Canadian Food Inspection Agency and United States Food and Drug Administration
Regulatory Partnership Statement

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) intend to continue to advance regulatory cooperation activities under the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Forward Plan. In meeting the key elements of the Joint Forward Plan, CFIA the FDA have agreed:

  • to use their annual senior level governance structure to identify short, medium and long term priorities;
  • that stakeholders will have several opportunities to provide input binationally and engage with FDA and CFIA senior leadership and technical staff on medium and long term priorities as part of the binational annual work planning process;
  • incorporate an annual binational opportunity for discussions with stakeholders on priorities to inform senior officials on regulatory alignment priorities and provide input on future work.

The following describes how CFIA and FDA are working together to identify areas of mutual regulatory interest and benefit. These discussions are not consultations that occur as part of established national consultation processes related to rule making, but are ongoing regulatory discussions that will seek opportunities for possible convergence in the short, medium and long terms.

The RCC Joint Forward Plan sets out commitments for Canadian and U.S. regulatory departments and agencies to establish high-level governance structures; opportunities for stakeholders to provide input, inform strategies, identify priorities and discuss progress on the implementation of initiatives as appropriate; and a mechanism for annual reviews of work plans to consider adjustments and provide status updates on the progress.

CFIA and FDA will leverage a 2003 confidentiality commitment, which allows each agency to legally share non-public information regarding products they regulate as part of their cooperative enforcement or cooperative regulatory activities, in order to further support effective communication and collaboration under RCC.

Governance Structure

The two organizations will use their existing annual senior level Joint Committee on Food Safety (JCFS) meeting which is co-chaired by the CFIA's Vice President of Policy and Programs, FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Food and Veterinary Medicine, or their designees, along with Health Canada and supported by senior technical managers, as the forum to discuss progress on the food safety work plan and to identify short, medium and long term priorities, as appropriate.

These discussions will identify areas for regulatory cooperation over a period of approximately 3 years. If additional opportunities are mutually identified, the senior technical managers will revise the existing work plan to capture any new activities in support of the RCC initiative and establish technical engagement if necessary.

Work Plans

CFIA and FDA have established an annual work-planning process, led by senior officials to review the food safety work plan and engage in priority setting with the aim of achieving mutual regulatory goals. As appropriate, stakeholders will also be provided updates on progress against work plan activities and expected to provide input to technical officials on annual work plan priorities.

Currently, we collaborate under RCC to advance work under the following commitment area:

Food Safety

CFIA, FDA and Health Canada will finalize the assessment of each other's food safety system (excluding meat, poultry and egg products) and establish a food safety systems recognition arrangement based on the results. The exchange of food safety information will be increased to help both countries make informed risk-based regulatory decisions. As CFIA and FDA implement their modernized food safety rules and regulations, they will work together to ensure that their systems deliver comparable public health outcomes and reduce unnecessary duplication wherever possible.

Work plans will be reviewed annually and uploaded on the U.S. RCC website, CFIA's website and Canada's RCC site.

Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholders have several opportunities to provide input binationally and engage with FDA and CFIA senior leadership and technical staff on RCC priorities and annual work plans. In cases where there are established effective binational structures, such as existing stakeholder events, they will be used to engage stakeholders and advance regulators work, as appropriate.

Stakeholders can provide information on significant industry and consumer trends and associated implications for regulatory systems. The agencies will utilize, but are not limited to the following stakeholder events: public meetings and hearings, stakeholder dialogues with industry and consumer groups, Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) implementation outreach activities and the RCC annual stakeholder event. Work-planning inputs should be specific and include ideas for their implementation. In most instances, stakeholders will receive appropriate notification in advance of the meetings.

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