2017-18 Departmental Plan
Operating context: conditions affecting our work

The CFIA is responsible for food safety, animal health and plant health, as it relates to the health and well-being of Canadians, the environment and our economy. The Agency shares these responsibilities with various levels of government, industry and other stakeholders with whom it implements safety measures, manages risks, incidents and emergencies. We do this to maintain the safety of and confidence in Canada's high quality food, animal and plant products.

CFIA's key federal partners

  • Health Canada
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Canada Border Services Agency
  • Canadian Grain Commission
  • Public Safety Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Natural Resources Canada, including Canadian Forest Service
  • Global Affairs Canada
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada, including Canadian Wildlife Service

Internal operating environment

Internal Influences

After many years of comprehensive planning, design and engagement, the CFIA will begin implementing a number of major change initiatives. 2016 was identified as a Year of Implementation where the CFIA of the future began to take shape. The CFIA will continue to streamline processes, advance science, and harness innovation to better serve Canadians. These initiatives will continue through to 2020 and beyond.

The following changes are at the heart of our business, how we inspect and regulate, how we provide service, how we design our programs and manage our resources.

  • Safe Food for Canadians Regulations
  • Electronic Service Delivery Platform
  • My CFIA client service portal
  • integrated Agency Inspection Model (iAIM)
  • Client-centric service model and culture
  • Integrated Risk Management
  • Government of Canada new Policy on Results

The CFIA actively works with international partners to develop international science-based standards and to promote the Canadian science-based regulatory system. We also negotiate with foreign trading partners to resolve scientific and technical issues related to food safety and animal and plant health. In this way, we contribute to market access for Canadian food, plants, animals and their products.

At the CFIA, decisions are based on timely, relevant science. Science informs policy development, program design and program delivery. We rely on foresight, advice, risk assessment, attention to international standards, research and development, and testing.

Internally the CFIA's operating environment is shaped by ongoing Agency transformation. To keep up with a rapidly modernizing world, the CFIA will continue to improve its processes, advance our science, and harness innovation to better serve Canadians.

Externally, the CFIA's operating environment is influenced by a number of factors: the global economy, social and environmental changes, and advances in science and technology.

External Influences

The CFIA considers the external factors in its daily operations. Each factor has a different impact as described below.

External operating environment

External Influences

  • Trade and Market Access
  • Increased Consumer Knowledge & Expectation
  • Changing Physical Environment
  • Biotechnology and Genomics
  • Policy and Technology Alignment

Trade and Market Access

There has been a significant increase in volume, variety, and diversity of sources for trade. International trade has drastically changed the way we produce and distribute Canadian food, plants, animals and their products. This increase in volume, sources, diversity and distribution of supply requires greater CFIA oversight in several areas. The CFIA negotiates international rules, advocates for practices that reflect Canada's approaches, supports product safety, and expands or maintains market access for Canadian plant, animal and food products.

Increased Consumer Knowledge & Expectation

Consumers are more aware of diverse product offerings and the accessibility of these products. They also have higher expectations for product information and availability. To respond to these needs, the CFIA has been modernizing its regulations and processes and keeping pace with science and innovation.

Changing Environment

As a result of the changing environment, the potential for different invasive species to thrive could exist. The increase and diversity in trade is also an avenue for new pests to enter Canada. Invasive species, such as insects, plants and diseases that become established in areas which are new to them can be harmful to the environment, economy and the health of plants, animals and humans. The CFIA will continue to improve its detection and control measures to mitigate the impact of these pests on our resources.

Biotechnology and Genomics

Scientific and technological advances, such as biotechnology, genomics and nanotechnology, are leading to new and innovative tools. These tools can help the CFIA build on its strong capacity to anticipate, respond to and mitigate food safety, animal and plant health risks and emergencies. Genomics technologies can significantly reduce the time and costs associated with the detection, isolation, identification and characterization of pests and pathogens. The CFIA will continue to increase its genomics capacity and capabilities for a proactive risk response.

Policy and Technology Alignment

Advances in technology result in new ways of producing and distributing agricultural products. We strive to align our food safety, animal health, and plant resource protection policies and regulations with the prevailing technology to ensure they are more effective. The CFIA will continue to modernize its policies, processes and regulations to ensure they are up-to-date, efficient and in alignment with current technology.

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