Transparency in Regulatory Decision Making

Table of Contents

Transparency in Regulatory Decision Making; Policy Framework

1. Effective Date

1.1 This policy takes effect on April 1st, 2013.

2. Context

2.1 The Government of Canada is committed to making information available to Canadians on a proactive and ongoing basis in an effort to share knowledge and ensure accountability. Canadians expect the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to deliver its mandate in a manner that is transparent, and regulated parties want to be fully informed of their regulatory responsibilities. CFIA's activities and decisions related to food safety, plant and animal health have a direct affect on the lives and businesses of Canadians.

The reputation and credibility of the CFIA are vital to its ability to deliver its mandate. As such, the CFIA is committed to being accountable in how it does business in part by informing stakeholders and the public of its regulatory activities and decisions and reporting publicly on its performance.

3. Policy Statement

3.1 The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is committed to being as transparent as possible and will proactively provide the public with useful and timely information on CFIA regulatory programs and services, regulatory requirements, and the outcomes of its enforcement actions and decisions.

4. Policy Objective

4.1 The objectives of the policy are:

  1. To better inform stakeholders of all CFIA regulatory programs, services and requirements;
  2. To affirm visible accountability for CFIA's regulatory programs and services; and,
  3. To enhance public confidence in Canada's regulatory system for food safety, animal health and plant protection.

5. Guiding Principles

5.1 The CFIA has an important role as an information collector, producer, developer, disseminator and analyzer. In these roles, the CFIA's actions and decisions taken under the policy are grounded in the CFIA's Statement of Values and Ethics. As such, when information is posted it will reflect scientific rigour and will be underpinned by professional and technical competence.

The following additional principles apply to the public release of information:

  1. Usefulness – The CFIA will provide relevant and practical information that supports informed decision making on the part of the public and regulated parties and information that may be used as a tool to generate compliance.
  2. Clarity – Information will be presented in clear objective language in a manner which is easily understood by the public. Rationales for regulatory decisions will be provided, detailing how and why a decision was made.
  3. Timeliness – Information will be provided early enough to preserve the value of the information.
  4. Accessibility – Information will be made available in both official languages in formats which are clear and accessible to all parties affected or interested, with no requirement of registration.
  5. AccountabilityCFIA recognizes its role as a steward of a considerable amount of information, some of which is third party information. As such, this information will be treated with responsibility and integrity while simultaneously protecting the laws governing confidentiality.

6. Application

6.1 The policy applies to all CFIA regulatory programs and services, except for those that fall within the “Exceptions” category outlined below.

The information provided on CFIA program requirements, activities and decisions would be of interest to:

  1. Consumers and representative consumer associations;
  2. Regulated parties and representative industry associations;
  3. Academia and non-governmental organizations;
  4. Federal institutions, provincial and municipal governments; and,
  5. Foreign governments, international organizations.

7. Exceptions

7.1 This policy does not apply to information subject to valid privacy, security or privilege limitations. This includes the Privacy Act, Access to Information Act, as well as common law relating to confidential business information.

8. Monitoring

8.1 The CFIA will review this policy, including an evaluation of achieving the policy objectives, as part of the Agency's five year evaluation plan. The timing of this review is subject to the policy's rank when considering all areas of risk or significance within the CFIA.

If you have questions or comments regarding this policy, you can contact us by email:

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