Chief Food Safety Officer, Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Plant Health Officer for Canada
Canada has a strong food safety system founded on sound science and aligned with international standards.
The Chief Food Safety Officer (CFSO) plays a key role in ensuring our food safety activities benefit from the latest science and continue to contribute to the health of Canadians and to Canada's overall economic performance.
The Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) provides national leadership to ensure that Canada's animal and veterinary public health infrastructure is positioned to effectively manage current and emerging disease threats in order to protect animal and human health.
The Chief Plant Health Officer (CPHO) plays a key leadership role in the policies related to plant health in Canada at the domestic and international level.
Chief Food Safety Officer / Delegate to OIE
On March 29, 2013, Dr. Martine Dubuc of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) was appointed Canada's new delegate to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
Dr. Dubuc joined the CFIA in 2008, as the Vice President of the Agency's Science Branch. She has also held the position of Chief Food Safety Officer for Canada since September 2012.
Through these roles, Dr. Dubuc:
- provides expert advice to food safety program design and regulatory policy development in Canada;
- ensures the required scientific capacity is in place to support an efficient and effective regulatory regime that protects human, animal and plant health as well as the environment;
- is responsible for the CFIA's animal, food and plant laboratory network.
Prior to joining the CFIA, Dr. Dubuc worked at senior levels in the Quebec government, where she was responsible for animal health and food safety programs. In 2006, she was awarded the Prix Mérite for her contribution to the provincial public service.
Dr. Dubuc holds a doctorate of veterinary medicine from the University of Montreal.
The CFSO will provide expert advice to food safety program design and regulatory policy development in Canada which takes into account evolving and emerging food safety risks, global trends and best practices. The position also provides executive leadership in collaboration with Canada's Chief Public Health Officer in the management of national and international food safety emergencies.
Chief Veterinary Officer
Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar was appointed to the position of Associate Vice-President, Operations, on June 25, 2015. He also holds the position of Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) for Canada. He joined the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in 2002 as a Senior Animal Biotechnology Policy Specialist.
He has since held a number of senior-level positions within the CFIA, including Executive Director of the Animal Health Directorate, Executive Director of Operations Strategies and Delivery, and Executive Director of Western Area Operations.
Dr. Kochhar joined the CFIA from the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College where he was an assistant professor with research interests in animal biotechnology. He also worked as a veterinarian in private practice prior to joining the CFIA.
Dr. Kochhar is a veterinarian by training with a Master's degree in Veterinary Science and a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in biotechnology. He is an expert on animal biotechnology for the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and has worked internationally with such organizations as the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
As CVO, Dr. Kochhar leads Canada's efforts to effectively manage current and emerging disease threats in order to protect animal and human health, and to maintain international trust in Canada's inspection and certification systems in support of market access.
Chief Plant Health Officer
Darlene Blair, Director of the CFIA's Plant Protection Division, was appointed Chief Plant Health Officer for the CFIA in November 2015.
Ms. Blair has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture and a Master of Science degree in Crop Physiology, both from the University of Guelph. She joined the CFIA from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada when the CFIA was formed in 1997. During her career with the CFIA, Ms. Blair has served as National Manager of the Fertilizer Section, Director of the Ontario Plant Program Network, Director of Policy Research Division, Director of Program Policy Integration Division, and Director of the Plant Production Division (which has included the Seed, Fertilizer, Plant Biosafety, Plant Breeders' Rights, and Grains and Oilseeds programs). This varied experience, with its focus on building strong relationships and responsive programs, has prepared Ms. Blair well for her current role.
In her role as Chief Plant Health Officer, Ms. Blair is responsible for domestic and import policies related to the protection of plants, crops and forests from regulated pests and diseases, and for export-related plant health policies.
Ms. Blair is also the CFIA's lead plant protection representative internationally. This work involves bilateral negotiations with key trading partners to improve market access opportunities, and representing Canada at the International Plant Protection Convention, the North American Plant Protection Organization, and other international venues.
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