Chapter 14 - Enforcement
14.1 Introduction

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the enforcement of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act, Canada Agricultural Products Act, Feeds Act, Fertilizers Act, Fish Inspection Act, Health of Animals Act, Meat Inspection Act, Plant Breeders' Rights Act, Plant Protection Act, Seeds Act, as well as the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (as it relates to food); and the Food and Drugs Act (as it relates to food), along with all of their corresponding regulations.

The CFIA Compliance and Enforcement Operational Policy, 2010 is the first of a three-tiered approach to the CFIA's enforcement program, outlining the CFIA's approach to its compliance management activities, ranging from assisting regulated parties in understanding their obligations to comply with legislative requirements, to monitoring compliance, and performing inspection activities. It also outlines the various tools available to the CFIA to respond to non-compliance. The second tier of the approach consists of the development of program-specific enforcement guidelines: Agricultural Inputs, Animal and Plant Health and Food. These enforcement guidelines offer specific insight into the tools available to inspectors under the Agency's various programs and legislation. Procedures detailing enforcement-related information for each program within the CFIA serve as the third tier of the CFIA approach to enforcement.

This guide provides the procedures required by the third tier of the CFIA's approach to compliance and enforcement, outlining specific enforcement options that are used to respond to cases of non-compliance with respect to the Meat Inspection Act and the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990 and other applicable legislation.

It is understood that all of the different types of non-compliances cannot be covered in this policy. If serious situations present themselves, more stringent action may be taken.

14.1.1 Regulated Parties Roles and Responsibilities

Regulated parties, including operators, exporters and importers, must ensure that registered establishments and all products (meat or non-meat) comply with applicable legislation. When a situation of non compliance occurs, regulated parties must initiate actions to bring the establishment and/or product (meat or non-meat) into compliance.

In addition, the regulated party is required to provide assistance to CFIA inspectors while carrying out inspection duties under the Meat Inspection Act.

The Meat Inspection Act states:

13. (2) The owner or person in charge of a place or vehicle referred to in subsection (1) and every person found in that place or vehicle shall give the inspector all reasonable assistance to enable the inspector to carry out his duties and functions under this Act and shall furnish the inspector with any information the inspector may reasonably require with respect to the administration or enforcement of this Act and the regulations.

Furthermore, the regulated party must not obstruct the work of the CFIA or provide false statements to the CFIA.

The Meat Inspection Act states:

14. (1) No person shall obstruct or hinder, or make any false or misleading statement either orally or in writing to, an inspector while the inspector is engaged in carrying out his duties or functions under this Act or the regulations.

14.1.2 CFIA Roles and Responsibilities

The role of an inspector is to assess the compliance of regulated parties under the Meat Inspection Act, Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990 associated policies and procedures, as well as other applicable legislation. Inspectors are designated with the power and authority to take enforcement action when they believe that there are reasonable grounds to do so. When an establishment or product (meat or non-meat) is found to be not in compliance, the action required to be taken by the CFIA will depend upon the operator's actions to correct the problem and the extent and the severity of the problem.

For example, if the operator fails to react in the case of a food safety risk, the inspector will take action to control the risk, such as by detaining the product (meat or non-meat), animal or other thing (for example: equipment, stamps, printers, labels, or anything related to the contravention). The inspector will then issue the operator a CFIA/ACIA 5472 Inspection Report - Corrective Action Request (CAR). This Inspection Report identifies the non-compliance and requires the operator to implement corrective measures by:

  • providing an acceptable action plan by a specified date; and
  • effectively implementing the corrective and preventative measures described in the action plan by a specified date.

If the operator fails to effectively implement corrective and preventative measures, the inspector may take enforcement actions on the operator to address the non-compliance.

14.1.3 Management Review Team Roles and Responsibilities

The Inspection Manager (IM) is responsible for forming and leading the Management Review Team (or Review Team) and coordinating its activities.

The team may consist of any number of persons within the CFIA that are called upon to provide expertise or consultation with regard to the non-compliance during the review of a CFIA/ACIA 5472 Inspection Report - Corrective Action Request (CAR). The objective of the team is to provide support, guidance and recommendations to the designated CFIA employee responsible to take action in the course of enforcement activities. See 14.2.1.2 - How Does an Inspector Request a Review by Management?

The team follows the guidance of this chapter and considers the following factors when determining a recommendation:

  • the regulated party's history of compliance with the legislation;
  • a demonstrated willingness to achieve compliance;
  • evidence of corrective action already taken;
  • the intent of the regulated party to commit a contravention or cause harm; and
  • the seriousness of harm or potential harm.

The Inspection Manager has the following responsibilities with regard to the Review Team:

  • to coordinate and lead the review and analysis of the CFIA/ACIA 5472 Inspection Report - Corrective Action Request (CAR);
  • to call upon appropriate Review Team members for consultation when a request for review is issued, in the interest of supporting the designated person responsible for taking enforcement action;
  • to ensure the CFIA/ACIA 5472 Inspection Report - Corrective Action Request (CAR) is addressed in a timely manner. As a guideline, a course of action should be determined and implemented within five working days;
  • to ensure that, prior to implementation, all recommendations are communicated to the Regional Chief Inspector (RCI) and Area Chief Inspector (ACI), if appropriate;
  • to ensure that all of the decisions and actions are documented on the CFIA/ACIA 5517 Enforcement Tracking Form and that the form is returned to the Inspector; and
  • to ensure feedback and guidance are given to the inspector regarding how to proceed with each review, even those that do not result in further enforcement action.

In addition to the Inspection Manager, the Management Review Team may include any of, but not limited to, the following CFIA representatives:

  • Regional Veterinary Officer;
  • Regional or Area Program Specialist;
  • Office of Food Safety and Recall;
  • Supervisor;
  • Inspectors / Veterinarian Inspectors;
  • Area CVS or FSEP Coordinators
  • Enforcement and Investigations Services representatives;
  • Legal counsel;
  • Regional Chief Inspector;
  • Area Chief Inspector; and
  • Headquarters representatives.
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