Archived - Evaluation of Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs)

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) Evaluation Directorate is responsible for evaluating the relevance and performance of Agency programs, policies and initiatives. This effort supports informed decision-making and enhances performance and accountability.

The Evaluation Directorate is accountable to the CFIA's Evaluation Committee, chaired by the President. All evaluations must be reported to the Evaluation Committee and must be conducted in accordance with the Treasury Board's Policy on Evaluation. Evaluation projects are selected based on higher risk or significance during an annual Agency planning process, and then reflected in the Agency's Evaluation Plan, which is approved by the Evaluation Committee.


As part of the Agency's five-year evaluation plan, the CFIA conducted an internal evaluation of Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs). AMPs are intended to address non-compliance in areas in which corrective action requests are not enough, but where prosecution, seizure, or license suspension or revocation are not considered appropriate.

At the CFIA, AMPs are currently applied to select areas of the Health of Animals Act and Health of Animals Regulations and of the Plant Protection Act and Plant Protection Regulations.

The CFIA evaluated AMPs to assess their effectiveness and efficiency, and to provide guidance on the merits of expanding their application to other acts and regulations, as the AMPs Act currently allows. The evaluation assessed the relevance and performance of AMPs, by conducting

  • literature, document, file and case reviews,
  • analysis, and
  • interviews.

The scope of the study included the application of AMPs at the CFIA from 2000 to 2010.

Key Findings

The evaluation found that AMPs are often an effective compliance tool, successfully employed at the CFIA as a response to cases for which prosecutions would be excessively time-consuming and costly. The evaluation also found some opportunities for improvement and made two recommendations.

The CFIA continually improves its programs and protocols. Management's commitment to addressing recommendations made by internal evaluations like this one is a critical part of that continual improvement.

Recommendation 1: The CFIA should establish a plan to build learning into the delivery of current AMPs for their ongoing development, and for any expansion of the use of the tool. The plan should include the following elements:

  • a strategy to calibrate the level of investigation according to the risk of appeal;
  • a performance measurement strategy; and
  • a plan to incorporate ongoing performance measurement in the development of training of and communication with inspectors and investigators across areas.

The CFIA is developing a plan to incorporate ongoing learning into the delivery of AMPs, with the following elements:

  • Evaluation of training and training need assessments on a continuing basis, which will result in updated training material (ongoing).
  • A national approach to EIS file triage that recognizes the harm, history and intent of the violation as well as the afforded time dictated by statute to apply either a notice of violation (AMP) or prosecution. A component of this project will be to explore expectations for the appropriate use of AMPs, while taking into account the current and legislated categorization system and the need to adjust the current level of investigation based on risk of appeal (target completion date: December 2012).
  • A Performance Measurement Framework with the following indicators: number of appeals, number of paid AMPs and number of non-paid AMPs (target completion date: December 2012).
  • A strategy to improve information sharing. This strategy will include an analysis of each reported Tribunal and Ministerial Review (target completion date: December 2012).

Recommendation 2: The CFIA needs to ensure that all AMPs are operating under the key conditions identified, and that AMPs processes, guidelines and strategies are included in program specific enforcement strategies, where relevant.

  • The CFIA will review Schedule 1 of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties (AAMPs) Regulations. The goal of this review is to ensure clarity in the language used and to ensure that the classification of violations reflect current practices (target completion date: December 2012).
  • The CFIA is developing a suite of commodity-specific enforcement strategies that identify enforcement actions available to inspectors and provide guidance on what enforcement actions to apply. Enforcement actions are based on harm, history and intent of the violation. These strategies will give specific guidance on the enforcement tools available to inspectors under the Agency's various programs and legislation. The objective of the strategies is to promote a fair, graduated and consistent approach to addressing non-compliance identified by inspection staff. The strategies include food; agricultural inputs; and animal and plant health (target completion date: September 2012).

Complete report:

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