.
- The CFIA is responsive to the needs of consumers and regulated parties. Stakeholder's comments and suggestions represent an opportunity for the CFIA to improve its policies, programs and services. The CFIA is committed to consulting Canadians and other stakeholders to understand their perspectives on significant policy and program issues that impact them. When developing legislative requirements, the CFIA considers the impact on regulated parties, including small businesses.
Consultation ensures the development of good public policy. It supports open, transparent and accountable government. It also supports inclusiveness in the design, implementation and evaluation of public policy, regulation and programming. Consultation supports public confidence in the legitimacy and credibility of government policy and decision making, thereby facilitating the success of government initiatives. For the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the Consultation Policy and Framework outlines an integrated, coordinated and consistent approach to consultation.
The objectives of the Policy are:
- to gather information from stakeholders, including consumers and consumer groups, on policy and program design issues that impact them;
- to take stakeholder views into consideration in the Agency's decision making; and
- to improve transparency and accountability in the Agency's work.
The following nine principles form the foundation of consultation processes. Adhering to these principles will create the conditions necessary for a successful consultation.
Principle 1: Commitment - commit to considering the results of the consultation process in the decision-making process.
Principle 2: Evaluation - evaluate consultations periodically throughout the process and at their conclusion. Evaluate based on objectives set out in the consultation plan, established at the outset.
Principle 3: Timing - organize consultation activities with appropriate timeframes and deadlines to allow participants reasonable time to prepare and provide their input.
Principle 4: Inclusiveness - encourage the participation of the broadest possible range of groups or individuals who have an interest in or who may be affected by decisions resulting from the consultation exercise.
Principle 5: Accessibility- provide equal access to the process, taking into consideration such things as language, physical disability, and socio-economic or regional background.
Principle 6: Clarity - ensure that the objectives and processes of involvement and feedback for consultation activities are clear, so they can be understood by those involved in the consultation process.
Principle 7: Accountability - define the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the consultation process, including who is required to provide information, who will be making decisions throughout the process, and who will be communicating with management and stakeholders.
Principle 8: Coordination - share within the Agency the viewpoints, perspectives, and comments collected during the consultation. Also take into account impacts on, and feedback from, other initiatives.
Principle 9: Transparency - share the results of the consultation with participants in a timely manner, appropriate to the degree of public involvement. This may include sharing a revised consultation document or a summary of comments document.
7.2.2 Complaints and Appeals
The CFIA has a Complaints and Appeals process that allows stakeholders to register complaints and appeals related to quality of service, administrative errors and regulatory decisions. The Office of Complaints and Appeals was launched on April 2, 2012.
Complaints and appeals are generally related to quality of service, administrative errors or regulatory decisions made by CFIA employees.
Complaints and appeals can be made:
- when you are not satisfied with the CFIA's approach;
- when you perceive undue delays; and
- when you disagree with decisions made by the CFIA related to licensing, registration, permits, orders, inspection results, seizure, labelling and other items.
The CFIA takes complaints and appeals very seriously, so these are handled in an efficient and transparent manner. The CFIA uses an incremental process to manage complaints and appeals which is described on the website.
7.3 Policy Suite
The CFIA has a suite of policies to promote consistency and outline the guiding principles regarding the development and design of the program. Annex B includes the full listing of the Agency's policies (both existing and prospective policies). Below, certain policies are described:
7.3.1 Domestic and Import Program Design Policies
The CFIA's is developing Domestic and Import Program Design Policies that provide direction to support consistent and coherent program design while providing some flexibility for unique situations. The policies underscore the regulated party's responsibility to ensure that Canadian requirements are met and clarify the CFIA's role as an oversight body. The policy requires a risk-based approach for designing control measures and compliance verification and is based on the following guiding principles:
- Regulated parties are responsible for ensuring that the foods they prepare or import into Canada meet the requirements of the applicable Acts and regulations.
- The CFIA adopts a consistent risk-based approach to effectively oversee the management of risks posed by regulated party's actions and the foods that they prepare/import.
- The CFIA puts in place measures that are commensurate with the risks posed by regulated party's actions and the foods that they prepare/import.
- CFIA programs respect treaty and international obligations.
- CFIA programs are regularly evaluated and updated to ensure that they are effectively and efficiently overseeing the risks posed by regulated party's actions and the foods that they prepare/import and that programs address the evolving food environment.
7.3.2 Export Program Design Policy
The CFIA's Export Policy is being developed to provide consistency regarding export certification and to outline the approach to export certification for domestically produced commodities. This policy is founded on the premise that export certificates will be issued based on a systems-based oversight rather than lot-specific inspection.
For manufacturers who prepare food commodities for export, the licence requirements may differ depending on the specific situation. In a situation where an exporter requires an export certificate from the CFIA in order to export a food commodity, a written PCP is required in order to obtain the certificate. However, if an export certificate is not required, the exporter must still be licenced and meet the requirements of the regulations and those of the foreign country, but a written PCP is not required.
7.3.3 Foreign Food Safety System Recognition
Where there is experience, knowledge and confidence in an exporting country's oversight, the recognition of foreign food safety systems can be a useful tool to enhance CFIA's risk based allocation of inspection resources. Where appropriate, the CFIA works with regulatory counterparts in other countries to assess the comparability of the foreign country's food safety inspection system in achieving similar public health outcomes. This encourages a systems-based approach to oversight and can reduce the burden on government and industry in establishing and determining compliance with regulatory requirements. The Foreign Food Safety System Recognition Framework outlines the approach that the CFIA follows in establishing system recognition arrangements.
The CFIA, in collaboration with its federal partners, also fosters bilateral relationship with foreign regulatory counterparts. For example, the CFIA maintains bilateral relationship with countries with comparable advanced food safety systems to Canada (e.g. the U.S., the European Union, Australia, and New Zealand) with the objective of sharing information, best practices and promote collaborative approaches, leading to better intelligence and enhanced policy and program design.
7.3.4 Alternative Service Delivery Policy
The CFIA establishes Alternative Service Delivery (ASD) arrangements, when they are feasible and merited, to deliver new programs and services or to transform the delivery of existing programs and services. The CFIA oversees and maintains arrangements to verify that they are effectively achieving desired outcomes and that potential risks are managed. The objectives of the policy are to promote:
- a consistent Agency-wide approach to establishing and overseeing ASD arrangements;
- rigorous analysis of proposed ASD arrangements prior to their establishment; and effective oversight, review and reporting of ASD arrangements.
7.3.5 Incorporation by Reference Policy
The objective of this policy is to describe incorporation by reference as a regulatory drafting tool and the considerations CFIA will assess when deciding when to use the tool. The policy also outlines the protocols CFIA will follow when the tool is used.
7.4 Learning and Training
- values competent, qualified and motivated personnel, whose efforts drive the results of the Agency;
- is committed to professional development; and
- supports learning and development programs that are relevant to the business priorities of the Agency as articulated in the Agency's Learning Policy.
The CFIA's Learning Policy recognizes that the CFIA is a learningFootnote 9 organization which is built around people, their knowledge, know-how, and ability to innovate. This learning policy is one of the key elements required to build and maintain a learning organization.
The CFIA manages all scientific, technical, non-technical and corporate learning through an integrated process to ensure linkages to Agency priorities and to increase efficiencies across the Agency. In addition, the CFIA uses a variety of tools to develop and deliver effective trainingFootnote 10 for its staff. This includes e-learning, traditional classroom training, on-the-job training, mentoring and coaching. These tools can be developed internally or sourced from external providers.
The CFIA has developed a New Hire Orientation Program to expose new employees to:
- the Acts and regulations administered and/or enforced by the CFIA,
- the various activities conducted by the CFIA,
- the various programs within the CFIA
- other essential knowledge needed to begin their career with the CFIA.
Within the HR framework, leadership is a top priority for the CFIA. Seeking and developing successors and leaders is critical to sustaining a highly skilled workforce and is seen as an integral aspect of risk management. To this end, the CFIA has developed a Leadership Development Framework that focuses on strengthening and sustaining strong, visionary leadership to effectively manage change in the CFIA. The framework addresses the need to align leadership and management development with strategic business priorities, thereby ensuring CFIA maintains and develops leaders with requisite competencies to meet present and future challenges. As part of this framework, leadership development roadmaps have been created to guide employees through the competency requirements as they move along the leadership pipeline.
The CFIA has also developed a comprehensive CFIA Learning and Training Architecture Forward Plan (2013-2019) that outlines the training requirements for all inspectors in the CFIA. This includes horizontal and commodity-specific activities and ranges from entry level requirements to leadership requirements. As an inspector moves through their career with the CFIA, they will follow this framework to provide a consistent approach to their learning and training and to ensure that employees are competent and qualified to do their job.
7.5 Information Management and Technology
Robust and integrated information management and technology is a foundational element of the integrated Agency Inspection Model.
The CFIA employs a flexible and scalable information system that provides easy access to complete and reliable information, enabling system and performance reporting as well as process optimization. The CFIA also uses modern IMIT devices for capturing data in the field and ensures that the support of these tools is at the highest standard.
7.6 System Performance
The CFIA utilizes a continuous review mechanism to monitor and evaluate the overall effectiveness of the inspection system and this framework. The CFIA reviews its programs in order to respond to new technologies and processes and to address new and emerging risks and to ensure that resources are being targeted to areas of highest risk.
Establishing key desired outcomes for the system as a whole and measuring performance against them allows the CFIA, regulated parties, and other stakeholders to use the results to adapt, improve, and become more effective at managing risks.
The objectives of the performance measurement system are:
- to assess:
- the effectiveness of the inspection system as part of the broader system;
- whether the regulatory program is risk-oriented and proactive;
- whether the program is delivered as designed, and in a risk-based, consistent, efficient, relevant, and professionally conducted manner;
- whether all participants in the system, including other governing and regulatory bodies, regulated parties, industry representatives and associations, and Canadians are engaging, sharing information, acting responsibly, constructively supporting and remaining confident in the system
- to identify:
- emerging risks; and
- areas for system performance improvement.
To build its approach to measuring system performance, the CFIA developed a Systems Results Model (Figure 3 below) that outlines the relationships between CFIA resources and activities, the key participants who directly influence the system, and the desired outcomes. The Results Model depicts three levels of assessment required to ensure that system performance objectives are met. Based on the information obtained at each level, a comprehensive analysis would be conducted and system improvements would be scheduled and implemented as required, with higher-priority improvements taking precedence.
Monitoring and evaluating performance is a CFIA responsibility. The CFIA has developed key performance indicators and targets to check whether policies, procedures and practices are successful in achieving the desired results. The expectation is that the development of performance information would be iterative and would mature over time.
The CFIA has also implemented Inspection Verification Teams (IVTs). The aim of the IVTs is to verify that the overall food safety system is effective and that food safety rules and standards are consistently and rigorously followed and enforced. IVTs will conduct in-depth assessments of a regulated party's controls and operations, as well as inspection activities. They will conduct unannounced spot checks across the country, selected on the basis of risk and other factors.
7.6.1 Performance Assessment
A variety of sources of data will need to be incorporated into the assessment process to reflect the complex system, the numerous players involved and the wide scope of CFIA responsibilities. Assessments would be focussed both internallyFootnote 11 and externallyFootnote 12 and be either continuous or periodic. Assessment results would be used for:
- learning what works, in what conditions and for whom
- changing activities to solve or avoid mistakes or problems
- correcting the underlying causes behind problematic action
- reporting on our accountabilities, and
- demonstrating transparency regarding our commitment to system performance.
Some examples of current performance assessment tools available include:
- Field Observation – assess internal performance to identify gaps and issues in the effectiveness and quality of service delivery and in national consistency, the level of understanding of responsibilities, and the appropriate identification of non-compliance.
- Quality Management – assesses internal performance by tracking compliance with internal protocols, service standards and expectations.
- Audit – as per the Treasury Board Policy on Internal Audit, conduct periodic internal audits regarding the governance, risk management and controls in place for effective management practices and accountability.
- Evaluation – as per the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation, conduct internal evaluations regarding the relevance and performance of programs, initiatives and policies.
- Surveys – assess internal and external performance by seeking input from CFIA staff, regulated parties and other system stakeholders on the function and quality of the system, the information and tools provided and suggestions for improvement.
8.0 Emergency Planning/Response
Emergency management is a shared responsibility. The CFIA has many critical emergency management responsibilities. However, to be effective, emergency-related activities must be a collaborative effort between all branches in the CFIA, other federal and provincial departments, municipalities, and non-governmental organizations and associations, including the industry, public and international sectors.
The CFIA's Emergency Response Plan (ERP) is a reference tool for CFIA staff having a responsibility for emergency management. Depending on the nature of the emergency, the plan is designed to be used in conjunction with other CFIA Functional Plans, Hazard Specific Plans and Procedures. The purpose of the ERP is to:
- Outline the structure and roles and responsibilities for emergency response.
- Provide a basis for the development of all functional and hazard specific plans.
- Identify the steps for mobilization of emergency response teams and activation of emergency operations centres.
- Provide a training reference for the orientation of employees to emergency management in the CFIA.
The Food Safety Emergency Response Functional Plan (FSERFP) describes the common response functions related to food safety emergencies. In particular, it describes how the Incident Command System (ICS) is used to provide enhanced governance and a management structure when responding to a food safety emergency. The principal objective of the FSERFP is to provide better coordination, more efficient use of resources, and enhanced communication throughout a response.
The purpose of the Food Safety Emergency Response Functional Plan is to:
- Describe how ICS is employed at the CFIA when responding to food safety emergencies or High Profile Incidents (HPIs);
- Enhance co-ordination of activities of the CFIA when responding to a food safety emergency, or HPI involving food;
- Describe the Emergency Response Team structures and the roles and responsibilities of staff fulfilling functions under ICS when responding to food safety emergencies and HPIs; and
- Describe how ICS incorporates the linkages with stakeholders involved in the response to a food safety emergency or HPI. This includes: Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, other federal departments/agencies, Provincial/Territorial/Municipal counterparts, and industry.
CFIA's emergency response team structures are based on the principles of the Incident Command System (ICS). ICS is the combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications operating within a common organizational structure and is designed to assist with the overall emergency response. Its objective is to maximize team efficiency and minimize disruption to normal operating policies and procedures and can be described as a "function" oriented approach to an emergency. ICS can be used for a wide range of emergencies, both mandated and non-mandated, from small to complex incidents, and is capable of expanding or contracting to meet the dynamic needs of any situation. ICS training is required to ensure that all who may become involved in an incident are familiar with the principles of ICS. Several federal, provincial/territorial and industry organizations, including Public Safety Canada have developed emergency response systems based on the principles of ICS (e.g. Federal Emergency Response Plan).
Canada's Foodborne Illness Outbreak Response Protocol (FIORP), which is maintained by the PHAC, is the technical and operational protocol that guides how FPT public health and food safety authorities work together in the investigation and management of national or international food-borne illness outbreaks.
The principles underlying the FIORP are intended to guide the collaboration of the partners to maximize their effectiveness and efficiency during the investigation and response to multi-jurisdictional food-borne illness outbreaks.
- The primary objective of the activities described in the FIORP is to mitigate or contain the effects of a food-borne illness outbreak in a timely and effective manner.
- The FIORP serves as the national reference document to guide the FPT response to outbreaks involving more than one P/T or country.
- Subject to applicable laws governing the sharing of information, the partners recognize that information required to investigate, control, and resolve a food-borne illness outbreak may be exchanged in confidence and in a timely fashion between the partners. This will be done when a food-borne illness outbreak, or food-borne health hazard that could pose a risk to public health, is identified and there is a clear public interest in sharing this information.
- The Outbreak Investigation Coordination Committee established pursuant to this FIORP will serve as the main forum for information-sharing and interpretation, clarification of roles and responsibilities, establishment of response priorities, and the development of communications strategies related to an actual or suspected food-borne illness outbreak.
- Whenever possible, the partners implementing the FIORP will provide assistance, including laboratory support, as requested during an epidemiological investigation or food safety investigation.
- The FIORP is intended to complement agreements and procedures established among the partners. Where memoranda of understanding (MOUs) or other agreements between the partners, regarding food safety surveillance, investigation or control, may exist or are negotiated, these will be shared and respected.
Annex A: Food Program Logic Model
Annex B: CFIA's Program Policy Universe (April 2014)
(Note: policies under development are in italics, *currently being reviewed and updated)
Annex C: Roles and Responsibilities
Food safety and compliance issues may arise anywhere along the food continuum.
Industry/regulated parties have the central role in producing/marketing safe and compliant food in Canada. However, the responsibility for the food safety system in Canada is shared by all levels of government as well as industry/regulated parties and individual consumers.
1.0 Regulated Parties/Industry
Regulated parties/industry is responsible for the safety of their products and for ensuring that they comply with Canada's food standards and regulatory requirements which apply equally to the domestic and imported food sectors.
Regulated parties include individuals, corporations, partnerships or other business associations/organizations carrying out operations in Canada that are subject to Canadian food legislation.
2.0 Government Partners
In October 2013, the CFIA became part of the Canadian government's Health Portfolio. Other organizations in this portfolio include Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission, the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board and Assisted Human Reproduction Canada. This reorganization strengthens Canada's food safety system by bringing all three authorities responsible for food safety under one Minister. This also ensures clear focus, easy collaboration, and timely communication with Canadians when it comes to food safety. This change also further underscores the CFIA's commitment to food safety as a top priority.
The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food continues to be responsible for the CFIA's non food safety agricultural activities, including economic and trade issues, as well as important animal health and plant protection work. The CFIA continues to support the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food in exercising these responsibilities and ensures a continued focus on Government policies, programs, and services that help drive the economic prosperity of Canada's agricultural sector.
The CFIA and other government organizations at the provincial, territorial and municipal levels provide oversight to verify that industry is meeting its regulatory responsibilities and that its products are compliant with applicable food standards and regulations, and take appropriate enforcement action when industry is not compliant. Other federal organizations, including Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), also contribute to the national food safety system.
2.1 The CFIA
The CFIA is dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants, which enhances the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy.
To this end, the CFIA:
- establishes, administers and/or enforces the regulatory requirements that all regulated parties who import or prepare food for sale in Canada must follow
- provides all federal inspection services related to food safety and consumer protection
- enforces the food safety and nutritional quality standards established by Health Canada, and
- participates in foodborne illness outbreak investigations when a food has been identified that may be responsible for the outbreak.
2.1.2 Roles of the various Branches in the CFIA
The following table (Table C1) outlines the roles and responsibilities of the various Branches in the CFIA
|Branch||Roles and Responsibilities|
|Policy and Programs||
|Integrity and Redress Secretariat/Complaints and Appeals Office||
|Information Management and Information Technology||
|Audit and Evaluation||
2.2 Health Canada
Health Canada has the responsibility of establishing national health, safety and nutritional standards for food, and for assessing the CFIA's food safety activities.
Among other roles, the Health Products and Food Branch of Health Canada:
- administers the provisions of the FDA/FDR that relate to public health, safety and nutrition; establishes policies, setting standards and providing advice and information on the safety and nutritional value of food;
- establishes policies, setting standards and providing advice and information on the safety and nutritional value of food;
- conducts health risk assessments and evaluations concerning identified hazards or risks in food, both proactively and in response to specific requests and situations;
- conducts safety assessments on novel and genetically modified food and pre-market assessments of infant formula;
- approves the use of and sets residue limits for veterinary drugs for food-producing animals and the use of and limits for food additives in food
- serves as the national authority for food safety issues at the international level in the development of international standards, guidelines, recommendations, etc. (e.g. WHO, FAO, Codex).
2.3 The Public Health Agency of Canada
The Public Health Agency of Canada's (PHAC) mandate is focused on preventing chronic diseases and responding to public health emergencies and infectious disease outbreaks in collaboration with the provinces and territories.
The PHAC maintains linkages with the CFIA during the course of a foodborne illness outbreak investigation, and advises the CFIA, upon confirmation, of any epidemiological link between the outbreak and a specific food product.
Information or intelligence shared by the PHAC with the CFIA may be used in developing risk management strategies, such as inspection and sampling programs, for targeting higher risk commodities.
2.4 The Canada Border Services Agency
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) ensures the security and prosperity of Canada by managing the access of people and goods to and from Canada. CBSA officers are present at strategic border points and undertake activities to protect the safety of imported goods, including food.
The CFIA liaises with the CBSA during border inspections and takes advantage of the CBSA border lookout process to identify high-risk goods as they enter the country. The two Agencies also share intelligence and information when developing risk management options to address specific situations.
2.5 Agriculture and Agrifood Canada
Agriculture and Agrifood Canada (AAFC) contributes to the sectoral interests of the food industry and assists Canadian farmers and businesses produce the best possible food and agricultural products.
Through program and services, AAFC supports:
- sustainable farming
- business development,
- managing risk, and
- trade and market development.
2.6 Provinces and Territories
Constitutionally, the Provinces and Territories have prime jurisdiction for foods manufactured and sold within their province/territory. However, given that the FDA/FDR and SFCA/R are federal in scope and that most of the provinces/territories do not have parallel legislative requirements, the CFIA and the provinces/territories share jurisdiction for the over-sight of intra-provincial manufacturers. Hence, the CFIA consults with its provincial and territorial counterparts as part of the design and development of risk management strategies for manufacturers who trade solely within a province.
Consumers also have an important role to play in food safety by ensuring that they minimize their own risks through the safe handling and preparation of foods to protect against food-borne illnesses.
4.0 International Trading Partners
The Canadian food supply has become increasingly globalized, with more and more products being imported and exported than ever before resulting in a stronger role for our international trading partners. To ensure a safe food supply and to facilitate trade and market access, the Government of Canada works with our trading partners to conduct assessments of food systems. International trading partners also set import requirements for their own countries as well as provide export requirements for products exported from Canada.
Annex D: Governance
The CFIA, HC, PHAC and AAFC have national accountabilities that directly or indirectly impact the health of Canadians.
In 1999, HC and the CFIA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines their respective roles and responsibilities and establishes principles and mechanisms for an effective working relationship. A "Roles and Responsibilities Framework" details the HC/CFIA responsibilities for each program element of the federal food safety and inspection system. The CFIA has also established MOUs with provincial and territorial counterparts on shared responsibilities, such as inspection activities and food-borne illness investigations.
In 2008Footnote 13, the CFIA, HC and the PHAC signed an MOU to provide the foundation for building a clear understanding of their respective roles and responsibilities as they relate to human health and to provide links across the organizations to improve the design and delivery of integrated health-related solutions.
To support these MOUs, the inter-agency governance was updated in 2009 with the creation of the Committee on Food Safety (CFS). The CFS will continue efforts to facilitate the cooperation and collaboration of the three departments/agencies pursuant to the 2008 MOU. That MOU states that adequate governance will be put into place to support consistent application of this agreement. Accordingly, the CFS will:
- Meet as needed to ensure open and timely communications and effective collaboration between the three organizations;
- Commit their respective delegates to regular communication and collaborative work; and
- Establish the appropriate ad hoc or long term mechanisms to ensure that the principles contained within the MOU are met.
1.0 Federal /Provincial/Territorial Governance
The FPT Regulatory ADM Committee was created in 2005 to provide leadership and strategic advice in the facilitation, development and implementation of coordinated federal/provincial/territorial regulatory and program initiatives. The goal of the Committee is to support Canadian agriculture, to promote protection of public health and to facilitate access to domestic and international markets.
FPT Regulatory ADMs also coordinate activities with the FPT Policy ADMs Committee (led by AAFC) to jointly develop and advance strategic policy and regulatory initiatives for consideration by Deputy Ministers and Ministers.
Three sub-committees report to the Regulatory ADM Committee - the FPT Food Safety Committee (FPTFSC), the Traceability Task Team, and the Council of Chief Veterinary Officers.
The FPTFSC was created from existing food-related FPT committees and is composed of government officials from Health and Agriculture Ministries across Canada enabling it a balanced perspective on food safety issues. The FPTFSC is co-chaired by a federal member and two provincial/territorial members representing the Health and Agriculture Ministries, and it reports to the FPT ADM of Health and of Agriculture. The main goals of the FPTFSC are to:
- coordinate the development of national food safety policy options,
- implement initiatives to achieve national food safety goals and priorities and
- enhance accountability.
2.0 CFIA Internal Governance
Within the CFIA, the Senior Management Committee (SMC) is the senior forum for decision-making and information exchange and provides strategic direction for issues within the exclusive authority of the President.
The SMC is supported by two senior executive committees that provide recommendations and advice - the Policy and Programs Management Committee (PPMC) and the Human Resources and Corporate Management Committee (HRCMC). The functions of these two supporting committees are to:
- discuss and refine proposals that are to be presented to SMC and
- offer advice to functional authorities within their purview
PPMC and HRCMC are further supported by three committees aligned with CFIA's business lines (Animal Health, Plant, Food) and two horizontal committees (International Coordination and Science, Policy and Foresight). These five committees provide fora for representatives from the different Branches to:
- share information
- analyze and build consensus on the proposals intended for SMC decision including annual business plans, resource allocation and policy and management issues,
- provide advice on issues which would benefit from broader consultations.
2.1 Food Business Line Committee
The Food Business Line Committee is accountable for two main areas of responsibility:
- Providing guidance on policy, program and operational items that need to advance through the governance structure for further consideration by the CFIA's senior-executive level committees, and
- Developing planning, reporting and resource allocation proposals that correspond with the business line budget.
The roles and responsibilities of the Food Business Line Committee include:
- Identifying and strategically positioning a business line agenda through the systematic review of legislative and regulatory priorities as well as international considerations such as international agreements or Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs).
- Reviewing items relevant to advancing the business line agenda to ensure sufficient research and analysis have been completed and providing guidance with respect to cross-Agency linkages.
- Providing feedback to ensure issues intended for senior-executive level are appropriately framed for discussion and ultimate decision-making.
- Developing a business line plan that identifies priorities along with resource allocations for integration into an Agency-wide business plan.
- Articulating requirements to enable the successful execution of the business line plan including information technology needs, human resource implications, capital acquisitions, etc.
- Identifying performance measures to assess and monitor progress in relation to the planned priorities and business line deliverables.
- Determining an appropriate sub-committee structure, including membership, to enable the Food Business Line Committee to fulfil its mandate.
2.2 Chief Food Safety Officer
The Chief Food Safety Officer (CFSO) has three broad strategic priorities:
- Driving the development and delivery of a horizontal management agenda for the food production continuum.
On the domestic front, the CFSO will focus on bringing a more comprehensive perspective to food safety. By employing a broad lens inclusive of all components of food production – from seeds and feed, to slaughter and processing – the CFSO will seek to identify where along the food production continuum investments and interventions should be made so that consumers are provided with the highest levels of protection possible while cost effectiveness is achieved.
- Assessing evolving international standards, global trends and best practices shaping food safety approaches
The CFSO will facilitate more international intelligence gathering and sharing to better understand food safety trends, identify emerging risks and incorporate best practices for informed decision making. This perspective will allow the Agency to better orient Canada's food safety system within today's global food production and distribution environment.
- Stewarding the "one health" convergence of human, animal and ecosystem health
In recognition of the fact that the health of humans, animals and ecosystems are intimately linked, the CFSO will, as an advocate for "one health," forge more collaboration between veterinarians, physicians, and other scientific-health related disciplines. The ultimate goal of this holistic perspective will be to ensure that Government efforts to protect public safety, the environment and animals are coordinated, complementary and synergistic.
To further enhance governance and oversight for high profile or complex food safety issues, the CFIA has created the Senior Food Safety Committee (SFSC). Reporting directly to the President, chaired by the CFSO and comprised of the Executive Vice-President and Branch heads, the SFSC will meet bi-annually to provide strategic advice on the management of food safety issues and incidents. The SFSC may also be convened during time sensitive and high profile incidents or events to provide recommendations to the President, and support and direction to the implicated areas.
Annex E: Planned Spending for the Food Program 2014/15Footnote 14
Planned Spending for the Food Safety Program decreases by $35.0 million and 192 FTEs from 2014–15 to 2016–17. The major items contributing to this decrease are:
- Sunsetting of resources for initiatives under various programs. The Agency will assess the level of resources required for sunsetting initiatives and seek renewal as required to maintain and continuously improve Canada's strong food safety system.
- The Agency re-profiled Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan resources from 2013–14 to 2014–15, relating to the implementation of the Licence Management System, a core component of a licensing regime for food importers. As this re-profile is for one year only, these resources are not included in the 2015–16 and 2016–17 Planned Spending amounts.
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