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2018-19 – Departmental Plan
Planned results: what we want to achieve this year and beyond

Core Responsibility: Safe Food and Healthy Plants and Animals


Protecting Canadians by safeguarding Canada's food system and the plant and animal resources on which we depend, and supporting the Canadian economy through the trade of Canadian goods.

Planning highlights

The CFIA is continually evolving to meet the challenges of a complex and ever changing environment that is influenced by factors such as globalization, technological and environmental change, and new and emerging diseases or pests.

Annually, our food, plant and animal programs plan and deliver on their associated day-to-day prevention and safety activities using innovative approaches. The programs advance priorities that improve how we deliver our business in the following areas:

  • Setting rules – we develop these rules to ensure we have the appropriate programs, policies, controls and scientific methods in place to help ensure safe food and healthy animal and plants for domestic and international trade.
  • Compliance promotion – we provide tools and clear information to support industry and Canadians in understanding the rules, why they are important and what is needed to comply.
  • Monitoring and enforcement – we verify industry compliance with the rules through surveillance activities, inspection activities, and laboratory testing.
  • Granting permissions – we grant permissions in a timely manner based on applicants meeting the specific rules required for food commodities, plants, animals and their products.

We also play a key role internationally by supporting:

  • International standard setting – we contribute to the development and maintenance of internationally acceptable standards and trade rules in the areas of food safety, and plant and animal health.
  • Market access – we maintain and create trade opportunities that ensure Canadian food, animal, plant and their products can be traded internationally.
  • Regulatory cooperation and science collaboration – we engage and work together with our international partners to seek opportunities to strengthen partnerships and align approaches for food safety, consumer protection and plant and animal health.

Departmental Result 1: Food sold in Canada is safe and accurately represented to Canadians

Canadians want to know that the food they eat is safe and that industry understands and follows the required rules to produce or import food that is safe and accurately labelled. Through the delivery of our programs, the CFIA mitigates risks to public health associated with potential hazards in the food supply system and manages food safety emergencies and incidents, including collaborating with federal and provincial food safety partners and industry.

The CFIA works diligently to make a difference for Canadians by:

  • inspecting industry establishments or food manufacturing processes to make sure that controls are in place for domestic and imported food; and
  • issuing public warnings or advisories for all food products that could cause serious health problems if consumed.

Our plans in support of this result include:

Modern Regulatory Toolkit

  • The Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations will provide one suite of authorities with simplified language and modernized inspection powers that align inspection and enforcement powers, making them consistent across all food commodities, enabling inspectors to be more efficient, and fostering even higher rates of compliance for industry. Final publication of the regulations is planned for 2018-19. The CFIA is proposing a staggered coming into force and a staged implementation of the regulations over three years to enable business readiness.
  • The first parts of the planned regulations will be licensing, traceability, and preventive control plans for selected food commodities. To assist industry's understanding of and compliance with the new rules, the CFIA is developing new guidance, tools and communication plans/products written in plain language. These compliance promotion resources will explain why regulatory provisions exist and how businesses can prepare and comply, and provide guidance on how outcomes can be achieved. Much of the new guidance has already been released to help food businesses implement food safety processes before the regulations come into force.
  • Canadians are looking for more diverse and innovative food choices. They are increasingly aware of, and knowledgeable about, labels on products. Consumers expect improved transparency and accountability.

Accurate food labelling is important as it ensures that products are not being misrepresented to Canadians. The label provides consumers with information that helps them make informed decisions about the food they purchase for themselves and their families. This includes:

Did you know?

Most food recalls in Canada are voluntary, meaning that they are initiated and carried out by the responsible company with oversight from the CFIA.

If a company is unable or refuses to voluntarily recall a product, a mandatory recall order for products that pose a health risk is issued by the Minister of Health.

The CFIA distributes public advisories to media on high-risk recalls and posts them to the CFIA web site. You can also view public advisories on

  • what the food is and how much is being purchased;
  • nutrition information, ingredient lists and allergen declarations; and
  • other characteristics, such as: whether the food is organic or local.

The food labelling modernization initiative aims to meet the needs of Canadians by developing a more modern and risk-based food labelling system. Based on what we heard from stakeholders, this initiative proposes to improve legibility of food labels and provide more useful information with respect to date marking, company contact information, origin of imported foods, and emphasized ingredients. The system will also include tools for building consumer awareness and for promoting compliance. Tools will also help better define roles and responsibilities for truthful and not misleading food labelling and will clarify industry accountabilities and CFIA oversight. Additionally, they will help encourage consumers to make informed choices in the marketplace.

The CFIA and Health Canada are working closely to integrate their labelling modernization activities and to align and coordinate engagement activities, proposals, consultations, and coming-into-force dates for these additional proposed regulatory changes.

In that light, the CFIA will continue drafting new labelling provisions, in collaboration with Health Canada. The provisions will be included in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations as part of a second phase for these regulations, as well in the Food and Drug Regulations. The plan is to publish the labelling amendments in Canada Gazette, Part IFootnote 2 and then proceed to Canada Gazette Part IIFootnote 2.

Integrated Risk Management

  • The establishment-based risk assessment model is a science-based and risk-based tool. Its purpose is to help the CFIA allocate inspection resources based on food safety risks that food establishments under the CFIA's jurisdiction may represent to Canadian consumers. The model will be used in a process to provide more consistent, predictable, and transparent assessments of industry. It will provide industry with feedback on their risks, helping them improve and strengthen their food safety practices. In turn, this will increase confidence in Canada's food safety system.

    The model will help the CFIA have greater precision in the way it designs its programs and work plans, and help the CFIA in prioritizing its oversight activities and allocating its resources. In 2018-19, the CFIA will begin the long-term integration of the model results in our daily activities.

  • Given the multi-jurisdictional nature of protecting food safety in Canada, the Canadian Food Safety Information Network is a federal, provincial and territorial partnership between food safety authorities and food testing laboratories designed to foster a collaborative pan-Canadian food safety information network.

The Canadian Food Safety Information Network will strengthen the ability of food safety authorities to better anticipate, detect, and mitigate food safety hazards; to respond quickly and effectively to food safety events and minimize their impact on Canadians; and to demonstrate the effectiveness of Canada's food safety system to trade partners. In 2018-19, in collaboration with its federal, provincial and territorial partners, the CFIA will advance a plan for establishing a collaborative and systematic approach to environmental scanning and will develop a Canadian Food Safety Information Network food and hazard classification system. The CFIA will also continue to negotiate data sharing arrangements with provinces and territories; and enter into the implementation phase of the network, which will lead to the launching of a suite of web-based applications for use by the network's partners.

Consistent and Efficient Inspections

  • The CFIA's single inspection model is changing the way inspectors conduct their work and how they capture and report the inspections they carry out. The model provides a standard and consistent approach to delivering inspections for all regulated commodities: food, plant, or animal, whether imported, produced domestically, or exported. The single inspection approach focuses on prevention and incorporates systems-based approaches to verification.
  • In the past, having multiple inspection programs challenged the CFIA to manage risks consistently across different types of establishments and different commodities. It created situations in which commodities of similar risks may be inspected at different frequencies or in different ways (e.g. meat and fish processed in the same facility).

As of March 31, 2017, 48% of dairy, fish and fresh fruit and vegetable establishment inspections used this approach. In 2018-19, the CFIA expects to conduct 100% of dairy, fish, fresh fruit and vegetable establishment inspections using the single inspection model, while implementation will continue across other food sectors.

Digital First Tools and Services

  • Our digital service delivery platform supports a set of electronic tools that allow industry members who have signed up for a "My CFIA" account to conduct business transactions online. "My CFIA" allows registered users to get convenient and secure access to online services including managing and tracking service requests and requesting permissions such as licenses, permits, registrations and authorizations. The platform gives CFIA staff the ability to manage certain permission requests, analyze data and track changes. It will also allow inspectors to capture and report their inspection findings.
  • This project seeks to standardize and automate processes, provide services online, support planning, tracking and assignment of activities, and provide improved business reporting. In 2018-19, the CFIA will increase the amount of export information available on the platform and enable the system to store information on additional commodities at points of entry. Additionally, the CFIA will implement a staged plan to encourage industry enrollment in "My CFIA" and support services using the digital platform.

Global Leader

  • To help trading partners comply with Canada's import food regulations, the CFIA is increasing its proactive offshore preventative activities. With this approach, assessment of manufacturing practices and/or inspection systems verifies compliance at exporting countries' establishments. This is complimentary to verifying compliance with import requirements at the Canadian port of entry.

The Foreign Verification Office conducts food safety verifications at foreign food facilities that make and export food products to Canada, thus identifying and seeking to prevent offshore food safety issues at the point of production. Foreign verification missions are designed based on existing risk intelligence, for instance, compliance data and recalls.

The Foreign Verifications Office works collaboratively with foreign food safety authorities to coordinate and implement its missions, as well as address its observations. While there are various internal and external factors that influence the Foreign Verification Office mission plan, in 2018-19, the office plans to undertake approximately four missions per quarter, with a focus on Europe and Asia, and possible expansion to South America.

Departmental Result 2: Plant and animal resources are protected from diseases and pests and are safe for Canadians and the environment

Canadians want the health of our animals, plants and forests safeguarded. To effectively and efficiently prevent and contain diseases and pests that affect plant and animal resource bases, the CFIA must keep pace with the rapid rate of technological advancements and scientific breakthroughs, while maintaining reliable and relevant services for clients. We are moving toward an outcome-based regulatory system to support the well-being of our plants and animals.

The CFIA aims to make a difference for Canadians by:

  • protecting native plants from harmful foreign plant pests;
  • ensuring that domestic seed, fertilizer, and new or modified plant varieties and products comply with Canadian regulations and international agreements;
  • verifying that animals are transported humanely; and
  • protecting animals from diseases, including those that can be transmitted to humans, and responding effectively when disease occurs.

These activities prevent or minimize risks to the food supply, to human, animal or plant health, and to the environment. They also help instill confidence for our trading partners about the safety of our food system and the health of our plants and animals.

Our plans in support of this result include:

Modern Regulatory Toolkit

  • In 2018-19, the CFIA will continue modernizing the Hatchery Regulations. These regulations set requirements for the operation of commercial hatcheries in order to produce healthy chicks for the poultry industry, and in turn, safe food for Canadians. Poultry hatcheries are a critical control point for human and animal health where the potential exists to introduce disease into the Canadian poultry production system.

    The CFIA is proposing amendments to:

    • consolidate the three sets of hatchery-related regulations into one;
    • expand the range of regulated diseases (including emerging diseases);
    • add precision to the scope of commodities covered; and
    • issue licenses to hatcheries on a two-year basis.

    These amendments will result in a more outcome-based regulatory framework that will allow the CFIA and the hatchery sector to keep pace with advances in science and technology. They will also enable appropriate monitoring and controls for current and future pathogens of concern. In addition to clarifying definitions, the regulatory proposal will establish national requirements for licensed hatcheries that will include developing and maintaining preventive control plans. Furthermore, because of the expanded range of regulated diseases, the CFIA can require testing for additional zoonotic diseases, enabling more informed decisions on poultry and human health concerns. Formal consultation with the public on the amendments through Canada Gazette Part IFootnote 2 is expected in the spring of 2019.

  • The objective of the livestock identification and traceability program is to provide rapid access to accurate and up-to-date traceability information to help manage a food safety issue, natural disaster, or an infectious disease that may spread slowly and insidiously, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or an infectious disease that spreads more rapidly, such as foot-and-mouth disease. The program involves both animal and premises identification, in addition to the reporting of animal movement.

    Updated regulations and further additions to the traceability national information portal will reduce the impacts of a disease outbreak, food safety issue or natural disaster originating from and/or affecting livestock. These measures will better protect public and animal health, and support livestock industry to meet international standards for export. In support of these additions, a training course on how to use the portal was developed and made available to inspectors. Gradually, the CFIA is introducing inspectors to the portal while phasing-out other traceability information systems.

    In 2018-19, the CFIA will seek support for new traceability requirements under the Health of Animals Regulations and, subsequently will publish the amendments in Canada Gazette Part IFootnote 2 for the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations to reflect new requirements. The new proposed regulatory requirements will broaden the scope of the traceability program to include goat and farmed deer and elk (currently covers cattle, bison, sheep and pigs); will shorten the time to report traceability information; will require premises where livestock is kept to be identified with the provinces; and will require the domestic movements of ruminants being reported.

  • The CFIA oversees the welfare of animals during transport, as outlined in the requirements of the Health of Animal Regulations. Proposed amendments will: provide clarification by adding definitions; improve animal welfare and reduce risk of suffering during transportation; better align with Canada's international trading partners; and remove obsolete or unnecessary requirements to reduce the burden on industry. They will establish clear science-based requirements that better reflect animals' needs and current industry practices. It is expected that the amended regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette Part IIFootnote 1, in the spring 2018.
  • Canada's current Feed Regulations are focused on setting standards for feeds and controlling risks through product registration and other forms of pre-market assessment and approval. Proposed amendments will modernize the Feed Regulations to reduce overlap and redundancy, increase responsiveness to industry changes, address gaps, weaknesses and inconsistencies, and provide more clarity, flexibility and transparency to affected regulated parties. The proposed regulations will be supplemented by a suite of new guidance documents that outline the intent of the requirements and will assist regulated parties in complying with the requirements, along with model systems that have been demonstrated to achieve compliance when properly applied. In 2018-19, the CFIA anticipates pre-publication of a formal regulatory package in Canada Gazette Part IFootnote 2.
  • Fertilizers, such as plant nutrients, and supplements (other inputs that improve plant growth and crop yield), are regulated by the CFIA and must be safe for humans, plants, animals and the environment when used as directed. They also cannot leave residues of toxic or harmful substances in edible plant parts, thus mitigating food crop contamination risks. To promote safe use and ensure fair and truthful representation in the marketplace, fertilizers and supplements must also be properly labelled. The CFIA conducts detailed science-based pre-market assessments of regulated products in support of their registration (some products are exempt from registration but must still meet all the prescribed safety and labelling standards for the Canadian marketplace). Furthermore, the CFIA monitors compliance of regulated products through inspections, sampling and testing for contaminants and label reviews. The CFIA also works in collaboration with international partners to support harmonization of standards and requirements, minimize trade barriers and ensure a level playing field for domestic manufacturers and foreign producers.

    The modernization of the Fertilizers Regulations is intended to align regulatory controls with the risk profile of the product, remove inconsistencies in how "like products" are regulated, facilitate access of Canadian producers to safe fertilizers and supplements, and reduce unnecessary regulatory and administrative burden on the sector. Canada Gazette Part IFootnote 2 pre-publication of the modernized Fertilizers Regulations is targeted for spring/summer of 2018 for a 75-day public consultation. The CFIA proposes to phase in the amendments over three years to allow the industry to adjust to the changes while taking immediate advantage of the reductions in regulatory burden.

  • To protect Canada's plant resource base, the Seeds Regulations, under the authority of the Seeds Act, regulate seeds and seed potatoes in Canada that are sold, imported, or exported, as well as seeds released into the environment. The seeds must meet established standards for quality and be labelled so that they are properly represented in the marketplace. These regulations help to prevent the importation and spread of noxious weed seeds and provide seed and seed potato buyers with assurances that minimum standards for seed purity, germination and varietal purity have been met.

Integrated Risk Management

  • Protecting the health of plants and animals helps safeguard the food supply, the health of Canadians and the environment, and contributes to economic growth and prosperity. Experience shows that although Canada can respond-to and recover-from plant and animal health emergencies, the recovery comes at a substantial cost and involves significant loss of productivity, income, and market access. These experiences support the need for increasing the emphasis on mitigating targeted risks where feasible, as a more desirable and sustainable approach, while maintaining a strong capacity to respond to emergencies when they occur.

    The CFIA, federal, provincial and territorial governments, industry, academia and other stakeholders, all of whom have a role in protecting plant and animal health, developed a plant and animal health strategy for Canada outlining how all parties will work together to protect plant and animal resources from new and emerging risks, and paving the way to expand growth in Canada's agriculture sector. In July 2017, federal-provincial-territorial Ministers endorsed the strategy. In 2018-19, the CFIA will begin to implement the strategy, and will work with plant and animal health partners to establish two separate implementation coordinating bodies, for plant and animal health respectively. The immediate first steps in implementing the strategy are to establish the appropriate scope, membership, structure, terms of reference, and roles of the two coordinating bodies, and this goal will be pursued during 2018.

  • In 2018-19, the CFIA will continue to enhance its mapping capacity partnering with Natural Resources Canada and other federal departments to develop the federal geospatial platform. The platform allows for better knowledge sharing among federal departments and enhances efficiencies for partners in areas such as disease modelling and emergency response.
  • The CFIA and its partners work to respond to a number of plant pest finds in Canada. These included detections of hemlock wooly adelgid, emerald ash borer and Japanese beetle in new areas of the country. In 2018-19, the CFIA will continue to manage the risk associated with the regulated plant pests that have entered Canada, with the collaboration of provinces, industry and other interested parties.
  • The CFIA is also developing an approach to better address prevention and preparedness for emerging diseases. In 2018-19, the CFIA will develop and exercise an emergency preparedness plan for the pork industry. This represents an annex to a foreign animal disease emergency support agreement that outlines the role of the industry in an emergency response, and intends to increase awareness and implementation of biosecurity measures within small swine productions, while also integrating information from existing animal health surveillance systems for more comprehensive intelligence on emerging diseases.

Did you know?

To protect our health, as well as Canada's animals, plants, and natural habitats, every traveller entering Canada must declare all food, plants, animals and related products they are bringing into Canada.

  • In 2018-19 the CFIA will continue collaborative efforts with provinces and industry on animal health surveillance and intelligence through development of sector-based networks for data sharing, increasing partners in intelligence gathering, sharing and analysis and enhancements to lab testing capabilities and data collection and sharing within the Canadian animal health surveillance network.
  • Chronic wasting disease, a contagious, progressive and fatal disease that affects the central nervous system, is now established in farmed and wild cervids (deer and elk) in Saskatchewan and Alberta. New cases continue to be detected in these provinces as well as northern states bordering Canada. In 2018-19, the CFIA will promote preventative measures on cervid farms by focusing federal disease response to herds that have enrolled in a voluntary chronic wasting disease herd certification program. These programs promote biosecurity actions that help minimize the incidence of animal disease on farms.
  • Antimicrobials are used to prevent, control, and treat infections in food producing animals. The availability and effectiveness of these antimicrobials are threatened by development of antimicrobial resistance in micro-organisms. In 2018-19, the CFIA will work with all stakeholders to support the development of a pan-Canadian Action Plan to complement the released framework. The anticipated action plan will focus on four pillars: surveillance, stewardship, infection prevention and control, and research and innovation. As outlined in the 2015 Federal Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance and Use, the CFIA will continue to support Public Health Agency of Canada in collecting a comprehensive data set for antimicrobial use in animals through the Canadian integrated program for antimicrobial resistance surveillance. In addition, the CFIA will work with Health Canada to implement regulatory and policy changes for the use of medically important antimicrobials in animals. The CFIA will also continue its engagement at international fora to support comprehensive and harmonized actions taken globally on antimicrobial resistance.

Digital First Tools and Services

  • Through the CFIA's digital service delivery platform, Canadians will see a more modern approach to business processes in the plant and animal health space with the use of electronic signatures on export and certain import permissions. Once the platform is completely rolled out, CFIA clients will have access to a digital platform to request registrations, permissions, inspections and exports. In 2018-19, the CFIA will proceed with another release of the platform, which will include updating negotiated or increased export information.
  • The United States Department of Agriculture Centre for Veterinary Biologics has implemented a new single tier labelling rule for veterinary vaccines to simplify the label statement by posting the safety and efficacy data on the its website. To avoid disruption in availability of approximately 500 veterinary vaccines in Canada, we need to accommodate the new United States rule for vaccines imported from there. This will mean that all essential information, including safety and efficacy data posted on the United States Department of Agriculture website, is available to Canadians in both official languages. In 2018-19, we will be implementing a more simplified and comprehensive approach on labelling veterinary vaccines.

Global Leader

Did you know?

In 2018-19, the CFIA will start rebuilding the Sidney, British Columbia laboratory, which will be a model for partnerships in plant health. This new, world-class plant health research, biocontainment and greenhouse facility is being built to support Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector.

  • In 2018-19, the CFIA's Sidney Centre for Plant Health will conduct two projects in collaboration with Genome British Columbia to research how DNA technologies can be used to help the CFIA anticipate, prevent and prepare for the emergence of diseases in Canadian plants. Funding for the projects is provided through a partnership between the CFIA, Genome BC, Summerland Varieties Corporation, Phyto Diagnostics, the British Columbia Cherry Association, and Vineland Research and Innovations Centre. The outcomes of these projects will support cutting-edge technology that detects viruses in imported and exported fruit plants much faster and more accurately while reducing the cost of testing.
  • In response to serious global concern about the risk of emerging viral agents, the CFIA led the formation of the biosafety level 4 zoonotic disease laboratories network. This network is an international group of decision-makers and scientists from 14 partnering organizations in five countries: Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia. The creation of the network responds to current and emerging high consequence bio-threats through strengthened partnerships.

While many high containment animal health institutions exist world-wide, work was previously done in isolation. Combining these global resources will allow for a better understanding of disease transmission, improved risk assessment, the development and application of new knowledge for improved situational awareness, and better management of high-consequence bio-risks of concern. In 2018-19, the CFIA will continue to host the secretariat and management function of this international network, and will deliver on global research and training objectives for level 4 parties.

Departmental Result 3: Canadian food, plants and animals and their associated products can be traded internationally

When our trading partners have confidence in the safety of our food and the health of our animals and plants and their associated products, Canadian businesses are competitive and our economy benefits. The Government of Canada has placed a strong emphasis on enhancing and expanding an internationally competitive agriculture and agri-food sector. The CFIA supports government trade priorities and makes a difference for Canadians and Canadian businesses by:

  • helping to open or maintain access to markets, and
  • enabling international trade and supporting the economy.

These activities make it easier for foreign countries to buy Canadian food, and animals and plants and their products and for the destination country to accept exports when they arrive.

Our plans in support of this result include:

International standard setting

Global Leader

Did you know?

Taking reasonable steps to keep containers and their cargo clean helps to prevent the spread of invasive pests through commerce and facilitates the movement of containers through North American ports, leading to:

  • reduced port-of-entry inspections
  • faster cargo release, and
  • fewer unexpected expenses, such as demurrage charges due to cargo holds or costs associated with a container quarantined, tarped and treated, cleaned, or re-exported back to origin.
  • The CFIA actively participates in developing international trade rules and international standards for food safety and fair practices in the food trade and the health of animal and plant resources. It also participates in the negotiation of free trade agreements in a manner that strategically advances Canada's sanitary and phytosanitary interests, maintaining Canada's appropriate level for food safety, and animal and plant health, while creating appropriate disciplines that will minimize the use of unjustified barriers to trade by trading partners.
  • Planned activities for 2018-19 include:
    • continuing to lead Canada's participation in the following organizations: the World Trade Organization Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committee, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, the International Plant Protection Convention, and the North American Plant Protection Organization. With Health Canada, we will continue to co-lead Canada's participation in the Codex Alimentarius Commission;
    • co-leading, with Global Affairs Canada, the negotiation of sanitary and phytosanitary chapters of priority free trade agreements: North American Free Trade Agreement, India, the Pacific AllianceFootnote 3, and Mercosur (Spanish and Portugese only)Footnote 4;
    • engaging in discussions to explore the potential of free trade agreements with new partners, such as China and the Association of South East Asian Nations; and
    • providing advice on the negotiation of other chapters in free trade agreements relating to the CFIA's mandate, for example, technical barriers to trade, regulatory cooperation, and intellectual property.

Market access support

Did you know?

CFIA works with international partners on a daily basis to enable international trade which then supports the Canadian economy.

When foreign countries and companies view Canada as a leader in safe food production, it promotes our businesses to stay competitive in the global marketplace.

  • The CFIA supports Canadian exporters by facilitating their ability to get their goods into international markets. To do this, the CFIA engages in several activities, including negotiating export conditions with international trading partners for animal, plant and food products, and verifying that foreign country import requirements are being met prior to export. Planned activities for 2018-19 include gaining or re-gaining access to some countries, while also maintaining and improving existing access, with an emphasis on commodities and countries which have been identified as priorities.
  • With the diversification of trade in grains, the CFIA will focus on enhancing the options for grain testing before they are shipped internationally, to support grain exports. In addition, we will update the policy on grain imports that will raise the level of imported grain compliance with new documentation requirements to protect Canadian crops from pests.

International regulatory cooperation and collaboration

  • The CFIA supports facilitating a strong and predictable trading environment while at the same time mitigating risks to Canada by providing strategic direction for the CFIA's international relations and engagement activities with foreign regulators. The CFIA actively participates in regulatory cooperation activities to facilitate trade, create efficiencies in resource allocation and to mitigate Canadian and global risk. Through various regulatory cooperation initiatives, such as information sharing between regulators to identify risks and to inform inspection priorities, the CFIA will seek opportunities to focus resources on high-risk pathways, facilitate the flow of low-risk goods while mitigating risks, reduce trade and border delays at the Canada-United States border, and engage in more international engagement to enhance awareness with requirements and promote the alignment of regulatory approaches and/or activities.
  • Plans for 2018-19 include:
    • continuing to implement and consider options to add to the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council's work-plan;
    • seeking opportunities with like-minded countries to enter into foreign food safety systems recognitions arrangements; and
    • continuing to seek opportunities to engage with international partners and organizations and public-private partnerships where technical expertise can be exchanged in an effort to increase foreign capacity to contribute to a safer supply of food, animal and plants imported to Canada.

Innovation to support Safe Food and Healthy Plants and Animals

As a science-based regulator, the CFIA recognizes the need to continually test assumptions and experiment with new and novel approaches to existing and new problems. While this approach forms part of the core culture of our scientific functions, it will be important to extend that approach and culture into the program design and delivery areas.

To that end the CFIA has recently made effort by establishing the Innovation, Business and Service Development Branch. One of the branch's responsibilities will be to provide leadership and resources to the Agency for innovation. The branch will support consultation, and foster partnerships, with stakeholders, experts and organizations, to support high quality, ethical innovation.

Digital First Tools and Services

The CFIA is currently in the process of engaging with staff and stakeholders to identify new ideas and novel approaches to experiment with over the coming years in a new, nimble way. One of the approaches is focused on expediting the adoption of the digital platform. The concept is to use experimental "sprints" that are highly-focused projects that use collaborative multi-disciplinary problem solving skills in order to increase adoption rates for the Agency's digital services platform and the technological enablement of Agency inspection services. The following Sprints are currently underway:

The Enrolment and Permissions Sprint:

  • Testing a proof of concept for outreach with industry sectors.
  • Building on lessons learned from sectors on-boarded onto the digital platform.
  • Developing a plan to promote adoption of the "My CFIA" digital platform, an evolving self-service approach to business in a variety of commodities.

The Export Sprint:

  • Identifying the conditions for success and an industry-by-industry approach to the adoption of the digital platform based on the certificates being automated.

The Inspection Sprint:

  • Field testing the digital services delivery platform with inspectors through a preliminary operational road test. Analyzing how to support adoption of the new approaches to recording business-based interviews and inspections.

Consistent and Efficient Inspections

In addition, the following experimental initiatives are underway:

Compliance verification frequency and resource allocation: proof of concept

The CFIA wants to ensure that its resources are optimally aligned to maximize our impact and keep Canadians healthy.

Meat hygiene inspection (compliance verification system improvements)

By taking a closer look at the compliance verification system in meat, the CFIA will better understand where to dedicate inspection efforts and enhance our ability to mitigate risks to food safety at the establishment level.

Modernized slaughter inspection – hog

The pilot for the modernized slaughter inspection program in hogs began in February 2018 in two establishments. A central element in moving this pilot forward is high engagement with staff, unions, academia and industry. Guided by a number of performance indicators, we will take away learning that will help us understand streamlined approaches from a food safety perspective as well as Agency's responsibility from an inspection oversight role.

Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) and the CFIA

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is committed to ensuring gender impacts are meaningfully incorporated in its decision-making. As part of this commitment, the CFIA regularly considers the factors in gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) when administering its food safety, animal and plant health programs and services.

For example as part of its consumer protection role, gender-based analysis plus implications are taken into account for labelling requirements. As a science and risk-based regulator, the CFIA also identifies risks to potentially vulnerable populations to incorporate mitigating measures into its programs and services.

In addition, the CFIA supports Health Canada and the Public Health Agency assessments of gender-based analysis plus considerations when mitigating human health risks associated with specific foods in specific populations such as children, elderly and pregnant women. With our Health Portfolio partners, the CFIA will continue to promote gender-based analysis plus awareness and ensure application of gender-based analysis as it develops and administers its programs and services.

For more information on Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) and the CFIA, see the "Supplementary Information" section of this report.

Planned Results Table
Departmental Results Departmental Result Indicators Target Date to achieve target 2014-15 Actual results 2015-16 Actual results 2016-17 Actual results
Food sold in Canada is safe and accurately represented to Canadians. Percentage of food businesses that comply with federal rules. 95% March 31, 2019 Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable
Percentage of Public Warnings for high risk food recalls that are issued within 24 hours of a recall decision 95% March 31, 2019 100% 100% 100%
Plant and animal resources are protected from diseases and pests and are safe for Canadians and the environment. Number of harmful foreign plant pests that have entered and established themselves in Canada. 0 March 31, 2019 0 0 1
Percentage of domestic seed, fertilizer, and new or modified plant varieties and products that comply with Canadian regulations and international agreements 95% March 31, 2019 98% 96.16% 93.2%
Percentage of inspected loads of live animals that comply with federal humane transportation requirements. 95% March 31, 2019 98% 98.34% 98.53%
Number of cases of animal diseases that affect human and/or animal health that have entered into Canada. 0 March 31, 2019 0 0 0
Canadian food, plants and animals and their associated products can be traded internationally. Number of shipments of Canadian goods that are rejected at foreign borders because they do not meet their import requirements. To be established March 31, 2019 Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable
Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
Main Estimates
Planned spending
Planned spending
Planned spending
571,740,385 571,740,385 512,414,764 512,522,100
Human resources (full-time equivalents - FTEs)
Planned full-time equivalents
Planned full-time equivalents
Planned full-time equivalents
5,043 4,625 4,625

The CFIA's core responsibility planned spending and planned full-time equivalents (FTEs) enable the delivery of the Agency's mandate. The decrease in planned spending and FTEs from 2018-19 to 2020-21 is mainly due to the expiration of temporary funding related to various initiatives and projects. The Agency will assess initiatives that are sunsetting and seek renewal, as required, to maintain and continuously improve Canada's strong food safety system, safe and accessible food supply, and plant and animal resource base.

Financial, human resources and performance information for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Internal Services


Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; and Acquisition Services.

Planning highlights

The CFIA will continue its focus on supporting its employees and achieving its departmental results to strengthen its core responsibility so as to serve Canadians in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Our plans for 2018-19 include:

Human Resources

  • The Clerk of the Privy Council outlined three challenges facing the public service in his 24th annual report to the Prime Minister: mental health and well-being; improving the capability of the public service, and attracting, retraining and developing top talent. The CFIA will pursue a number of initiatives in 2018-19 that will help address these challenges:
    • advance an Agency healthy workplace strategy, working with our bargaining agents, to ensure that we maintain a deliberate focus on the wellness and well-being of our employees and continue to support employees with issues caused by the Phoenix pay system;
    • launch a new performance excellence initiative, advance an Agency talent management strategy for employees, and improve our data tools to better manage and support the Agency's human capital resources; and
    • continue efforts to modernize and strengthen core human resource service delivery; recruit talented people who want to make a difference to the health and safety of all Canadians with special concentration on veterinarians, scientists and employment equity groups; and maintain student recruitment as a priority, with a special focus on indigenous students and students with disabilities.

Build on Service Delivery

  • The CFIA will build on its efforts to improve the internal management of its services focusing on better service delivery. The CFIA will also continue to adapt its service management strategy over time to refine its approach to service delivery; establish clear accountabilities for service design and delivery; expand its catalogue of service standards; and clarify and improve the feedback mechanisms available to clients.

Enhancing Project Management

  • Following submission of the 2017-18 Organization Project Management Capacity Assessment to the Treasury Board Secretariat, the CFIA will continue to mature its project management, including adopting aspects of a program and portfolio approach to the management of our projects. In 2018-19, the CFIA will:
    • monitor the implementation of our project management competency development program so as to continue to improve on our internal project management maturity; and
    • continue its rigorous project management monitoring, reporting and oversight functions that will help to strengthen the enterprise project management framework, assist in reducing project risks and promote efficient delivery of projects.

Enhancing Open and Transparent Government

  • Openness and transparency are fundamental to ensuring Canadians' trust in their government. Canada is moving toward an “open by default” government that provides proactive access to open data and information, and responds efficiently and effectively to Canadians' request for government information, including their own personal information. The Government of Canada has also strongly committed to ensuring that government science is fully available to the public and that this science informs policies and decision-making. The commitment to increase the accessibility of government science supports innovation and economic growth, informs Canadians of opportunities to engage in federal science activities, and provides opportunity to enhance the impact of scientific government data and information. In support of transparency the CFIA will:
    • finalize and implement the openness and transparency framework, which will provide the blueprint to guide our efforts to proactively make more information available; and
    • complete updates to and implement an updated openness and transparency policy that will replace the CFIA's 2013 policy on transparency in regulatory decision making;
    • implement a new scientific publication policy, which reflects open science principles:
      • publish scientific data and an evergreen inventory of peer-reviewed scientific publications on the government of Canada open portal, and further encourage science professionals to post their profiles within the federal directory of scientists on; and
      • develop an on-going process for the pub
        Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
        Main Estimates
        Planned spending
        Planned spending
        Planned spending
        127,384,141 127,384,141 126,301,772 126,301,772
        lication of data on the Government of Canada open portal and increase the volume of data published on this portal.
Human resources (full-time equivalents - FTEs)
Planned full-time equivalents
Planned full-time equivalents
Planned full-time equivalents
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