Chapter 1 - Introduction to the Meat Programs

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Table of Contents

Annexes

Glossary

AERO
Audit, Evaluation and Risk Oversight Branch
CAC
Codex Alimentarius Commission
CAR
Corrective Action Request
Chief
Chief of a specific Program
CVS
Compliance Verification System
Divisional
By the Meat Programs Division (MPD)
Director
Director of the MPD
ED
Executive Director, Operations
EDO
Area Executive Director, Operations designated by the President of the Agency
FAERS
Food and Agriculture Emergency Response System
FAO
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
FPI
Food Processing Inspector
FPS
Food Processing Supervisor
F/P/T Agreements
Federal / Provincial / Territory agreements
FSEP
Food Safety Enhancement Program
HACCP
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point
IM
Inspection Manager
MIA
Meat Inspection Act
MIR
Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990
MOP
Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures
MPIS
Meat Programs Inspection System
NTI
National Training Initiative
OIE
World Organization for Animal Health
QMS
Quality Management System
OV
Official veterinarian
Registered
Registered under the authority of the MIA and MIR
RIAS
Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement
RD
Regional Director
RVO
Regional Veterinary Officer
SI
Slaughter Inspector
SPS
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement
USDA
United States Department of Agriculture
VIC
Veterinarian in charge
WTO
World Trade Organization

1.0 Introduction

The Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures (MOP) is an administrative and technical manual describing how compliance with the Meat Inspection Act (MIA) and Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990 (MIR) is achieved.

Objectives of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Meat Programs, the roles and responsibilities of CFIA staff, regulated parties (including operators of federally registered establishments) and other stakeholders interested in CFIA Meat Programs are described in this chapter.

This chapter also gives an integrated overview of the CFIA Meat Programs Inspection System (MPIS).

** Please note that the use of Merlin hyperlinks refer to an internal CFIA Intranet site for staff use only.

1.1. Objectives of the CFIA Meat Programs

The portfolio of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food of the Government of Canada includes the CFIA, which is under the direction of the President of the CFIA.

In April 1997, the Parliament of Canada passed the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act creating the CFIA. The CFIA is responsible for the administration and enforcement of laws as described in section 11 of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act, including the current Meat Programs requirements under the MIA and its Regulations.

The CFIA Meat Programs functions with the collaboration of a wide variety of stakeholders. Within this environment of shared responsibilities, the CFIA's top priority is to ensure consumer health and protection through the enforcement of national and international food safety and inspection standards.

At the national level, as part of its regulatory policy development and implementation, CFIA Meat Programs consults all necessary stakeholders such as: producers, processors, consumers, unions, exporters, importers, scientific community and other Federal, Provincial and Territorial authorities.

At the international level, the CFIA participates in the deliberations of major international organizations related to Meat Programs including the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The CFIA also works closely with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), notably in the monitoring of reportable diseases. As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Canada sets standards according to the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement (SPS), which states: "Regulations must be based on science, should be applied only to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health and, should not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate between countries where identical or similar conditions prevail".

International arrangements

Subsection 14(2) of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act says:

In exercising its responsibilities, the Agency may negotiate and enter into arrangements for the implementation of technical requirements for the international movement of products or other things regulated under an Act or provision that the Agency enforces or administers by virtue of section 11.

Contracts and agreements

Subsection 14(1) of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act says:

The Agency may enter into contracts, memoranda of understanding and other agreements with a department or agency of the Government of Canada or the government of a province and with any other person or organization in the name of Her Majesty in right of Canada or in its own name.

The objectives of Meat Programs are to ensure that, under the MIA and Regulations:

  • registration, licensing and operator's control programs produce, pack and store, in an hygienic way, safe and suitable meat products, fairly labelled for the intent to use on Canadian and international markets (and, as necessary, initiate an effective recall of meat products from the market);
  • ante mortem and post mortem examination and inspection of animals and meat products allow sick or otherwise unfit animals and, adulterated or otherwise unsuitable meat products to be identified, removed, segregated and disposed appropriately;
  • standards and identification of edible and non-edible meat products are met;
  • food animals are handled, slaughtered or killed under humane conditions; and
  • meat products are imported under equivalent Canadian standards

Meat Programs activities are aligned with the CFIA Corporate Business Plan and the Report on Plans and Priorities.

1.2. Meat Programs Framework

In order to keep pace with internal and external issues emerging in the CFIA operating environment, CFIA Meat Programs are subjected to regular changes of legislative, regulatory or technical and administrative nature.

The CFIA's Policy and Programs Branch provides oversight and policy direction for the continuous improvement, development and design of effective and efficient, science-based systems, utilizing the technical, scientific analysis expertise of a national network of Meat Programs specialists, as well as experts from other areas, such as Science, International Affairs, Enforcement, Legal, Communication and Human Resource specialists.

Priorities of the CFIA Policy and Programs Branch are to:

  • establish policies and strategic directions in order to advance and support Agency and government priorities;
  • develop and design programs, tools and approaches that enable effective front-line service delivery; and
  • ensure continuous improvement in CFIA program delivery.

Policies and programs keep pace with current science and the evolution of the meat industry.

Minor modifications and interpretations are developed and information is disseminated to internal and external stakeholders expediently.

Major policy changes and extensive new policies take longer to develop as they are subject to a more complex consultation process on a wide variety of issues, which may involve national and international scientific and standard evaluation, risk analysis, following cooperation with other CFIA branches (such as Legal, Laboratories, Operations, Science), as well as a pilot project.

In some cases, a modification may be required that does not allow time for the usual consultation process. Such a need might arise in emergencies involving health, safety or other critical concerns and precautionary principle application.

1.2.1. Meat Inspection Act

The Constitution Act, 1867 distributed the legislative powers of Canada between the Parliament of Canada and the legislature of the Provinces (Part VI, sections 91 to 95). The Legislatures of the Territories exercise legislative authority through delegation from the Parliament of Canada.

Making a new law, whether by obtaining Parliament's assent to a Bill or by making Regulations, is just one of several ways of achieving governmental policy objectives. Acts and Regulations are interdependent and are developed in conjunction with one another. An Act generally sets the regulatory framework and delegates the authority to develop the details and express them in Regulations. When Regulations are developed under an existing Act, care is taken to ensure that they fall within the authority granted by the Act.

The MIA is an Act of Parliament that states the general purpose of the legislation and contains interpretations, prohibitions, regulation-making powers for the governor in council and various administrative provisions, including powers of inspection, seizure, detention and forfeiture.

The MIA also contains penalties for contravening the Act or Regulations and explains the prosecution procedure. The current Act constitutes the legal basis upon which federal meat inspection is carried out in establishments registered under the Act.

The legislation deals with the import, export and inter-provincial trade of meat products, the registration of establishments, the inspection of animals and meat products in registered establishments and the standards for those establishments and for animals slaughtered and meat products prepared.

The current MIA was assented to on May 16, 1985, as S.C. 1985, ch. 17, and is now cited as R.S.C. 1985, C. 25 (1st supp).

Amendments to the MIA fall under the purview of the Minister and are subject to the "Guide to Making Federal Acts and Regulations: Cabinet Directive on Law-Making".

Minor, non-controversial changes to the MIA or its Regulations which do not involve a penalty or financial matters and are not substantive in nature (correction of a spelling mistake or addition of a few words for clarification), are made in an omnibus miscellaneous amendment bill with a simplified procedural process. In all other cases, with respect to legislative amendments, the principle of proportionality is followed; those considered low impact require considerably less analysis and development than those having a high level of impact.

The MIA is officially published in the Canada Gazette, Part III.

1.2.2. Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990

While the MIA states the general purpose of the legislation, the MIR are more detailed and specific as to what is required and what has to be done. The MIR are amended by an Order in Council and replace the former regulations, which came into force on May 14, 1990 (SORS/90-288) and were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on June 6, 1990.

The Government of Canada is committed to creating a performance-based regulatory system that will protect and advance the public interest in the areas of health, safety and security, the quality of the environment, and the social and economic well-being of Canadians. The objectives are:

  • protection of Canadians and their environment;
  • regulation of the economy in the most efficient, timely and cost-effective manner;
  • clear service standards that hold the Government to account for performance;
  • monitoring and reporting on performance to provide pressure for continuing improvement; and
  • ongoing assessment of and adjustment to regulatory approaches to allow for greater cooperation between regulators and orders of government.

The " Cabinet Directive on Streamlining Regulation", developed by the Privy Council Office, came into effect April 1, 2007, and provides guidance to CFIA officials on the regulatory process as well as planning and carrying out effective consultations with stakeholders during the development of regulatory proposals. This directive introduced several key improvements, including a more comprehensive management approach with specific requirements for the development, implementation, evaluation and review of regulations.

The CFIA's Regulatory, Legislative and Economic Affairs have developed a regulatory development guide that assists the CFIA in its goal to maintain a current and responsive regulatory framework through a systematic and holistic approach to the creation and amendment of legislation. The process may be initiated when a problem (excluding miscellaneous and emergency Regulations subject to an expedited process) or need is identified, either internally or externally.

Regulatory initiatives or proposals are published in a draft form in the Canada Gazette, Part I.

This allows those who have been consulted and others who are interested to see exactly what the proposed regulation stipulates. Generally, there is a comment period of 30 days. All draft regulations published in the Canada Gazette, Part I are accompanied by a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS), which describes the initiative and its anticipated impact, giving interested parties a basis for comments. Part II contains regulations that have been enacted as well as other classes of statutory instruments, such as orders in council, orders and proclamations. Each document has an SOR (Statutory Orders and Regulations) number or an SI (Statutory Instrument) number. Please note a list of all recent amendments to regulations that were initiated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Part III contains the most recent public Acts of Parliament (bills) and their enactment proclamations.

For more information about the Canada Gazette, please see the frequently asked questions.

The Department of Justice is responsible for maintaining the Consolidated Acts and Regulations for the Government of Canada.

Please note, as of June 1, 2009, all consolidated Acts and regulations on the Justice Laws Web site are "official", meaning that they can be used for evidentiary purposes.

See a complete listing of all of the Acts and Regulations that the CFIA is responsible for.

1.2.2.1. Exemption of Meat Products Under Paragraph 3(1)(i) of the MIR

(1) The following foods containing a meat product are exempted from the operation of sections 7, 8 and 9 of the MIA:

  1. Pork and beans.
  2. Traditional bakery products including plum pudding (Note: does not include bakery products with a meat topping or filling).
  3. Salad dressings.
  4. Dairy-based dip.
  5. Cheese containing 3% or less of added meat product provided:
    • the meat utilized in the cheese originates from an establishment registered in accordance with the MIR or its foreign equivalent;
    • a statement on the label of the cheese reflects the origin of the meat product, and;
    • the cheese containing the meat product was manufactured in an establishment inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or its foreign equivalent.
  6. Foods, other than meat products, fried in animal fat.
  7. Potato-based foods such as perogies containing not more than 3% meat products.
  8. Flavouring and seasoning preparations.
  9. Fish products in which the only meat product is rendered animal fat.
  10. Capsules, tablets and retail size containers of liquid and powder-concentrates, containing meat or meat by-products, that are intended and labelled for sale as pharmaceuticals or pseudopharmaceuticals rather than as food products.
  11. Foods containing 2% meat product or less other than (g), calculated on the basis of the cooked weight of the meat product.

(2) Mincemeat containing a meat product may be eligible for exemption from the operation of sections 7, 8 and 9 of the MIA.

Applications for exemption from the MIA shall include a label of the product and, on the manufacturer's letterhead, the recipe indicating the percentage of every ingredient used as well as the method of preparation of the product. The request for exemption, along with the relevant documents, shall be addressed to the Meat Programs Division, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 1431 Merivale Rd, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0Y9.

Please note that this letter of exemption does not exempt the holder from requirements under other divisions of the CFIA or other government departments. These products are also regulated by Health Canada through product-specific regulatory programs, which are administered under the authority of the Food and Drugs Act and Food and Drug Regulations and by the CFIA under the Health of Animals Act and Health of Animals Regulations. It is the responsibility of the prospective importer or licensee to be in compliance with any additional import requirements or restrictions associated with the importation or licensing of a commodity for human use. Specific conditions by type of product can be found in the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS).

1.2.2.2. Departmental Consolidations

A departmental consolidation contains all amendments to the Act and Regulations up to the date of the consolidation, providing a ready reference. The warning note on the inside of the front cover of the departmental consolidated copy of the MIA and MIR is a standard warning indicating that the pages are not the official Canada Gazette copy and may contain minor errors. In court proceedings lawyers must use the official version of the Regulations contained in the Canada Gazette, Part II that is, the Regulations made and published in June 1990, plus each separate amendment that has been made and published after that date.

1.2.2.3. Incorporation by Reference in the MIR

Incorporation by reference is a drafting technique that allows the inclusion of other legislative text without reproducing the material word by word within the MIR. The material is not only referenced, it is also incorporated into the Regulations.

The MIR incorporate by reference other applicable legislative and technical documents, including:

  • Federal legislation:
    • Food and Drugs Act and Regulations;
    • Health of Animals Act and Regulations,
    • Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations;
    • Canadian Agricultural Products Act;
    • Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act;
    • Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fees Notice;
    • Meat Products Inspection Fees;
    • Weights and Measures Act;
    • Egg Regulations;
    • Processed Eggs Regulations;
    • Fish Inspection Regulations;
    • Feed Regulations;
    • Pest Control Products Act;
    • Official Languages Act; and
    • Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act.
  • CFIA Manuals:
    • Food Safety Enhancement Program (FSEP) Manual; and
    • Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures (MOP).
  • Other documents:
    • Master Agreement between the Treasury Board and the Public Service Alliance of Canada; and
    • Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals.

As incorporations may be ambulatory (updated on a regular basis by the responsible regulatory authority or another independent authority) readers must ensure that the correct, most up-to-date material is consulted.

1.2.2.4. Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures (MOP) and Directives

The MOP is divided in specific chapters which elaborate on MIR requirements and may include: specifications, classifications, illustrations, graphs, test methods, procedures, operational standards, safety standards, performance standards, criteria relevant to the application of the regulations and examples of how the regulations apply.

Interested parties may order a print copy or may consult an electronic version of the Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures and amending directives.

Meat hygiene directives (MHD) are issued as needed to amend this manual and office consolidations of the MIA and MIR. Each MHD is identified by a number composed of the calendar year followed by a figure indicating the order in which it was issued.

Explanatory or informative memorandums may be issued periodically to provide further details on Meat Programs requirements. They may be incorporated into the MOP at a later date, as appropriate.

The MOP has been designed to promote collaboration of readers and users in reaching Meat Programs objectives. Questions and any suggestions for improvement may be submitted to the Director or otherwise specified in specific chapters of the MOP and other reference materials.

The reader should note that for a complete source of detailed documentation, this manual should be consulted in conjunction with the appropriate legislation, manuals and reference to other complementary materials, such as the Meat Cuts Manual.

1.2.2.5. Meat Cuts Manual

The Meat Cuts Manual provides essential guidance to all stakeholders in complying with "common name" labelling requirements to identify meat cuts (MIR, section 94).

The manual's common names for meat cuts were developed by the CFIA in cooperation with industry, learning institutions, and other government agencies, and must be used in labelling all beef, veal, pork, lamb, and poultry meat cuts.

The definitions enclosed in the Meat Cuts Manual establish limits within which these cut names may be used.

1.2.2.6 Grade Names and Standards for Poultry Carcasses

Poultry grading is optional for operators. Where applicable, requirements to the Canadian Agricultural Products Act, Livestock and Poultry Carcass Grading Regulations are then to be implemented.

The Canadian Poultry Grading Standards Manual provides policy guidance for processed poultry and is used by inspectors to verify compliance.

1.2.2.7. Food Safety Enhancement Program (FSEP) Manual

FSEP is a multi-commodities CFIA program to implement HACCP principles of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

The FSEP manual is essential for operators of federally registered establishments in developing their control programs and HACCP plans, required under MIR sections 29 and 30.1

1.2.2.8 Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals

Recommendations for farm animal welfare are contained in the National Farm Animal Care Council's Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals.

1.3. CFIA Staff

1.3.1. Authority

Under section 13 of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act, the President has the authority to appoint employees, set the terms and conditions of employment and assign duties to them. The President may also designate any person or class of persons as inspectors, analysts, graders, veterinary inspectors or other officers for the enforcement or administration of any act or provision that the agency enforces or administers by virtue of section 11, in respect of any matter referred to in the designation.

The inspector on duty with an identification card has the authority for law enforcement relevant to Meat Programs. CFIA inspectors responsible to deliver the CFIA Meat Programs mandate, derive their regulatory powers from the various Acts that they enforce, such as:

  • the MIA;
  • the Health of Animals Act;
  • the Canada Agricultural Products Act;
  • the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act as it relates to food; and
  • the Food and Drugs Act as it relates to food.

Other legislation may also apply to certain federally registered establishments, depending on the type of operations found within the establishment.

1.3.1.1. Conflict Between CFIA Inspectors and Operators or Their Employees

Situations may arise that have the potential to lead to conflict between an inspector and an operator or a plant employee. It is essential that all parties make every effort to defuse these situations and prevent escalation into something more serious.

To minimize potential conflict situations, both inspectors and operators must be fully aware of their respective roles and responsibilities:

  • In performing their duties, CFIA staff must comply with the requirements of the Treasury Board Secretariat Policy on Legal Assistance and Indemnification.
  • Operators have undertaken, at the time of licensing, the responsibility of maintaining and operating the registered establishment in accordance with the legislation. At the same time, with respect to subsections 13(2) and 14(1) of the MIA, operators are also responsible for the actions and conduct of their employees including compliance to specific instructions and activities under the authority of the CFIA inspector or official veterinarian provided in the MIA and MIR.

While differences of opinion can be positive as parties seek a means towards resolution, to prevent further escalation it is important that mutually agreed upon procedures for conflict resolution be established and adhered to, which includes contact persons at different levels for both parties.

In the event problems arise that do not fall into the category of potential conflict situations listed below, please contact the Regional Director for specific advice as to how to resolve a particular problem; or your Inspection Manager for more detailed information on those identified here.

1.3.1.1.1. Refusal to Carry Out a Legitimate Request

Normally, requests should be channelled through a foreman, but on occasion in emergency situations (food safety, etc.), they may have to be made directly to an employee.

  • Do not argue with an employee.
  • Go away and check your facts.
  • Notify the employee's supervisor.
  • If the refusal is upheld by the supervisor, check your facts again.
  • Inform your own supervisor or Inspection Manager who in turn will contact the operator.
  • If the refusal is upheld at this level, then the matter is to be referred to the Regional Director, who, if unable to resolve the problem, will issue instructions regarding any action to be taken.
  • In every instance, complete documentation of the incident must be prepared and kept on file under CFIA control, with a copy forwarded to the Regional Director.
1.3.1.1.2. Serious Verbal Abuse or Threats
  • Do not respond; keep calm and leave the scene.
  • Notify your supervisor or Inspection Manager, as appropriate, of all relevant facts and of any witnesses to the incident; complete a precise, written report as soon as possible.
  • The contacted supervisor or Inspection Manager is to meet with operator at the earliest opportunity, present the facts to the operator and request, in writing, that appropriate corrective measures will be taken and that recurrences will not be tolerated.
  • If the above written statement cannot be obtained, or if operator itself is involved, the matter is to be referred to the Regional Director, who will issue instructions regarding action to be taken, and will decide if the police should be involved.
  • In every instance, complete documentation of the incident must be prepared and kept on file under CFIA control, with a copy forwarded to the Regional Director.
1.3.1.1.3. Physical Assault
  • Never retaliate, except in self-defence.
  • Seek medical aid if required.
  • Report the incident to the supervisor and Inspection Manager as soon as possible.
  • The Inspection Manager should assess the situation by obtaining the fullest information possible. If it can be determined that the remainder of the CFIA inspection staff is at risk, the Inspection Manager should order their immediate withdrawal to the office. The inspection manager shall also inform the Regional Director of the incident and any action taken.
  • Document all relevant facts and the statements of witnesses as soon as possible.
  • Forward all related documents to the Regional Director.
  • The Regional Director, after having carefully reviewed all information with legal advice, is responsible for contacting operator and, if necessary, the police.
  • If it is found necessary to suspend CFIA inspection services and collect stamps, the CFIA inspection staff should remain in a safe place until advised to return by the Regional Director.
1.3.1.1.4. Damage to Government or Personal Property

All such incidents, together with any relevant information and names of witnesses, are to be reported immediately to the Inspection Manager, who, after consulting with the Regional Director, will decide upon the action to be taken.

1.3.1.1.5. Culpability

It is important to note that the procedures listed above all imply that the fault rests entirely with the operators or their employees. With respect to the MIA, including subsections 13(2) and 14(1), operators who fail to comply may be notified by an inspector of the existence of grounds for suspension of an operator's licence (see Chapter 14 of the MOP).

The above procedures will require modification if it becomes apparent that a CFIA inspector provoked an incident or was equally to blame for an escalation. In these instances, the CFIA may withdraw its support in the event of legal action and the CFIA inspector may be subject to disciplinary action.

1.3.1.2. Provision of CFIA Inspection Services During an Industrial Dispute Involving the Employees Working in a Federally Registered Establishment

The picketing of federally registered establishment premises by striking operator's employees during a legal strike is a legal activity. Its purpose is to advise other employees and clients of the employer that a labour dispute is in progress. Picket lines are also encountered in cases of lock-out.

When picket line activity commences at a worksite, inspectors should report such activity to their immediate supervisor and to the Inspection Manager. Remember, individual pickets may talk to CFIA inspectors in order to persuade them to respect their picket line. Remember, too, that when confronted with such picket line activity, inspectors should not provoke pickets or argue the merits of the situation. Their sole purpose is to report to work and to perform their normal duties, and this may require them to cross a picket line.

However, the CFIA inspector who encounters interference or harassment by pickets at a worksite of a sufficiently serious nature as to arouse concern for his or her personal safety should go to a nearby telephone and report the situation to his or her immediate supervisor or Inspection Manager, and await further instructions.

The Inspection Manager will meet with the operator, union officials and local law enforcement authorities to clearly define the role of the CFIA inspection staff and the necessity of access to the federally registered establishment to provide services.

Agreement should be reached by all parties in the dispute, whereby the following procedure is to be followed:

  • CFIA inspection staff will identify themselves to the strike captain and listen to the captain's request to respect the picket line.
  • CFIA inspection staff are to give a reply of neutrality and non-involvement and the necessity to cross the picket line to report for duty at their work station.
  • The Inspection Manager must be assured of the presence of a law enforcement officer at the picket site for the safety and security of inspection staff.

Until an agreement is reached, CFIA inspection services to the federally registered establishment should be suspended. In some very volatile situations, use of non-resident inspection staff using government cars may be necessary to protect normally assigned staff and defuse a potentially dangerous situation. In other situations, legal strikes at federally registered establishments may result in a suspension of operations, so that daily visits to the federally registered establishment by inspection staff may not be necessary.

1.3.2 Health and Security

CFIA staff working in federally registered establishments are protected under the Canadian Labour Code, Part II and Regulations of Health Canada. For more information contact your area Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) Coordinator and the Occupational Health and Safety website.

Ergonomic studies are sometimes needed and incorporated in the appropriate sections of the MOP, as requirements to provide inspection services.

1.3.3. Training

The Human Resources Branch and Learning Division are responsible for professional and technical development and for issuing and updating the modules contained within the National Meat Hygiene Training Program.

The main objectives of the CFIA Learning Policy are to actively develop knowledge and competencies, encourage lifelong, continuous learning, promote and provide learning opportunities, and ensure training is managed strategically to support CFIA's business objectives.

The National Training Initiative (NTI) is initiated when an evaluation process has determined that a national training need exist due to a major modification to the Meat Program (e.g. new inspection programs, technologies, responsibilities and verification/reporting requirements). Training material is developed under the supervision of the national Meat Programs specialist and train-the-trainer sessions are provided to designated area trainers.

There are a number of commodity-specific inspection programs that require veterinarians and/or inspectors to be certified (e.g. Meat Imports, MPIP, HIP-Swine and HLIS-Beef). Protocols have been created for these programs according to the Guidelines for Creating Staff Certification Protocols.

At the area office level, managers are responsible for implementing the national new employee training program as per the requirements define in Volume 1 - Implementation Guide, professional development (in-house or outside) and updating skills required due to major program modifications. The National Meat Hygiene Training Program: Volume 1 - Implementation Guide is available through the URL indicated below.

Area-specific training sessions such as wet-labs and on-site sessions may be developed at the area office level by the Meat Programs specialist. Targeted "refresher" courses may be provided on-site, as required.

Consult the CFIA National Meat Hygiene Training Program for more information.

1.4. Meat Programs Delivery

The Vice-President Operations Branch, Area Executive Directors and Regional Directors are the main authorities responsible for the implementation of CFIA Meat Programs with operational support from national, area, regional, front-line staff, and additional expertise from Meat Programs, Laboratory, Enforcement, Legal, Communication, Human Resources and Finance specialists.

Front-line delivery service is provided to a large variety of stakeholders and regulated parties, such as other authorities, associations, industries, consumers, importers, exporters, travelers and operators of federally registered establishments. It may also involve, as needed, services integration with other International, Federal, Provincial or Territorial authorities including:

1.4.1. Delivery of Meat Programs Inspection Services in Federally Registered Establishments

In federally registered establishments, Meat Programs front-line delivery services are provided by assigned CFIA inspectors and official veterinarians.

Registered establishments are located in administrative regions under the CFIA supervision of Food Processing Supervisor (FPS), Regional Veterinary Officer (RVO) and Inspection Manager (IM).

The Regional Director (RD) is responsible for the results of the CFIA Meat Programs delivery (outcomes under the performance management framework) in their administrative region and is accountable to the Area Executive Director (ED), Operations.

The Meat Programs activities in federally registered establishments include:

  • registration and inspection of slaughter, processing and storage establishments;
  • delivery and renewal (or conditional) of operator licence;
  • HACCP system and control programs verification;
  • ante and post mortem inspection;
  • sampling and laboratory testing for residues;
  • recipe and labelling registration;
  • fair labelling and recall verification;
  • inspection of imported meat products;
  • inspection of meat products for Canadian and export markets; and
  • exports certification.

In November 2005, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) standards from the Codex Alimentarius Commission incorporated in the CFIA Food Safety Enhancement Program (FSEP) Manual became mandatory in all CFIA registered establishments under the MIR.

The Compliance Verification System (CVS) is a tool developed for CFIA inspection staff to assess operators compliance to regulated requirements for food safety (HACCP), non-food safety (e.g. identification, labelling and animal welfare), export and systems design in an efficient and uniform verification systems approach (more details are available in the MOP Chapter 18).

The CVS is part of the Meat Programs Reform initiative and is designed to:

  • integrate Meat Programs inspection activities (tasks) into one system;
  • highlight regulated party accountability;
  • focus CFIA activities on compliance verification;
  • provide CFIA inspection staff with clearly defined tasks to enhance uniform delivery;
  • verify that the operator's written programs are implemented and effective to meet regulatory requirements; and
  • support the strategic direction of the CFIA business plan to move regulated party and government towards a more science-based risk management system.

1.4.2. Frequency of CFIA Inspection

During scheduled work shifts, the minimal inspection frequency required to ensure appropriate completion of ante mortem inspection, post mortem inspection and CVS tasks in federally registered establishments is as follows:

1.4.2.1. Slaughter activities

Under subsection 128 (2) of the MIR, the Director, Meat Programs determines standards on the number of inspection stations that is required for slaughter activities in federally registered establishments, for every scheduled work shift.

CFIA staffing standards for ante and post mortem stations, examination (operator) and inspection (CFIA), required for slaughter are described under chapters 17 (red meat, ratite) and 19 (poultry, rabbit) of the MOP.

Every establishment which is federally registered for slaughter activities is assigned an official Veterinarian in Charge (VIC) for both ante mortem and post mortem inspection stations (screening and detailed inspection) and for functional supervision of the operator's responsibilities including ante mortem and post mortem examination.

The delivery of Meat Programs in a slaughterhouse complex, in administrative regions, is under the supervision of a Regional Veterinary Officer (RVO) and an Inspection Manager (IM) (see Quality Management System [QMS] under section 1.5.1).

Multiple Inspection Stations

Where multiple inspection stations are required, at least one competent CFIA slaughter inspector (SI) is assigned for ante mortem and post mortem inspection (screening) under functional and line supervision of the VIC. Federally registered establishments with more than one scheduled work shift are assigned additional appropriate CFIA staff (SI, OV) per shift under the supervision of the VIC.

When competent SI are performing such duties an official veterinarian (OV) must be available within a reasonable period to fulfil their specific veterinary tasks (detailed inspection and providing instructions) taking into considerations various risk factors including:

  • animal status (compromised animal, emergency, welfare, behaviour);
  • nature of disease (OIE list A, B, zoonosis, transport under Health of Animal permit or license, distress);
  • contamination (risk of contamination or propagation, residue program, tissue deterioration); and
  • operation (volume, holding capacity, assistance, information, impact on normal operation).

More or less inspection stations may be required based on workload considerations, risk analysis, available facilities or importing countries requirements (specifications in MOP Chapter 11) conditional to subsections 128 (3) to (5) of the MIR.

Under normal conditions, the OV or VIC need not to be present at the time of ante mortem inspection or at all times during post mortem on every inspection station. However, the VIC must regularly satisfy themselves (including QMS activities) that the assigned SI and other OV are carrying out proper ante mortem and post mortem inspection (screening and detailed inspection). This includes supervision of the operator's ante mortem examination and operators authorized under section 29.1 of the MIR to operate a shared inspection program or a post mortem examination program to ensure specific instructions have been followed. This program must also ensure the process is under control with satisfactory results, including information on animals/flocks is available and that indicates no food safety issues, satisfactory health status and that their welfare is ensured (refer to MOP Chapter 19).

Under subsection 67(3) of the MIR, no food animal shall be slaughtered in a federally registered establishment unless the slaughter has been authorized by an assigned SI or an OV [e.g. ante mortem performed on animals within 24 hours, any animal requested by CFIA to be presented for inspection, missing information on animal or flock sheet, held animal, emergency, instructions from an official veterinarian (see scheduled work shift agreement, slaughter, under section 1.4.4.4)].

Where possible, the SI and OV are assigned on a staggered schedule of operations under the supervision of the Inspection Manager (refer to section 1.4.4.3).

CVS tasks are also scheduled for other specific activities related to slaughterhouses.

Note:

  • The CFIA may provide inspection services to establishments operated under Federal / Provincial / Territory agreements (refer to F/P/T agreements).
  • For veterinary meat certification requirements, refer to MOP Chapter 11.

1.4.2.2. Processing activities

Under subsection 128 (1) of the MIR, the Director, Meat Programs, in respect of an establishment federally registered for the processing or packaging and labelling of meat products, determines the minimum number of hours of inspection that is required per year for each scheduled work shift.

The minimum number of hours of inspection to complete the tasks is 390 hours annually. For federally registered establishments with more than one shift, the annual total of 390 hours is spread over all shifts.

Every establishment federally registered for processing activities or packaging and labelling of meat products, on one or more scheduled work shift, is assigned a responsible CFIA food processing inspector (FPI) under functional and line supervision of a food processing supervisor (FPS). In order to complete their tasks during the regular working hours, the number of establishments under the supervision of FPI may vary in each complex of federally registered establishments (meat processing complex). Where preferable, exclusive processing shifts in slaughterhouses may be part of a meat processing complex.

The delivery of Meat Programs in meat processing complexes, in administrative regions, is under the supervision of FPS and an Inspection Manager (IM) (see QMS under section 1.5.1.).

In a HACCP environment, CVS visits for control programs implementation are scheduled in federally registered establishments for processing activities when meat is being worked on or packaging and labelling of meat products occurs, with a frequency appropriate to achieving the objectives of Meat Programs. During the development of visit schedules the following must be considered:

  • the task to be conducted;
  • the risk associated with the operations conducted on each shift:
    • regular working hours in one working shift: an inspector must visit the establishment at least once a week;
    • week-ends: at least one visit each month must occur on Saturday or Sunday; and
    • two (2) or three (3) working shifts: visits must be scheduled to cover all shifts at least once a month;
  • the volume of production conducted on each shift;
  • the establishment history of compliance, including testing, recall; and
  • other available information, tasks or activities.

FPI, or, as required, OV, are assigned for additional visits for other tasks or activities (e.g. HACCP design, sampling, recalls, complaints, import and export operational requests, operational request of overtime, export requirement, investigation). As required, FPI may be part of a team of specialists (e.g. HACCP, Meat Programs, CFIA investigator).

Importing countries requirements may require an increased frequency (for more information on foreign countries specifications see MOP Chapter 11).

Where possible, FPI are assigned on an staggered schedule of operations under the supervision of the Inspection Manager (IM) (refer to section 1.4.4.3).

1.4.2.3. Storage activities

Every establishment federally registered for stand alone storage activities is integrated in a CFIA administrative complex of establishments and, is assigned a responsible CFIA food processing inspector (FPI).

CVS tasks are split over the quarterly period during regular working hours.

Where possible, the FPI is assigned on a staggered schedule of operations under the supervision of the IM (refer to section 1.4.4.3).

1.4.3. Exceptional circumstances

Flexibility in providing reasonable CFIA inspection services in federally registered establishments during exceptional circumstances requires priority consideration.

A government-industry committee has reviewed this matter and has established priorities for inspection coverage in cases of reduced availability of CFIA inspection staff.

In all circumstances, CFIA staff or the operator must contact identified CFIA staff as soon as possible to manage the situation appropriately.

The following should be viewed by managers responsible for operations as a guideline in determining the allocation of inspectors and official veterinarians.

1.4.3.1. First Priority: Animals Already Slaughtered

This section concerns only establishments federally registered for slaughter activities which, under normal conditions, start operations (sticking, dressing) on animals that have undergone an ante mortem inspection in the last 24 hours, before the official veterinarian on duty reports for work (staggered schedule of operations).

As soon as it becomes apparent that the official veterinarian will not be reporting for duty, carcasses from animals already slaughtered should be dressed and then inspected by a CFIA inspector according to standard procedure.

Any carcass and its parts that would normally be held for veterinary diagnosis and disposition should be identified and retained in such a way as to maintain their identity until an official veterinarian has inspected them.

Alternatively, with the authorization of a CFIA inspector, they may be handled as condemned material by the operator, in accordance with paragraph 88. b) of the MIR. Where it is determined by the area executive director (Operations) that some time may elapse before an official veterinarian is available, instructions should be given to refrigerate the carcasses and its parts. In all instances, adequate segregation from meat products already approved for human consumption must be maintained.

1.4.3.2. Second Priority: Humane Considerations

1) The Slaughter and Inspection of Cripples and Downers

These animals are to be slaughtered and inspected without undue delay. If the veterinary inspection is not immediately available, the slaughter and inspection of such animals is to proceed under the auspices of a CFIA inspector who has received oral instructions from an official veterinarian or written instructions in the form of an emergency procedure prepared by the official veterinarian at the federally registered establishment in compliance with subsection 67 (7) of the MIR and BSE Policy in order to prevent any unnecessary animal suffering.

The animals will be disposed of in accordance with the official veterinarian's instructions, which may include being handled as condemned material. The CFIA inspector will conduct a post mortem inspection and record the findings in order to provide information to the official veterinarian, who will in due course undertake the detailed post mortem inspection. All such animals are then to proceed to slaughter. The dressed carcass and all its parts are to be identified and held for subsequent detailed post mortem veterinary inspection and disposition or treated as condemned as outlined in the first priority.

2) The Slaughter and Inspection of Other Animals Already on Premises

In the event that no official veterinarian is available, the slaughter of animals that have already received veterinary ante mortem inspection may proceed in the normal manner. In the case of poultry, the CFIA inspector can authorize the slaughter of birds, if the advanced copy of the flock sheet has been previously reviewed by the OV. The CFIA inspector shall examine other animals, and any lots or individual animals determined by the CFIA inspector or the operator, in accordance with subsection 67 (6) of the MIR, that show deviations from the normal behaviour or appearance, shall be set aside for slaughter at the end of operations, which will permit veterinary inspection before slaughter.

Carcasses screened out on post mortem inspection may be retained in the manner described in the first priority for later veterinary diagnosis and disposition, or may be handled by the operator as condemned material with the authorization of a CFIA inspector, in accordance with paragraph 88 b) of the MIR. In the event that the number of CFIA inspectors available is reduced, slaughter operations shall proceed at a rate compatible with the CFIA inspection staff available. Where found desirable, the official veterinarian may, in writing, permit animals to be removed from the establishment, pursuant to subsection 43 (1) of the MIR.

Taking into account animal health concerns and the type of holding, feeding and watering facilities available at federally registered establishments and the variations among different animals to sustain themselves, CFIA staff must be allocated in a subsidiary priority for the slaughter and inspection of animals already on operator's premises, as follows:

  1. poultry;
  2. hogs;
  3. horses;
  4. small stock (sheep, lambs, goats and calvesFootnote 1); and
  5. cattle.

1.4.3.3. Third Priority: Export Commitments

Meat products derived from animals already slaughtered and approved are to be inspected by available CFIA inspectors and export documents prepared. Export certificates are to be signed by an official veterinarian.

1.4.3.4. Fourth Priority: Unusual Emergency Slaughter Situations

In the event of some disaster (flood, fire, etc.), emergency slaughter of a number of animals may be required. CFIA staff would have to be allocated to accommodate such an occurrence.

In some emergencies, an abnormal situation requires prompt action beyond normal procedures in order to prevent injury or damage to people, livestock, property or the environment. In response to the Emergency Preparedness Act, the Emergencies Act, the National Support Plan and the Federal Policy for Emergencies, the CFIA has taken coordinated action with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Provincial and Territorial departments of Agriculture and other agri-food sector stakeholders within the framework of the Food and Agriculture Emergency Response System (FAERS).

1.4.3.5. Fifth Priority: Restricted Regular Operations

In the event of a prolonged shortage of available CFIA inspection staff, staff allocation would be made to accommodate regular slaughter and processing operations as much as possible.

Shortage of Official Veterinarians:

Scheduling of available official veterinarians would have to mainly take account of ante mortem inspection of screened out animals and delayed final post mortem inspection of held carcasses. These activities are, in turn, dependent on the time of arrival of animals at registered establishments, the geographic location of the establishments, the species involved, and the capacity of the plant to retain heads, organs and dressed carcasses for final veterinary disposition.

Shortage of CFIA Inspectors:

CFIA managers will determine to what extent inspection services can continue to be offered for slaughter and processing activities, largely on the basis of three factors: the speed at which post mortem inspection can be performed, the amount of support that can be provided to inspection staff by operator's employees for technical duties related to inspection functions including the existing authorization to operate a shared inspection program or a post mortem examination program, and the amount of inspection coverage that can be given to critical areas of meat processing operations.

Simultaneous Shortage of Both CFIA Inspectors and Official Veterinarians:

Very little in the way of regular operations will be possible. The CFIA implements a contingency plan to deal with the situation (sanitary emergency, strike, etc.) In this event, priority will have to be given to returning animals already on registered establishment premises to the farms of origin or diversion into alternate slaughter facilities. Great care will have to be paid to the humane handling of cripples, downers, poultry and every effort should be made to accommodate their slaughter on the premises. Export inspection and certification services should be provided where possible, unless instructions to the contrary are received.

1.4.4. CFIA Meat Programs Inspection Fees

The Treasury Board of Canada has published a general policy on fees and cost recovery.

The policy governs how departments and agencies charge fees for services that confer a private benefit.

Sections 24 and 25 of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act give the Minister the authority to set fees for services or facilities provided by the CFIA.

At the international level, the Codex Alimentarius states that the competent authority can enact legislation to charge fees for the provision of services.

The CFIA ensures that its accounts receivable are properly managed in accordance with the Accounts Receivable Management Policy.

The objective of this policy is to ensure that all CFIA accounts receivable are managed fairly, efficiently and effectively in order to allow the CFIA to recover its debts and mitigate its losses.

The administration of this policy is a shared responsibility that is based on coordination between the finance function of the Finance, Administration and Information Technology Branch and the operational components of the CFIA that are responsible for inspection delivery, issuance of registration, etc. The policy describes the roles and responsibilities of the Operations, Policy and Programs, and Science branches, the inspection managers, the regional directors, the Area executive directors and the vice-president.

The CFIA inspector in charge or the official veterinarian ensures that all services provided in registered establishments are billed, indicating the number of additional inspection services provided on an hourly basis, including all services provided in a given month relating to exports, imports, re-inspections, overtime, and testing and analysis. This information is collected using the appropriate forms and is sent to the regional representative, who informs the National Accounts Receivable Service Centre by email at ARCentre@inspection.gc.ca.

The inspection fees applicable to slaughter, processing and storage are set in accordance with scheduled work shift agreements and are subject to a slightly different process (see section 1.4.4.4).

1.4.4.1. Part 10 of the CFIA Fees Notice

This part describes meat product inspection fees.

1.4.4.2. CFIA Fees Notice and overtime

This part addresses:

section 32 of the MIR:

No food animal shall be slaughtered, no carcass dressed and no meat product processed, packaged or labelled in a registered establishment outside the hours of operation agreed to by the President and the operator, unless the slaughtering, dressing, processing, packaging or labelling, as the case may be, is authorized by an inspector.

section 126 of the MIR:

Inspection of a registered establishment and the animals and meat products in it may be carried out outside a scheduled work shift or on a designated paid holiday, if:

(a) the operator of the registered establishment submits a written request to the Executive Director, in a form approved by the Agency;
(b) [Repealed, SOR/2000-183, s. 35]; and
(c) an inspector is available to carry out the inspection.

See the CFIA overtime fees.

If an operator wishes to operate their registered establishment outside a scheduled work shift and an inspector is assigned to the registered establishment, the operator is billed for the overtime hours, i.e., the hours worked by the CFIA employees in excess of their standard hours of work (generally 7.5 hours a day).

For the calculation of overtime, the minimum amount requested does not include the scheduled time spent by the inspector at the establishment or any incurred travel time. The operator must submit their overtime request to the inspector in charge or veterinarian in charge in advance for the purpose of evaluating and planning available resources. Services provided in overtime must also be in accordance with the Authorization of Overtime Policy.

1.4.4.3. Staggering work hours related to inspection

Staggering work hours is a method used by inspection staff under the supervision of the inspection manager to reduce the use of overtime.

Staggered work hours can be appropriate for:

  • inspection stations (staggered operating hours) in a slaughter establishment; or
  • CVS tasks related to other activities carried out in one or more federally registered establishments (meat processing complexes) for one or more scheduled work shifts.

Staggering work hours can be used on a regular or ad hoc basis, provided the CFIA is informed sufficiently in advance to meet the inspection requirements and to ensure the availability of CFIA inspection staff.

1.4.4.4. Scheduled work shift agreement

Under section 29 of the MIR, agreement on a scheduled work shift, as defined in section 125 of the MIR, is one of the conditions for obtaining a licence to operate a registered establishment. This means that the operator and the President (authority delegated to the Regional Director) must agree on a scheduled work shift. The operator submits the proposed schedule to the CFIA inspector in charge or to the veterinarian in charge for approval by the Regional Director.

The scheduled work shift agreement must include details regarding the effective date and changes made to the calculation of fees.

Note 1. Part I: General

The scheduled work shift agreement defines the regular working hours (the time during which services are normally provided by the CFIA employees at a particular service location) for the establishment.

The agreement provides the legal basis for the CFIA and the operator of a registered establishment under the provisions of the MIR with respect to the calculation of prescribed inspection fees.

No amendments, additions or deletions can be made to the relevant clauses of the scheduled work shift agreement forwarded by the Director, Meat Programs Division, to the Executive Directors (Area Operations).

Note 2. Part II: Scheduled work shift, Point 1.

The term of the scheduled work shift agreement shall not exceed the term of the operator's licence. The agreement shall expire prior to or at the same time as the operator's licence, but never after.

Establishment registration is never issued for more than one year and expires on March 31 of each year. However, in certain situations (e.g., seasonal slaughter), establishment registration may be issued for a period of less than one year (expiration on or before March 31). The scheduled work shifts are reviewed annually during the registration renewal process or if the operator requests a change to a previously approved scheduled work shift agreement.

During that period, temporary or permanent changes can be made. For instance, an operator can add/remove/modify a work shift, the hours of operation of the establishment or the nature of its operations. The CFIA inspector in charge or the veterinarian in charge must ensure that the changes:

  • are reflected in the Application for Registration of an Establishment (CFIA/ACIA 3043), the Application for a Licence to Operate a Registered Establishment (CFIA/ACIA 4155) and the Supplement for Application for Registration or Licence of a Registered Establishment (CFIA/ACIA 4198); and
  • maintain the legal status of the scheduled work shift agreement.
Note 3. Part II: Scheduled work shift, Point 2.

The normal days of work are from Monday to Friday. No more than three work shifts (day, evening, night) can be authorized.

Slaughter activities

Under subsection 125(a) of the MIR, a "slaughter shift" cannot exceed 7.5 hours per inspection station in one day or 37.5 hours per inspection station in one work week, excluding meal times. "Slaughter shift" means a work shift during which the ante mortem inspection and slaughter of animals and the post mortem inspection of carcasses is carried out.

Standards respecting the number of stations are set out in Chapter 17 (red meat species, ratites) and Chapter 19 (poultry, rabbit) of the MOP. Additional inspection stations can be approved by the Regional Director under an agreement with the operator on an annual or hourly basis, pursuant to subsections 128(3) and (4) of the MIR.

In the case of a slaughter establishment, the duration of the scheduled work shift is based on the start and completion of the work at each inspection station. The duration of work at a specific station cannot exceed 7.5 hours in one day, excluding meal times. Most of the time, the first 15 minutes of work at the ante mortem inspection station and the last 15 minutes of work at the post-mortem inspection station can be included in the scheduled work shift.

If processing activities are carried out at the same time as or separately from slaughter activities, they are billed for each scheduled work shift agreed upon by the parties.

Processing activities

The implementation of CVS occurs in federally registered establishments who are processing or labelling meat products during approved work shifts.

Under paragraph 125(b)(i) of the MIR, a work shift other than a slaughter shift (i) must not exceed 7.5 hours in one day and 37.5 hours in one work week (excluding meal times) when all or part of the work shift is scheduled before 6:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. or (ii) must not exceed 12 hours when the entire work shift is scheduled between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

The following are examples of scheduled work shifts permitted under paragraph 125(b)(i) of the MIR:

  1. Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 4:00 a.m. to noon (with a 30-minute meal break); or
  2. Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 4:00 p.m. to midnight (with a 30-minute meal break).

Under paragraph 125(b)(ii) of the MIR, a work shift other than a slaughter shift cannot exceed 12 hours when all work is carried out between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

The following are examples of scheduled work shifts that are permitted under 125(b)(ii) of the MIR:

  1. Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; or
  2. Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

For establishments operating for a period exceeding 7.5 hours (excluding meal times) beginning or ending before 6:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m., the total number of hours of operation must be split into at least two scheduled work shifts.

For example, the hours of operation of an establishment operating from Monday to Friday between 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. should be split into at least two scheduled work shifts. One possible option would be to split the period into two shifts, i.e., from 4:00 a.m. to noon (with a 30-minute meal break) and from noon to 8:00 p.m. (with a 30-minute meal break). These two periods would be allowed under paragraph 125(b)(i) of the MIR.

Another example is an establishment that operates from Monday to Friday, from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The hours of operation of this establishment should be split into at least two scheduled work shifts, since no shift can exceed 7.5 hours (excluding meal times) if it begins before 6:00 a.m. or ends after 6:00 p.m. One possible option would be to split the period into two shifts: i.e., from 5:00 a.m. to noon and from noon to 5:00 p.m.

Storage activities

For storage establishments, the hours during which the CFIA provides inspection services (i.e., the scheduled work shift) do not exceed 7.5 hours in one day between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday. The CFIA fee covers only the scheduled work shift, and no other work shift can be assigned.

For a storage establishment, an acceptable scheduled work shift could be Monday to Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (with a 30-minute meal break) or from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (with a 60-minute meal break).

Import and export services and Trichina testing (freezers) remain under the direct responsibility of a CFIA inspector. The delivery of these services can require a large amount of time, and operators must provide the CFIA advance notice of such operational needs. Import and export services provided outside the scheduled work shift are billed in accordance with the overtime policy.

Note 4. Part II: Scheduled work shift, point 3.

Operators must endeavour to prepare shipments for export during core hours and must, in all cases, give the inspector advance notice of the preparation of their shipments. If inspectors must be called back to work because they were not notified in advance of the preparation of shipments before leaving an establishment, the service (specifically, export inspection and certification) may not be provided that day. It is important to bear in mind that, in most processing establishments, the full-time presence of an inspector is not required during operations. In the case of a patrol inspection regime, it is possible that an inspector, although usually present in an establishment every day, may not be present at the precise moment they are needed.

Operators must not count on the presence of a CFIA inspector at a given time or given day if they have not given the inspector advance notice of their specific needs. Overtime hours are billed for all services provided at the request of operators outside the scheduled work shift, as indicated in the overtime fees order.

Note 5. Part II: Scheduled work shift, point 4.

The scheduled work shift agreement is terminated and is null and void starting on the date on which an operator's licence expires, is revoked or is cancelled.

See also section 1.4.3 for a discussion of flexibility with respect to inspection services in exceptional circumstances.

Note 6. Part II: Scheduled work shift, point 5.

Operators must ensure that their establishments are operating in accordance with what was agreed upon with respect to scheduled work shifts, overtime and extended hours.

The scheduled work shift can be modified if necessary and must be reviewed at least once a year, or more often, if the period specified in the Register of Operators is shorter.

Operators must inform the CFIA in writing of their desired changes as soon as they can so that the CFIA can optimize the use of its resources and make the necessary adjustments with the operators. These changes can include:

  • a request for additional inspection stations, pursuant to subsections 128(3) and (4) of the MIR;
  • changes respecting the request for an additional inspection station (see section 17.2 of Chapter 17 of the MOP) to determine the circumstances requiring an additional inspection station);
  • an overtime authorization request, in accordance with section 126 of the MIR;
  • a change to the establishment's operations under subsection 128(5) of the MIR, if one of the following situations arises:
    • a change is made to the establishment's operations in respect of one of the criteria set out in subsections (1) or (2); or
    • an additional inspection station provided under subsection (3) is no longer needed;
  • changes needed to the scheduled work shift agreement; and
  • situations described in subsections 29(3) and 27(4) of the MIR that have an impact on the registration of an establishment or the licence of an operator.

1.4.5. Inspectional Controls

Inspectional controls can be defined as the specific duties of inspection staff set out in the MIA and MIR, such as seizure and detention. These controls are direct in nature, since under the MIR, responsibility for these activities is given to government inspection staff. However, the concept of "inspectional control" is much broader. It encompasses all duties performed by government inspection staff in order to verify that operators of registered establishments are meeting their obligation to comply with all applicable acts, program requirements and standards respecting processed products. To this end, the government inspector conducts regular verifications of the operators' activities in accordance with the Compliance Verification System (CVS) presented in Chapter 18. To perform such verifications and thereby assess compliance, the inspector must have access to all information gathered by the operators, i.e., procedures, programs and reports. The inspector must also observe the activities and procedures in order to assess compliance with written programs as well as the reliability and accuracy of the records. Lastly, the inspector must determine the effectiveness of the operators' procedures in terms of compliance with program requirements and regulations.

If an operator fails to meet the requirements, it is up to the inspector in charge to take measures in accordance with the CVS program.

1.4.5.1. Written reports

Operators of registered establishments are directly responsible for ongoing compliance with applicable legislation and program requirements. Such compliance is one of the key conditions to be met to obtain a licence to operate a registered establishment. To guarantee ongoing compliance, operators themselves must monitor the operations of the establishment to identify non-compliant situations and/or products and to take appropriate corrective action, where necessary.

In order to demonstrate that they control the status of the registered establishment and the activities carried out there, operators must develop written programs and keep records in accordance with the Food Safety Enhancement Program (FSEP). These records must demonstrate that effective monitoring and verification activities have been implemented for all operational aspects of the establishment associated with food safety and with the program requirements. When an irregularity is identified, it must be documented, corrective action must be taken to address the problem, and preventive measures must be adopted to prevent recurrence.

Unless otherwise specified (e.g., requirements of foreign countries), operators must keep all of their processing control records for at least one year following the expiry or "best before" date indicated on the label or container or, if there is no expiry date, for two years following the date of sale by the registered establishment.

Unless otherwise specified, all records and reports produced by the inspector must be kept on the premises for at least two years and subsequently archived for the remainder of the 10-year retention period.

1.4.5.2. Control mechanisms

Inspectional controls are designed to ensure that establishments and meat products remain compliant, or that situations of non-compliance are corrected and properly controlled to ensure that the meat products remain safe and pure. If operators fail to meet their responsibilities and do not take the measures required to ensure full compliance, area, regional or national inspection staff will have to intervene. However, the inspector of the establishment remains the key person, since they have detailed knowledge of the establishment and its activities, a prerequisite to effective inspectional control.

The action to be taken when a meat establishment or meat product is identified as non-compliant is described in detail in the CVS program.

1.4.5.2.1 CVS reports

On completion of an inspection, the findings must be documented in the CVS program.

1.4.5.2.2 Use of detention tags

Detention tags are a means of conducting an inspectional control. Once applied to an object (meat products, parts, equipment, etc.), these tags can be removed only by the inspector or with the inspector's consent. A detention tag affixed to an object indicates that an inspector has identified a particular deficiency and that the deficiency must be corrected by the operator. The object is then subsequently inspected and, if in compliance, released by the inspector.

In order to ensure that the operator does not develop a casual attitude towards detention tags, it is important that detention tags not be used by inspectors for purposes other than those mentioned above. It is also important that the above sequence of events respecting the use of detention tags be followed.

With respect to structures and equipment, detention tags are used to identify items that require some form of corrective action before they can be used, e.g., dirty equipment, a room with severe structural or sanitation deficiencies, etc.

Held tags perform a similar function in the case of meat products and are used to identify deficiencies, such as contamination, improper processing, incorrect labelling, etc.

The application of a detention tag must be accompanied by a clear indication of the non-compliance.

The tab of a detention tag should indicate what exactly was held and the reason for the action and should be kept in the possession of the inspection staff in a secure, organized manner until the tag is removed by or with the authorization of the inspector. If a products are still on detention when an inspector leaves an establishment, this should be documented as per Chapter 18, along with sufficient information for the subsequent inspector to be able to understand manage the non-compliance, such as the reason for detention and the number of cartons, tanks, etc.

1.4.5.2.3. Detention

Detention is a formal process that is initiated when a product is seized for violation of the MIA, the Food and Drugs Act or the Health of Animals Act. The detention process must not be confused with the use of detention tags; to proceed with detention, a written Notice of Detention (CFIA/ACIA 3256) must be issued and delivered by hand or by registered mail. It is important to exercise complete and continuous control throughout the detention period. (Control may involve locking up the storage facilities.) A breach of the control procedures can adversely affect the outcome of a legal proceeding. The official detention process and all details of the situation must be indicated in the CVS program. The Notice of Release from Detention form (CFIA/ACIA 3257) must be completed to document the disposal of the product under detention.

1.4.5.2.4. Written reports

Detailed written reports of inspection findings and corrective action requests (CARs) must be produced throughout the course of the CVS program.

1.4.5.2.5. Non-application of the meat inspection legend

If a product is prepared, processed, packaged, labelled or stored in a manner that is in violation of the applicable legislation, and if no corrective action is or can be taken, the inspector can prohibit the use of the meat inspection legend for that product.

1.4.5.2.6. Suspension of inspection services

The suspension of inspection services is appropriate when meat products are deemed not to have been prepared in compliance with the legislation, despite the presence of an inspector. The suspension of inspection services results in the automatic suspension of the use of the meat inspection legend. Before any action leading to the suspension of inspection services can be taken, area, regional and national operations and programs specialists must be consulted.

If the production of meat products continues without inspection, or if the right to use the meat inspection legend has been suspended, it may be necessary to involve other agencies. If the inspection of meat products is required by a particular province, the provincial authorities will have to be informed of the suspension of CFIA inspection services.

1.4.5.2.7. Suspension or cancellation of an establishment's registration

See Chapter 14 and Chapter 18 of the MOP.

1.4.5.2.8. Prosecution

In order for prosecution to be initiated, the offences must be sufficiently significant to warrant it. However, advice from Legal Services must be obtained before making a decision to prosecute (see Chapter 14 – Enforcement).

1.4.5.3. Control of stamps bearing the meat inspection legend and other official government labels, marking devices and certificates

The inspector is responsible for ensuring that appropriate measures are taken to control official products. Control measures specific to certain products are discussed in more detail below.

1.4.5.3.1. Stamps bearing the meat inspection legend
1.4.5.3.1.1. Responsibility and conservation of stamps bearing the meat inspection legend

Stamps bearing the meat inspection legend must be stored in a sturdy cabinet. The cabinet hinges must be concealed, and the hasps must be mounted such that the screw heads are covered. The cabinet must also be locked with a padlock provided by the CFIA, and the key must remain in the possession of the inspection staff.

If an inspector is available at the start of operations but cannot be present once the operations are completed, the cabinet can be equipped with a secure opening so that stamps can be placed into the cabinet but not taken out.

The complete list of stamps, their use and the locations where they must be applied must be posted inside the cabinet in which the stamps are stored.

The operator must sign a sign-out/sign-in sheet each time a stamp is removed from or returned to the cabinet. It is recommended that the time of sign-out/sign-in be indicated. The operator is also responsible for thoroughly cleaning the stamp and returning it at the end of the shift.

The inspector in charge must provide the register for the signatures mentioned above.

1.4.5.3.1.2. Stamp inventory

The monitoring of marking devices (metal stamps, needlepoint legend stamps, matrices for engraving metal, etc.) must be maintained. Inspection staff must conduct a daily inventory of stamps and must carry out ongoing monitoring of the stamps as they are signed out and in, according to the register. In addition, to prove that the inspector is effectively monitoring the inventory of stamps, inspection staff should initial the register.

During quarterly visits, supervisors will perform an inventory check of the stamps. This involves counting the stamps in the cabinet and those signed out, as indicated in the register, and comparing the total number with the available inventory of stamps. They must then compare the results obtained with the number of stamps that should be in the establishment's inventory according to the regional centre. Supervisors should document the inventory check in their report.

Any discrepancies must be immediately investigated. The justification presented for each discrepancy should be documented in a separate report.

1.4.5.3.1.3. Damaged, worn or surplus stamps

Only stamps that give a clear, legible imprint are acceptable for use. Damaged, worn or surplus stamps must be sent, along an accompanying note, to the regional office, which will dispose of them. Stamps from closed establishments must be returned via the regional office.

1.4.5.3.1.4. Lost stamps

To minimize the accidental loss of brass stamps, the handles must be designed in such a way as to reduce the tendency of the stamps to roll off tables, desks, etc.

Each time a stamp is lost, an effort must be made to locate them and the operator and the inspector in charge must provide detailed explanations in writing.

1.4.5.3.1.5. Ordering stamps

In order to simplify and accelerate the processing of orders, the procedure outlined below must be followed when ordering stamps bearing the meat inspection legend:

  • The operator must complete the form provided in Annex A and present it to the inspector in charge for authorization of the order.
  • The inspector in charge must complete the section of the form reserved for government use, clearly indicating the delivery address of the stamps. The inspector must sign the form in order to authorize the order. The operator must produce two (2) copies of the form: one for the regional office and the other for the inspector in charge.
  • The operator must send the duly completed form signed by the inspector in charge directly to the manufacturer.
  • The stamp(s) will be sent by the manufacturer to the appropriate area/regional office or, at the discretion of the Executive Director directly to the inspector in charge or Regional Supervisor.
  • The inspector in charge must verify that the products received correspond to the order, notify the operator that the stamp is available, and update the inventory accordingly.
  • All stamps or parts of stamps must be paid for by the operator in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
1.4.5.3.2. Official seals

The official seals of the CFIA must be strictly controlled.

They must be kept under lock and key and must be applied and removed with the authorization of the inspector. A register of the serial numbers of the entire inventory of official seals must be kept.

Each time an official seal is given to an operator, the serial number of the official seal must be noted.

1.4.5.3.3. Export certificates and export stamps/labels

See Chapter 11 of the MOP.

1.4.5.4. Separation of incompatible operations

Establishments must be able to properly physically separate incompatible activities that pose a potential risk of cross contamination of meat products. When physical separation of incompatible activities is impossible (in existing registered establishments only), effective operational controls must be implemented. These controls must be described in detail in writing and must be strictly followed at all times.

  • The slaughter of equine species and the processing, packaging and storage of horse meat products are considered incompatible with similar operations involving other species intended for consumption or meat products derived from these species. See section 33 of the MIR for further details.
  • It is prohibited to handle or store live, raw or unwashed fish or seafood in registered establishments at the same time that meat products are processed, handled and stored there.
  • The handling and processing of prewashed fish or seafood in registered establishments is permitted, but only if carried out in rooms reserved strictly for them. If it is impossible to reserve certain rooms for fish processing, these operations must be carried out at times when meat processing operations are not being carried out. In such cases, precautions must be taken to avoid cross contamination, and there must be a ventilation system that can effectively eliminate odours.
  • The preparation of products intended for human consumption containing both meat products and fish is authorized in registered establishments.
  • The removal of edible livers and the layer of tissue surrounding them is considered incompatible with the operations that are carried out in slaughter areas (carcass dressing). However, it is possible to carry out these operations in a non-rfrigerated room.
  • Areas where animals are kept must not open directly into areas where food or packaging materials are handled or stored.
  • Shipping and receiving areas must be physically separated from the rest of the establishment and must not be used for the storage of edible meat products or the equipment needed to manufacture edible meat products.
  • Separation between incompatible areas (e.g., such as edible and non-edible, raw and ready-to-eat products, etc.) must be maintained in all establishments, regardless of whether they are in relation to construction, operations or personnel.
  • Employees working in areas susceptible to contamination (e.g., ready-to-eat meat product handling areas) must be properly separated from other areas. Methods and procedures must be developed and implemented to control access to these areas in order to prevent cross contamination.
  • Unwashed vegetables must be stored, washed and prepared in separate rooms and areas to avoid contamination.
  • It is prohibited to install plastic strip curtains in doorways where there are movements of unprotected products or staff handling unprotected meat products.

The applicant and the CFIA inspector must consult the Area programs specialist on the program requirements respecting the compatibility of activities/operations in the registered establishment.

When conducting inspections or performing regulatory duties in an establishment, CFIA employees must meet the requirements of the operator's HACCP system. If an inspector is required to move between two incompatible areas, the operator must provide facilities that will ensure that the movements can be made in a hygienic manner.

1.5. Monitoring of Meat Programs Service Delivery in Federally Registered Establishments

1.5.1 Quality Management System (QMS)

A quality guidance team represented by Meat Programs and Operations management, area Regional Directors and Quality Managers, develops implementation strategies, identifies specific annual work plans, monitors progress, and communicates within their respective work groups, by receiving and acting upon recommendations for improvement.

The Quality Management System (QMS) is designed to continuously improve the consistency and overall quality of activities delivered by CFIA Operations staff, by incorporating modern quality management principles and practices.

The QMS quality verification and improvement cycle for delivery of inspections, audits, certificates, etc. involves the following steps:

  1. Preparation of Quality Verification Plans

    Every Supervisor and Regional Veterinary Officer prepares an annual quality verification plan using the QMS software. Plans are approved by the Inspection Managers and Regional Directors.

  2. Conduct Quality Verifications

    Quality verifications, led by supervisors and regional program officers with inspectors' participation, are conducted to determine how well the inspection, audit, or certification process is working.

  3. Analysis of Data

    Verification data is analysed on an ongoing basis (at least every quarter) to identify current quality levels and opportunities for improvement.

  4. Improvement Plans

    Improvement plans are developed and implemented to address root causes for quality loss.

  5. Quarterly Reports

    All Supervisors, Inspection Managers, Regional Directors and Area Executive Directors prepare quarterly reports to ensure the QMS continues to operate as designed.

1.5.2. Meat Programs Performance Measurement

The Government of Canada is committed to creating a performance-based regulatory system that will protect and advance the public interest in the areas of health, safety and security, the quality of the environment, and the social and economic well-being of Canadians.

The objectives of a Performance-Based Regulatory System are:

  • protection of Canadians and their environment;
  • regulation of the economy in the most efficient, timely and cost-effective manner;
  • clear service standards that hold the Government to account for performance;
  • monitoring and reporting on performance to provide pressure for continuing improvement; and
  • ongoing assessment of and adjustment to regulatory approaches to allow for greater cooperation between regulators and orders of government.

Public service managers use "Results for Canadians: A Management Framework for the Government of Canada" to clearly define the results to be achieved and measure performance regularly and objectively, making adjustments to improve both efficiency and effectiveness.

Within the CFIA, a Performance Management Framework has been developed with performance indicators for Meat Programs prepared under the supervision of the National Specialist Performance Measurement Meat Programs Division in order to collect, analyse and report on a quarterly basis.

1.6. Meat Programs Evaluation

1.6.1. Meat Programs Inspection System (MPIS) Equivalence

Volume 1A, General provisions, of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, contains codex standard CAC/GL 026-1997, which provides Guidelines for the Design, Operation, Assessment and Accreditation of Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems.

The appendix to this standard sets out the Guidelines on Procedures for Conducting an Assessment and Auditing the Inspection and Certification Systems of Exporting Countries, focussing primarily on the effectiveness of the inspection and certification system in operation, rather than on specific commodities or establishments. See Chapter 11 of the MOP, Introduction, for more information.

1.6.2. Evaluation of the Canadian MPIS by Importing Countries

The National Export Programs specialist, Meat Programs Division, coordinates, with the assistance of the National Operations Coordinator, all visits in Canada of Official Representatives from importing countries. The frequency of these visits vary according to the risks assessed by the country in question, the equivalence of the systems, the self-assessments conducted by the country, the volume and nature of trade, the results of product inspections at the border, the number of previous visits to federally registered establishments eligible to export and historical considerations.

Any federally registered establishment may be sampled when system audits are conducted. However, where there is a list of eligible federally registered establishments, some establishments may be targeted for specific reasons or risks (e.g. the inspection results of exported meat products, follow-up visits, or other issues).

Protocol for the Visits at the Area Level

A system audit or specific verification plan is submitted to the Director, including the objective (system equivalence, eligibility list, specific issue, etc.)

1.6.2.1. United States of America

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), through its Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), has a process for assessing the equivalence of the regulatory inspection systems of foreign countries (October 2003 edition: Process for Evaluating the Equivalence of Foreign Meat and Poultry Food Regulatory Systems - PDF (68 kb).

Under the USDA March 1999 protocol, a USDA auditor or team of auditors conducts an equivalence audit of the CFIA Meat Inspection Program every year. As part of the audit, the auditor visits CFIA headquarters in Ottawa, area offices, establishments, and laboratories, to gather information on the Canadian Meat Programs Inspection System and the application of USDA requirements.

See Chapter 11, section 11.7.3.6.6.1 U.S.A. of the MOP for the FSIS policy on establishments judged to be unacceptable or to which a notice of intent to de-list is issued.

The USDA auditor's information on each federally registered establishment visited are submitted along with the preliminary report and presented to the CFIA Director, Meat Programs, for comments. The FSIS Technical Services Centre providing external audits of foreign countries publishes the final report.

1.6.2.2. European Union

Canada reached an agreement with the European Union on March 18, 1999 regarding sanitary measures to protect public and animal health in respect of trade in live animals and animal products.

The agreement establishes a mechanism for the recognition of equivalence of sanitary measures maintained by the two parties. The two main components concern the criteria for recognizing equivalence and the means of facilitating assessment thereof through audit and verification procedures.

In practice, the European Union allows the CFIA to recommend federally registered establishments eligible to export to the EU, with the subsequent possibility of auditing them later (see Chapter 11 of the MOP, EU inspection and audit).

The European Union also has an external audit service for foreign countries (Food and Veterinary Office)

1.6.2.3. Other Countries

Other countries have their own specific audit/verification requirements (see Chapter 11 of the MOP for specific country requirements). In general, the procedures for foreign audits from other countries is similar to that indicated for the United States. The choice of establishments to be inspected is made by the representatives of the foreign country's official inspection agency.

1.6.3. Evaluation of MPIS in Countries Exporting to Canada

In order to maintain the security of Canada's food, the CFIA gives access to imported meat products under section 9 of the MIA, defining standards as required, to meet the appropriate level of sanitary protection for Canadians.

See information on the Canadian Meat Inspection Systems Evaluation Program.

1.6.4. Health Canada Food Safety Assessment

The CFIA Audit, Evaluation and Risk Oversight (AERO) Branch coordinates related activities with Health Canada.

Pursuant to subsection 11(4) of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act, the Minister of Health is responsible for establishing policies and standards relating to the safety and nutritional quality of food sold in Canada, and, under the Health Canada policy respecting the Food Safety Assessment Program, which assesses the effectiveness of Agency activities related to food safety.

See information on Food Safety Assessment Reports.

1.6.5. Internal Audit and Corporate Evaluation of the Meat Programs

The Audit, Evaluation and Risk Oversight (AERO) Branch strengthens the CFIA's accountability, resource stewardship and good governance by providing strategic leadership and direction in program evaluation, corporate audit, and risk management oversight.

By conducting regular audits and evaluations, AERO contributes to sound CFIA management by providing advice and management accountability, coordinating and liaising with the Office of the Auditor General and Health Canada on all ongoing external audits and assessments.

In addition, AERO is the internal mechanism through which employees can disclose, in good faith and without fear of reprisal, information concerning wrongdoing within the CFIA.

From a governance perspective, AERO reports to and takes direction from the Audit Committee, the decision-making body that provides advice to the CFIA Executive Committees on policies and strategies for corporate audit.

See information on Audits, Reviews and Evaluations

1.6.6. Auditor General of Canada CFIA Verification

Pursuant to section 32 of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act the Auditor General examines financial statements, assesses the fairness and reliability of the Agency's performance as set out in its annual report, and provides a report on his or her audit, opinion and assessment. AERO coordinates related activities with the Auditor General of Canada.

The Auditor General Act directs the Auditor General to address the following questions:

  • Is the government presenting its financial information accurately?
  • Did the government collect or spend the authorized amount of money and for the purposes intended by Parliament?
  • Were programs run economically and efficiently? And does the government have the means to measure their effectiveness? Has sufficient consideration been given to environmental consequences?

For more information see the Office of the Auditor General Web site.

1.7. Protocol for High Visibility Issues

Any situation that might have, for example, political, public health, serious economic or legal implications should be considered a high visibility issue. There may be occasions when routine situations, for one reason or another, escalate and reach the status of high visibility.

CFIA inspectors, when faced with a situation of this kind, should contact their Inspection Managers. The managers should attempt to assess it fully and consider possible actions required to deal with it and its possible impact. This information should be relayed to the appropriate Regional Director.

Questions from the media about news releases, food recalls, fact sheets or any other Agency program or issue can be referred to any CFIA media relations officer.

Consumers who suspect that their health has been compromised because of food may contact their family physician or local health authority, who will follow up with the appropriate treatment. Concerns about restaurant food should be reported to local inspection authorities, who may contact the CFIA to initiate an investigation, if the food appears to be the likely cause of illness.

Consumers who believe a product presents a health and safety risk can report a potential food safety incident to the CFIA.

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