2011-2012 Departmental Performance Report
Minister's Message

The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Privy Councillor, Member of Parliament

The Honourable Gerry Ritz, PC, MP
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

I am pleased to present the Performance Report 2011–12 for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). It outlines the Agency's wide range of achievements in helping to ensure that Canada has a safe and accessible food supply and plant and animal resource base. The CFIA works within the Agriculture Portfolio team to tackle the agriculture sector's challenges, while helping the sector to capitalize on its tremendous potential for growth and future profitability.

In protecting both consumers and the interests of Canadian industry; the CFIA continues to address the challenges of a complex and ever-changing food safety landscape and to respond to emerging animal and plant health risks. This is thanks in large measure to its highly trained and adaptive workforce that is supported by effective training and improved tools. The Government of Canada has taken important steps to help ensure the CFIA's continued capacity to deal with the complexities associated with the protection of food safety and to support the ongoing evolution of Canada's world class food safety system.

So that we may maintain the quality of our food safety system into the future, there is a need to strengthen and modernize the legislation on which it is based. That is why the Government recently tabled, in Parliament, the Safe Food for Canadians Act. This legislation, once enacted, will: improve food safety oversight to better protect consumers; streamline and strengthen legislative authorities; and enhance international market opportunities for Canadian industry.

Further, Budget 2012 made an additional investment in food safety of $51.2 million over the next two years for Listeriosis. Resources to support increased frequency of food inspections in meat processing plants was also extended as part of Budget 2012 and will be added to the Agency's budget later in the year. Investments in Canada's food safety system such as these continue to help the CFIA modernize its inspection system, update its program frameworks, and strengthen its relationship with Canadians, industry, and international stakeholders. The Government is also pursuing complementary activities to strengthen Canada's food safety system, including plans to streamline and accelerate the process by which foods are regulated.

To follow through on its commitment for action in protecting consumers and the food they eat, the Government published the final progress report on its work to address the recommendations found in the Report of the Independent Investigator into the 2008 Listeriosis Outbreak. Every recommendation has been acted upon and completed.

From an industry perspective, the CFIA continued to support Canadian agricultural and agri-food businesses' ability to access domestic and global markets. More specifically, as a key partner in the Market Access Secretariat, the CFIA actively participated in the resolution of 47 technical market access issues thereby helping to facilitate international trade in Canadian food products, animals and plants, and their products.

The CFIA also took steps in 2011–12 to strengthen communication and interaction between the Agency, consumers, producers, and the entire value chain. By defining and publishing its Statement of Rights and Service, developing user fee standards and launching a new Complaints and Appeals Office, the CFIA has provided consumers and businesses alike with a more transparent and accessible way to learn what they can expect in terms of service and to register complaints and appeals regarding CFIA's decisions or service quality. These were foundational steps towards strengthening interaction with our regulated parties, stakeholders, and partners.

All of this contributes to better health, safety and economic outcomes for Canadians.

The Honourable Gerry Ritz, PC, MP
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

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