Chapter 1 - Introduction to the Meat Programs
1.2. Meat Programs Framework

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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.

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