Language selection


Latest departmental messages to all CFIA employees

On this page

COVID-19 reminder: Remain vigilant and P.A.C.E. yourself

2020-08-20 | Infobulletin message

The CFIA cares about the health and safety of all employees. Whether you are at the office and following Agency protocols, at a third-party establishment and following their protocols, or working from home, community spread is still happening across Canada. We must all remain vigilant while the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

In a statement issued August 13, 2020, Canada's Chief Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, reminded all Canadians to follow public health measures. Dr. Tam says that COVID-19 is still circulating in Canada and we must not let down our guard.

The CFIA urges you to keep up the P.A.C.E. with the following measures:

P – Physical distancing
A – Avoid touching common surfaces and objects
C – Clean your hands often
E – Extra layer with a non-medical mask or face covering as needed

If you find yourself struggling, remember that there are many resources available to help you and your families. Reach out and seek help if you need it.

Consult the Mental health and wellness page on Merlin for more information, or refer to the Mental Health and COVID-19 Resource Sheet (internal access only - RDIMS 13927676).

See also:

Important updates regarding COVID-19 related Other Leave with Pay (code 699)

2020-08-06 | Infobulletin message

This message is further to the recent message from July 15, 2020 (Internal access only) regarding the reporting of COVID-19 related Other Leave with Pay (code 699).

Updated descriptions for COVID-19 related 699 leave

Descriptions for the five types of COVID-related 699 leave have now been updated in both the guidance document Recording COVID Leave 699 in PeopleSoft (internal access only – RDIMS 14029858) and the Approval of Leave Fact Sheet (internal access only – RDIMS 13670649). Be sure to use the updated descriptions from these documents as they replace all previous descriptions.

Reminder to submit bulk leave 699 requests weekly

As per recent guidance for recording COVID-19 related 699 requests in PeopleSoft (internal access only – RDIMS 14029858) be sure to submit your bulk leave 699 requests weekly. You will need one entry in PeopleSoft for each type of 699 leave requested and you must indicate the type of 699 leave being requested in the "comments" field.

Note: the same date cannot be used for multiple PeopleSoft entries.

More information

Detailed instructions for PeopleSoft entry of COVID-19 related leave 699 are available in the online PeopleSoft training, User Productivity Kit – UPK.

Requirement to wear non-medical masks or face coverings in all CFIA worksites

2020-08-05 | Express message

In accordance with direction from Health Canada's Public Service Occupational Health Program, non-medical masks or face coverings are required to be worn in all CFIA worksites across Canada, in spaces where a two-metre physical distance from other individuals cannot be maintained, especially in common areas and shared spaces such as in lobbies, hallways, lunchrooms, meeting rooms, photocopier rooms, elevators, washrooms etc.

While employees are permitted to wear their own non-medical mask or face covering, disposable non-medical masks will be made available in worksite entryways.

This new requirement does not imply that employees should be returning to the worksite. Only employees with a confirmed need to be on-site such as those performing laboratory or critical services, or those who have previously obtained their manager's approval to access or retrieve items, should be accessing CFIA premises.

When seated at a workstation, employees may remove their non-medical mask or face covering if they are able to maintain a two-metre distance from another individual.

Health authorities have indicated that the use of non-medical masks or face coverings are an important way to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. We encourage everyone to consult the guidelines on wearing non-medical masks to learn about the do's and don'ts of wearing a non-medical mask and how to put on, remove and clean non-medical masks.

Non-medical masks or face coverings alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play in protecting themselves and others by consistently and strictly adhering to physical-distancing guidelines and by practicing good hygiene and other public health measures, such as frequent hand washing. It is important to recognize that wearing a non-medical mask or face covering may not be possible for some people for medical or other reasons (for example, individuals who have respiratory issues, those who are not able to remove a mask without assistance, etc.). In line with physical distancing measures, many employees will continue to work remotely for some time to come.


CFIA will ensure that appropriate signage is placed across all CFIA worksites, including in any publicly accessible space, indicating the mandatory use of a non-medical mask or face covering. Directional floor markings are also being placed in all CFIA worksites (including in elevators) across Canada to promote physical distancing and help employees and visitors move safely within the workplace.

Local public health advice, including on the wearing of non-medical masks and face coverings, will continue to evolve and vary from one jurisdiction to the next. This will continue to be factored in the CFIA's plans and guidance will continue to be updated accordingly.

Updated guidance on business travel during COVID-19 pandemic

2020-07-30 | Infobulletin message

During the COVID-19 pandemic, international business travel has been suspended and domestic business travel is limited to duty travel for critical inspection services.

As the Agency launches its easing of restrictions/business resumption plans, updated guidance on travel (internal access only – RDIMS 14084426) is now available. Delegated managers must apply these guidelines when authorizing travel for business activities that cannot be further delayed or replaced by virtual presence.

More information

For general inquiries, contact the travel services team in Corporate Management Branch at

For inquiries related to leave usage when employees are in mandatory quarantine due to business travel, personal travel, or other HR issues, consult the Pandemic COVID-19 Managers' Guide (internal access only – RDIMS 12805218) or contact your Labour Relations advisor (internal access only).

COVID-19 temporary administrative measures: Public Service Dental Care Plan (PSDCP) and Pensioners' Dental Services Plan (PDSP)

2020-07-28 | Infobulletin message

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada is implementing temporary measures for the administration of the Public Service Dental Care Plan (PSDCP) and the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan (PDSP). These measures are designed to help lessen the impact of the suspension of non-emergency dental services and support the recommendations of public health authorities for physical distancing. These measures will be in effect for one year from a date determined by the Government of Canada once non-emergency dental services are again available. This date will be communicated once determined.

Note: All other PSDCP and PDSP provisions and coverage for members and eligible dependants remain the same during the COVID-19 pandemic. For additional information, consult the Public Service Dental Care Plan or Pensioners' Dental Services Plan page on

Temporary extension of dependent children's eligibility

The Government of Canada recognizes that coverage for some dependent children may expire during the suspension of non-emergency dental services preventing them from receiving required dental services or treatments.

Specifically, a dependent child may:

  1. reach the age of 21
  2. still be between the ages of 21 and 25 years, but no longer be attending an accredited school, college or university full time
  3. reach the age of 15, when they are no longer eligible for coverage for sealants
  4. reach the age of 21 for PSDCP participants or 19 for PDSP participants, when they are no longer eligible for coverage for the treatment of congenital or developmental malformations

The government is therefore implementing the following temporary measures for the PSDCP and the PDSP.

A child who was a plan member's eligible dependant under the plan before March 15, 2020, will have their coverage as an eligible dependent extended if:

  1. the child's age or educational status changed on or after March 15, 2020, such that they no longer meet the eligibility requirements under the plan
  2. the child attends a new appointment(s) for dental treatment within one year from a date non-emergency dental services are again available, as determined by the Government of Canada

For a dependant to be eligible for the temporary extension, the following must be provided to the appropriate plan administrator:

Paper claim form

Once the dental services are rendered, a paper claim form must be completed and submitted to the appropriate plan administrator.

This form must include:

How to submit your claim – PSDCP members

Canada Life (formerly Great-West Life) will accept paper claims for treatments or services under this temporary extension mailed to the address indicated on the PSDCP claim form. Canada Life will also accept a scanned copy of the completed paper claim form and accompanying documents uploaded electronically through the GroupNet website.

How to submit your claim – PDSP members

Sun Life will only accept paper claims for treatments or services under this temporary extension mailed to the address indicated on the PDSP claim form.

Important: An electronic claim submitted directly from a dental office or through the appropriate plan administrator website will not be accepted for this temporary extension.

Updated guidance on Other Leave With Pay (Code 699)

2020-07-15 | Express message

As a part of the exceptional measures implemented during the COVID-19 response, the Agency updated its provisions on the use of Other Leave With Pay (Code 699). These leave provisions are intended to support the health and safety of our employees and communities by decreasing the transmission of the virus.

All employees in good health should continue to work remotely, unless performing work activities which require on-site presence. As provinces and territories begin easing restrictions, daycare and summer camp programs will also be re-opening which will allow for some employees who previously could not work because of childcare obligations to resume work activities on a full or part-time basis.

This guidance will remain in effect until non-critical business is authorized to resume, or as otherwise indicated by the Agency. This may occur at different times across the country, in accordance with instructions from public health authorities.

Applying for Other Leave With Pay (Code 699)

Across the federal public service, leave code 699 is used to track the hours employees are not able to work due to COVID-19. Direction on the use of leave code 699 has been evolving as various situations and questions have emerged.

To provide clarity on how the leave code 699 applies to employees impacted by COVID-19, Other Leave With Pay (Code 699) is permitted when an employee is in any of the following situations:

COVID Illness

COVID Family care

COVID Technology

COVID Work Limitation


Managers and employees should discuss personal circumstances and how best to manage employee leave requests.

Easing of restrictions – Childcare / daycare

As daycare and summer camp programs are gradually being put into place, we expect that employees who previously could not work due to childcare obligations will be able to resume working.

If you remain unable to work your full hours due to childcare responsibilities, you should attempt to make alternative care arrangements. If that is not possible, discuss flexible work hours and/or remote work options with your manager. If that is not possible, you may be granted Code 699 leave.

Please consult the Approval of Leave Fact Sheet (internal access only – RDIMS 13670649) for specific leave scenarios.

Guidance for recording COVID-19 leave 699 in PeopleSoft

Please refer to the updated information sheet on Recording COVID-19 Leave 699 in PeopleSoft (internal access only – RDIMS 14029858) for guidance on this issue. Help text has also been added within the PeopleSoft Leave Self-Service application to provide guidance as you enter 699 leave transactions.

Summer vacation

With the upcoming summer vacation season upon us, it is now, more than ever, a time to look to schedule some time off, where feasible. Vacations are important for our physical and mental wellbeing, and help get our minds off work in a healthy way. While this year, summer vacation may look different than it has in the past given the current pandemic, taking vacation allows us to rest, disconnect from the workplace, rejuvenate and "recharge our batteries".

We expect that employees may want to take advantage of some much needed and well deserved time away and consider taking some of their vacation leave at this time to rest and rejuvenate. While employees on Other Leave With Pay (699) are all expected to be available by phone or email should the employer require them to attend a workplace meeting, or should the employer need to be in contact regarding workplace matters, employees on vacation leave are not required to be similarly available.

Generally, you are expected to use your vacation leave credits in the year that they are earned. Code 699 leave should not be used in place of annual vacation leave. Given issues with Phoenix and workload of compensation advisors, as in the core public administration, the CFIA adopted the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's approach to once again not process automatic cashing out of excess vacation and compensatory leave on March 31, 2020. If managers find that their employees are close to their maximum vacation carry over amount per year as per the collective agreement, they should, where possible be discussing a plan for them to use their allotment prior to the end of the year.

If employees wish to take vacation leave or compensatory leave over the summer months to rejuvenate and disconnect from the workplace, employees should speak with their manager or supervisor and submit the appropriate leave requests in accordance with their collective agreement or other terms and conditions of employment.

Reminder – Work remotely

All employees are to work remotely at this time unless otherwise directed by their manager. Only employees who are carrying out critical functions, with permission from their manager, are currently to work on site.

More information

Managers and employees can consult the Questions and Answers document (internal access only – RDIMS 14058245) for more information on Other Leave With Pay (699). Employees should speak with their manager if they have any questions.

A reminder to safeguard information and assets

2020-06-30 | Infobulletin message

You are the key to security. Whether in a lab, an office, serving industry and Canadians in the field or working remotely, it is important that we familiarize ourselves with the security information, measures, and practices that are relevant to our work. Incorporate security into your everyday routine using the tips below.

Information is just as valuable as CFIA's physical assets. Everyone is asked to work electronically as much as possible and keep paper documents to a minimum in support of information security, information exchange and greening government.

Document classification

Consult the Guide to the Transporting, Transmission, Storage and Destruction of Protected and Classified Information (internal access only – RDIMS 3707409) for information about protecting information and assets.

Understanding the classification of information will enable you to follow the proper protocols for use, storage, and transport of information.

Go digital

CFIA has been rolling out new tools and resources to make it easier to stay connected and share information while working at home, the office, or while working in the field. Know what information can be shared on new and existing platforms, and how to do so safely.

MS Teams

MS Teams can now be used with Protected B information. When collaborating using digital tools, employees should start with MS Teams and only use other unclassified platforms by exception. When using MS Teams at the CFIA, you must use a CFIA device, like your work tablet or handheld device. Over the next few months, additional security measures will be introduced into MS Teams, such as multifactor authentication and enforcement of the restrictions to use a Government of Canada device.

VPN or CFIA Network

If you are connected to the CFIA network remotely using the Virtual Private Network (VPN) or on a computer in a CFIA office, you can work on electronic documents up to Protected B. Protected C documents or higher must be on the Government of Canada Secret Infrastructure (GCSI) network. The GCSI network can only be accessed if you have an account and can access a GCSI terminal.


Protected B information and below can be stored in RDIMS. When storing protected information in RDIMS, make sure to enable the appropriate security profile and security access controls.

Outlook 2016

If encrypted, Protected B documents can be emailed in Outlook.

Do not set up rules to auto-forward email from your CFIA account to your home/Internet account and vice versa.

Digital signatures

Did you know that most CFIA internal forms can now be signed digitally? Using a digital signature is a quick and easy way to sign off on documents just as you would in the office, only without paper or printing. Type "digital signatures" into the search bar on the IT CCC landing page (Internal access only) for articles on how to use digital signatures.

Third-party platforms

Third-party platforms like Skype, Zoom, Slack, etc., are not secure spaces. Only unclassified information should be shared or discussed in these spaces.


An Agency authorized, password protected, encrypted USB device must be used to transfer/temporarily store Agency information. The use of an unauthorised device (such as a personal USB stick) places CFIA information at risk and is not an approved method of transferring information.

Anyone (employees, students, casuals, contractors, etc.) who has a legitimate business or operational need for a secure USB is encouraged to speak with their manager, and visit the Secure Portable Storage (Internal access only) page to learn how to request an encrypted USB device (Internal access only). A secure USB can be used for information up to Protected B.

Consult the Secure Portable Storage – Questions and Answers (Internal access only) or contact the Secure Portable Storage team at if you have any questions.


Storing information on your workstation hard drive (such as on your desktop) is discouraged because there is no backup. If a file is accidently deleted or the computer fails, the information will be lost. Store your information in RDIMS; it provides a backup solution and is the corporate repository.

Hard copies

If you must work with hard copy documents, safeguard the materials according to their document classification.

CFIA employees who are working remotely should not work to outfit their remote work site or home office with printers and scanners. In situations where the use of a mobile or personal printer is required for business purposes (such as to issue inspection reports or certificates), it is important to be aware of the security classification of the information and continue to manage the information accordingly.

As Protected C or higher hard copy information must be shredded using an RCMP approved shredder, or stored in an RCMP locked cabinet, hard copy use while working remotely is not possible. Speak with your manager if you are working remotely and are required to process Protected C and above hard copy information.

Let's chat

Be mindful of where you are having work-related conversations; only discuss protected or classified information in secure spaces. If you need to have a conversation that is Protected B or higher, you must have the conversation face-to-face or on a hard line phone line. Cell phones cannot be used for conversation of this classification level.


Secure your worksite

Any loss or theft of protected hard copy information or an asset (for example, a phone, laptop, or tablet) must be reported immediately to Corporate Security via a Security Incident Report (Internal access only), by email to or by phone at 1-866-431-1141. If you experience a problem sending the form from Desktop eForms, save a copy and send it directly to CFIA Security.

"Think before you click!"

COVID-19 related scams are on the rise. If you receive a suspicious email, delete it.

More information

If you have any questions, speak with your manager, or contact Corporate Security at: or IT Security at:

June Town Hall follow-up, COVID-19 survey results, easing of restrictions and more

2020-06-24 | Message from the President and Executive Vice-President

We are very pleased that, even during these unusual times, more than 4,000 of you took the time to join our virtual Town Hall held on June 17, 2020. You asked excellent questions, and, based on the poll results from that day, it is clear that we will continue to have these open forums on a regular basis moving forward.

If you were unable to participate last week, or would like to review the event, the transcripts from the June Town Hall (internal access only – RDIMS 14005577) are now available.

COVID-19 employee check-in survey

We also heard from you through the COVID-19 employee check-in survey (internal access only – RDIMS 13986973) that was conducted from June 1 to 9. You can also find the survey results on our new Easing Restrictions in the Workplace (Internal access only) SharePoint hub. Over 2,500 employees responded to the survey, and the respondents indicated that the most common themes affecting employees' abilities to work remotely are caring for family members, ergonomic office set-up, and access to the network. We are listening to your needs and concerns, and continue to follow up.

Message from Treasury Board on the easing of restrictions

The CFIA continues to plan and prepare for the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the workplace. How we respond to these ongoing changes will take into consideration many factors in an effort to reduce any negative impact on you. We are also coordinating our response with our federal government partners who are developing guidance on how best to respond. To better understand what some of this guidance may be, please see today's statement from the President of the Treasury Board.

This statement has confirmed that the CFIA's approach, which will be shared with employees, is in step with the Government's overall plan to increase access to federal worksites. Like the Agency, the Government's top priority is ensuring a safe and healthy work environment.

This unprecedented situation will challenge the public service on all levels for some time. However, it also presents a unique opportunity for us to shape the future of our work.

We will continue to adapt our plans to the particular circumstances of our diverse workforce, our worksites, our partners' and stakeholders' needs to the nature of our work, and involve bargaining agent representatives in our planning through discussion at Occupational Health and Safety tables.

As we said at the Town Hall, we are very proud of how CFIA employees have rallied during COVID-19 while maintaining important work so we have been able to deliver our mandate to Canadians.

Thank you. Stay safe. Stay strong.

Siddika Mithani, Ph.D.

France Pégeot
Executive Vice-President

All-staff virtual town hall, Managers' Guide, and Equipment Pick-up

2020-06-10 | Express message

We want to remind employees of the upcoming town hall, access to the Managers' Guide, and the checklist for accessing offices.

Virtual town hall

The next all-staff virtual town hall is on Wednesday, June 17, which coincides with National Public Service Week. The calendar invitation was sent to all staff last week. For more details about the virtual town hall, please refer to the invitation or the CFIA Express Message on Merlin.

Once again employees can ask questions via, which will open 24 hours before the event for those who wish to submit their questions ahead of time. You can use on any device or by opening a second window on your web browser. For instructions on joining as a participant please refer to the website.

Managers' Guide

The CFIA Pandemic COVID-19 Managers' Guide (internal access only – RDIMS 12805218), first created to provide support to management during the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, has been updated with the latest on topics such as:

All updates to the guide are indicated by yellow highlight.

Office Equipment Pick-up

A reminder to employees when picking up your office equipment from your office: please ensure you maintain physical distancing and public health measures, and follow the tips on the Checklist for picking up office equipment (PDF – 132 kb). For more details, refer to the Express message from June 5, 2020.

Updated guidance for picking up office equipment

2020-06-05 | Express message

The need to have employees work remotely continues to be key in the Government of Canada's effort to keep Canadians safe, and respect physical distancing direction from public health authorities. As the CFIA begins to ease into a new way forward for business normalization, the Agency recognizes the need to update the parameters put in place regarding access to office equipment and technology.

Updated instruction on equipping employees for remote work has been developed based on current guidance; instructions may change as guidance evolves.


The work spaces and equipment employees currently have in their remote working environments may not allow them to do their jobs comfortably and effectively. As a result, employees will be permitted to access their office space to retrieve critical work equipment, office supplies and their personal belongings.

Equipment that may be removed from the worksite includes:

With the exception of chairs, furniture (for example, desks, cabinets, sit-stand desks etc.) may not be removed from the worksite. If you have any duty to accommodate needs please discuss with your manager.

A comprehensive list of items can be found in the tracking form (internal access only – RDIMS 13247479). Employees seeking to remove equipment must complete this form and provide it to their manager for approval. If you have already removed equipment from your worksite and have not yet completed this form, please do so and provide it to your manager. Managers can submit completed forms to Managers are responsible for tracking all assets that their employees have removed from the office.

As we move to a digital, paperless work environment, printers are no longer considered as central to operational activity for the majority of staff. If, by exception, a printer is required, please obtain permission from your manager prior to removing a portable printer from the worksite.

Employees are reminded to make every effort to safeguard assets that are offsite so they can be brought back clean, and in working order.

Note that onsite IT services cannot be offered remotely. Only remote support can be provided. This includes IT equipment installation at home offices. It is an individual's responsibility to setup any offsite equipment. This must be considered before removing items from the worksite, or by managers before procuring additional equipment. Take a picture of where cords and cables are connected to docking stations, monitors and computers for more easy setup at your remote work location.


Employees must inform their manager if they intend to visit a worksite to retrieve equipment, supplies or personal belongings.

While on site, employees must maintain physical distancing and public health measures.

Employees are to take every precaution to prevent injury while removing items from the worksite. Items that are in excess of 10 kg require special care. Consult CFIA's Safe Lifting Factsheet (internal access only – RDIMS 13966635) on how to properly lift items to prevent injury.

If you are unable to retrieve equipment yourself, or you require additional support, consult your manager.

Limit time at the worksite.

A mobile device is recommended while on site in case of emergency.

If picking up a computer, make sure that you can log in to the network at the worksite. Remote IT password resets can only be done at the worksite because the computer must be connected to the network. By logging in, you will also automatically download any updates released since the last log in.

Reminders – work remotely

All employees are to work remotely unless directed by their manager. Only employees who are carrying out critical functions, with permission from their manager, are to work on site.

Safeguard assets and information

Employees are reminded of the need to practice increased vigilance and apply sound security practices in order to protect information and assets.

Everyone must adhere to the following important security measures:

For more information about protecting information and assets, consult the Guide to the Transporting, Transmission, Storage and Destruction of Protected and Classified Information (internal access only – RDIMS 3707409) or contact CFIA Security at:

More information

Managers and employees can consult the Questions and Answers document (internal access only – RDIMS 13966856) for more information on retrieving items for remote working. Employees can speak with their manager if they have any questions.

Follow-up from our virtual all-staff town hall

2020-05-28 | Message from the President and Executive Vice-President

Thank you to everyone who participated in our virtual all-staff town hall on May 20, 2020. It was great to connect with more than 3,500 of you. We appreciated your engagement via the platform, where we received more than 140 questions that touched on everything from business resumption to concerns of employees working in the field, leave, and more.

For those of you who were unable to join us, or would like a recap of the town hall, we have posted a high-level summary on Merlin. Full transcripts will be available shortly.

We will also be sending out an Agency-wide survey soon to help assess how COVID-19 impacts the CFIA's work.

During the all-staff town hall, we addressed questions that were trending on All of your questions have provided your senior management team with a lot of important food for thought. Main themes include:

Our business resumption plans will continue to evolve over the summer. Senior leaders will be informing you of developments pertaining specifically to your branches.

For those working in the Operations Branch, your Vice-President and Associate Vice-President will be asking you to complete a short SharePoint questionnaire in the coming days. Information collected will be used to help determine where resources and skill sets can be shifted to best meet the changing needs on the front lines.

This COVID-19 pandemic experience has taught us how important it is to keep lines of communications open. That is why we are already planning to hold another virtual town hall meeting in June. We look forward to connecting with you again soon.

Canadians are very fortunate to have CFIA employees working for them every day.

Stay strong. Stay safe.

Siddika Mithani, Ph.D.

France Pégeot
Executive Vice-President

AnyConnect VPN is now live for Windows 10 users

2020-05-20 | Infobulletin message

The Agency's new Virtual Private Network (VPN), known as AnyConnect, is now available for Windows 10 users. AnyConnect will allow up to 5,000 CFIA employees to work online, at the same time, with a faster connection speed. You can now access your email, network drives and tools you were using in the office. The best part is that there is no longer a need to limit your connection!

How do I connect?

The new system no longer requires you to use the Entrust IdentityGuard Soft Token to log in. Instead, employees with Windows 10 can log in through a new desktop icon called "Cisco AnyConnect" with the same myKEY (a combination of .epf file and password) used to connect to the Phoenix and Compensation Web Applications (CWA).

If you do not have a valid myKEY, you can follow these steps to request one. To complete the new connection process, follow the steps described in the connection instructions (internal access only - RDIMS 13878275).

If you are currently running Windows 7, you will continue to use SSLVPN with Entrust login to work remotely. Once upgraded to Windows 10, you will switch to AnyConnect.

Please note, we ask that you disconnect from the network before using video conferencing tools, as they will overload the network.

Connection issues?

Refer to the AnyConnect Questions and Answers (internal access only - RDIMS 13938115) for any issues. If you do not (currently) have access to RDIMS, ask your manager to provide you with a copy, or you can access the document in PDF form via Google Docs. If you are still experiencing issues connecting, contact the IT Centre TI.

Save the date! All-staff virtual town hall

2020-05-12 | Message from the President and Executive Vice-President

We invite employees across the Agency to join us on May 20, 2020 at 1 pm (EDT) for CFIA's all-staff town hall.

This virtual town hall will provide us the opportunity to connect more meaningfully with all the dedicated CFIA employees across the country, so we can engage with you in a more "real time" way. We will discuss the way forward as we begin to transition away from the current COVID-19 work measures into a new normal in the public service.

You will be able to participate via web broadcast which does not require access to the CFIA network, or by teleconference if that's easier. More details will follow.

During the town hall, you will also be able to ask us questions in an interactive way. Please be ready to send us your questions when the time comes!

Hope you can join us. We really look forward to hearing from you!

Siddika Mithani, Ph.D.

France Pégeot
Executive Vice-President

Message from the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer:
COVID-19 Leave provisions and re-opening of schools and daycares

2020-05-11 | Express message

Many of you have been asking how the re-opening of schools and daycares will impact current special leave provisions, particularly the use of 'Other Leave With Pay (699)' for family-related responsibilities related to daycare or school closures.

First, we would note that the guidance provided on the Employee Illness and Leave page on regarding childcare arrangements continues to be in effect, recognizing that a number of provinces and territories have not announced the re-opening of these facilities or are announcing gradual re-openings.

As schools and daycares are re-opened, we expect that employees who could not work due to childcare obligations will be able to return to work. We recognize, however, that there will be some instances where employees may be unable to work their full hours if their children are unable to return to school or daycare due to health reasons, limited availability of spaces or other restrictions put in place by provincial or territorial authorities. In these cases, employees may use 'Other Leave With Pay (699)' for hours not worked, if they are unable to make alternate childcare arrangements.

We would expect that employees continue to adopt a good faith approach in using this leave, keeping in mind their important role in providing services to Canadians. We encourage managers and employees to have a conversation regarding how best to manage leave requests in this context, including employees' ability to return to work or whether flexible working arrangements would be a reasonable alternative to taking leave.

Thank you for your continued collaboration and flexibility as we prepare for and respond to some easing of COVID-related restrictions

Public health authorities continue to signal that physical distancing requirements will remain in place even as some restrictions begin to ease in some places, we should all expect some combination of remote work and work at traditional worksites to continue for the foreseeable future.

Our new normal in the public service will therefore take some time to shape. The health and safety of federal employees remains paramount. Please note that we will be re-evaluating our guidance regarding special leave provisions in late June and we will update you on any further changes at that time.

Transitioning out of current COVID-19 work measures

2020-05-08 | Message from the President and Executive Vice-President

Dear colleagues,

This isn't the first time we have commended you for your continued and sustained efforts in rapidly adapting to crisis situations by rising to the challenge with an unwavering call to service to the benefit of all Canadians. We can't thank you enough for your steadfast commitment to supporting and delivering our day-to-day business.

So many of you have made significant sacrifices by working long hours and throughout the weekends, be it on the front lines, in laboratories or even from remote locations and makeshift offices. You've balanced family needs with the call of duty. You've adopted innovative ways to keep connected and stay engaged on work matters and to support colleagues, wherever they may be. We are so grateful for the resilience and dedication of all CFIA employees. We really have been in this together.

As provinces, territories and municipalities start announcing their gradual resumption of business strategies, we are sure most of you are already giving some thought to how the loosening of current public health restrictions might affect you and your families. Business resumption, transitioning back to the workplace and getting back to regular business operations does not mean everything will go back to how things were before the onset of this COVID-19 pandemic situation. We will all need a plan to better prepare for this eventuality.

To aid us in this effort, a CFIA Business Resumption Steering Committee was formed to develop needed guidance and advice. Proposals will be advanced regarding possible approaches to ensure continued operations while some of us transition back to the workplace, pivot back to the rollout of a broader range of activities and services (in addition to those deemed essential and critical) or continue operations that relate to the CFIA's core mandate. The CFIA will continue to follow the directives set forth by public health authorities and the Chief Human Resources Officer, and this committee will help piece it all together so that it's applicable to the CFIA operating context.

We are committed to abiding by public health guidance and will share with you information and instructions received that can help inform a safe transition from current exceptional work measures to our "new normal." Although the timeframe for this transition has not yet been set, rest assured that we will share relevant information as it becomes available and have a plan in place to allow for a facilitated reintegration. We hope you can all join our all-staff virtual town hall later this month where we will talk about reintegration and look forward to your questions. Stay tuned for details!

Thank you again for your continued dedication and service.

Stay strong. Stay safe.

Siddika Mithani, Ph.D.

France Pégeot
Executive Vice-President

Update: Temporary Public Service Health Care Plan Changes

2020-04-24 | Express message

As the Government of Canada continues to implement exceptional measures to curb COVID-19 and its impact on Canadians, they have updated guidance today on our health care plan.

Following the announcement on March 24 of temporary measures introduced to the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP), the Government of Canada is introducing additional temporary changes to the PSHCP. Taken together, these measures will help plan members and eligible dependents access health care benefits while minimizing social interaction with health care professionals. These temporary measures will remain in effect until non-critical business is authorized to resume or as indicated otherwise.

Working from home: tips for maintaining good mental and physical health

2020-04-21 | Express message

As we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are finding ourselves in a unique situation working from home on a full-time basis. Perhaps we were used to working from home on an ad-hoc basis, part-time basis, or not at all. Some of us may have other adults who are also working from home and/or children with us while we are working. It's safe to say that this is indeed a challenging time to manage all of these changes in addition to the stress of dealing with a pandemic.

Here are some helpful tips for working from home during this unprecedented time:

Consult the following resources for additional tips and information:

Remember to be kind to yourself. Whether you are working from home alone, or trying to balance your family responsibilities at the same time, this situation will not last forever.

If you are struggling, know that there are many resources available to help you and your families. Reach out and seek help if you need it. Consult the mental health support page or contact the Mental Health and Wellness team at: for more information.

Robert Ianiro
Vice-President, Human Resources

Your resilience is inspiring

2020-04-20 | Message from the President and Executive Vice-President

Dear colleagues,

Thank you for your continued dedication to safeguarding our food system and protecting Canada's plant and animal resources during this COVID-19 pandemic situation.

On April 14, Minister of Health Patty Hajdu and Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau announced $20 million for the CFIA to support critical food inspections that help ensure Canadians have continued access to safe, high-quality food to feed their families. The Prime Minister also highlighted the CFIA's work in his daily address to Canadians that same day. This $20 million investment will allow the CFIA to hire, train and equip additional staff (including recently retired CFIA inspectors and veterinarians) to assist our front line staff in conducting critical inspection activities, reassign staff from within the Agency to focus on critical services, and work closer with industry and trading partners to minimize supply disruptions during this crisis.

As we work through another week of continuing to serve Canadians as best we can during these challenging times, we want to reiterate – to all CFIA staff – that your resilience is truly inspiring. We have created a short video to further express our appreciation. We are not the only ones who think so highly of CFIA employees. Our social media channels – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – are filled with messages from Canadians who want to thank you for your service.

Minister Bibeau says, "I thank the whole team at the CFIA who are adjusting rapidly in spite of all the challenges presented by COVID-19. With these additional resources, and thanks to the valued collaboration between inspectors, business leaders and the provinces, CFIA is ensuring their critical services are available to the food sector."

Minister Hajdu wrote in her recent message, "One day, when this pandemic is in the rear view mirror, you will be able to say, 'I was part of the response for our country. My efforts made a difference. My work helped to find a way out. My contributions saved lives.'"

Stay strong. Stay safe.

Siddika Mithani, Ph.D.

France Pégeot
Executive Vice-President

Guidance for picking up office equipment

2020-04-03 | Express message

To continue helping keep employees safe, and respect physical-distancing direction from public health authorities, the CFIA is allowing only employees identified as delivering critical services to enter the workplace to collect the equipment necessary to perform their duties from home, and only when they can do so safely, and in consultation with their manager.

Please note only keyboards, mice, and docking stations may be removed. Chairs and monitors must remain in the office, however, in some cases monitors may be approved as critical equipment by the responsible manager. A tracking form needs to be completed and provided to your manager outlining all equipment that you wish to remove. If you have already removed equipment from your workplace, please complete this form and provide to your manager.

Employees are reminded to make every effort to safeguard assets that are offsite so they can be brought back clean, and in working order.

If you are not performing critical work, but are working at home and require ergonomic equipment, please discuss your needs with your manager. Managers will assess and determine how to best meet individual employee needs.

Those working from home are encouraged to follow best practices for ergonomics and frequent breaks are encouraged to help alleviate additional stress, and prevent musculoskeletal strains.

Please note that only remote IT services can be offered to support equipment that is outside the worksite.

The CFIA will continue to post regular updates on the Agency's page for COVID-19. Be sure to visit it daily to get the most up-to-date information.

Meeting the challenges

2020-04-03 | Message from the President and Executive Vice-President

Dear colleagues,

In times like these, open and ongoing communication is key to bringing people together, even when they may be working apart. We may still have many weeks or months of uncertainty ahead of us, so it becomes increasingly important to use the tools available to us to keep the lines of communication open so we can continue to face the challenges ahead together.

Many of you are on the front lines delivering critical services on behalf of the CFIA, to the benefit of all Canadians. Others may not be on the front lines, but the ongoing support, advice and guidance you continue to provide from your makeshift offices are just as critical. We may not see you, but we know you are all out there continuing to respond to the call of duty. For that, we truly thank you. We are confident that your dedication, expertise and professionalism will guide the CFIA through these challenging times.

End of fiscal year

As we focus our efforts on the COVID-19 response and the days and weeks seemingly roll into one, we just wanted to highlight that we marked the start of a new fiscal year on April 1, 2020. The Guide to Financial and Administrative Activities Applicable during the COVID-19 Situation (internal access only - RDIMS 13007865) has been created to support CFIA staff, especially those involved in handling public expenditures. It recommends a flexible approach using electronic approval and outlines changes to the year-end timetable to help employees respond appropriately and effectively. If you do not (currently) have access to RDIMS, ask your manager to provide you with a copy, or you can access the Guide in PDF form via Google Docs.

Your performance reviews

We learned that the deadline for Public Service Performance Management (PSPM) year-end reviews was also extended until May 31, 2020. This extra time may afford you a renewed opportunity to reflect on the drivers for your success and to elaborate on your professional achievements. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to send our Executive Group Services and Leadership Development colleagues an email.

Your mental and physical health

An important COVID-19 and Mental Health message was shared this week by Robert Ianiro, Vice-President, Human Resources, and Joanne Riendeau, Mental Health Champion. It identifies a list of resources that can serve to help you achieve and maintain good mental health, especially in circumstances such as these where some of us are facing increased periods of social isolation.

We are all finding ways to adjust – in both our professional and personal lives. We just want to remind you that it's important that you continue to take good care of yourselves and of your loved ones, too.

Stay strong. Stay safe.

Siddika Mithani, Ph.D.

France Pégeot
Executive Vice-President

COVID-19 and Mental Health

2020-04-01 | Express message

During this unprecedented time of uncertainty that we are all facing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to reach out to all CFIA employees to remind you that you are not alone.

Our work and home lives have changed dramatically in a very short time and we are being asked by our health care professionals to physically distance ourselves from others and remain at home when possible.

Let's not underestimate how these changes can affect us, especially during a stressful time.

It's normal to experience a variety of emotions as our routines have been shaken in a big way and this can cause anxiety, stress, loneliness, even fear among many of us in different aspects of our lives.

Although we are apart, we are not alone – there are a variety of resources available to support you and your families during this difficult time.

You can check out the Mental Health section on the CFIA COVID-19 web page for more detailed information on the many resources available to you.

If you are a manager/supervisor, we ask that you please ensure your employees who don't have access to their emails are provided with this important information.

Please reach out for help if you need it. Let's remember to take care of ourselves, be kind to one another and keep the lines of communication open. We will get through this together.

Robert Ianiro
Vice-President, Human Resources

Joanne Riendeau
Mental Health Champion

Changes to @Canada email and Windows passwords

2020-03-27 | IT Centre

To help ease some of the challenges with working effectively during the COVID-19 outbreak, IT Client Care with Shared Services Canada have:

Effective April 1, you will not be forced to change your email password or your Windows password for at least six months.

You may continue to change these passwords proactively at any time. If you have recently received a password expiry notification that you have not acted upon, please proceed with changing your password. See IT Client Care Centre on Merlin for instructions to change your email password and change your Windows password.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the IT Centre TI.

IT Centre TI
Telephone: 1-855-545-4411

Thank you for your service

2020-03-27 | Message from the President and Executive Vice-President

Dear colleagues,

These are challenging and trying times. Our Agency – indeed Canada and the world – has never faced a pandemic of this magnitude before. CFIA employees are going above and beyond to serve Canadians while working outside of 'normal' environments.

We want you to know that your hard work and continued dedication are appreciated. Some of you continue to work in the field, performing needed services. Some of you are working in makeshift offices at home. Some of you are also juggling child care.

To all of you, we say thank you.

You may be wondering what's next in this evolving COVID-19 outbreak. Our commitment is to keep you informed. We continue to update the CFIA web page Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest updates for CFIA employees, which is on our external site so that everyone can access it.

We will share important information as soon as we have it.

Please take care of yourself and your loved ones.

We will get through this together.

Siddika Mithani, Ph.D.

France Pégeot
Executive Vice-President

Temporary Public Service Health Care Plan Changes

2020-03-25 | Express message

The Government of Canada has implemented temporary changes to the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP). These new measures are designed to help plan members and their eligible dependents access healthcare benefits, while at the same time, minimizing their social interaction with healthcare professionals as well as supporting the social distancing directive.

In summary, these measures include:

These temporary changes will be in effect until April 24, 2020, with the possibility of being extended.

More information on these changes is available on Plan members who require assistance with travel-related medical emergencies in Canada and the United States should call Allianz toll-free at 1-800-667-2883. Those in all other countries should call Allianz collect at 519-742-1342.

Update on COVID-19 – March 23

2020-03-24 | Express message

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve rapidly, as does the direction and guidance being provided to you. You have continued to demonstrate professionalism and dedication during these difficult times, from the field to the labs, office, and those working from home, you have all done fantastic work.

In an ongoing effort to provide you with up-to-date direction, we would like to provide you with additional guidance to assist you in managing the unfolding situation and to keep you informed of what actions are being taken to keep employees safe in the workplace.

Guidelines for mass gatherings

With this in mind, we would like to remind you that gatherings have been discouraged in order to limit the spread of the virus and guidelines for mass gatherings have been developed for event organizers and planners to make decisions. Numbers of people constituting a gathering in this context has been reduced from 250 to 50 by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and even to 5 in certain provinces.

As long as employees or visitors to the workplace are not required to be in close contact with each other, such as in a meeting room, a waiting area or a boardroom, the situation is not considered a gathering. Both PHAC and Health Canada's Public Service Occupational Health Program (PDF 491kb) (PSOHP) have provided specific advice that applies to the workplace.

General advice includes:

We reiterate that managers are to consider on-site work only if the work meets the definition of critical service and working remotely to support it is not feasible.

The above interpretation is in line with instructions from national and local health agencies as of March 22, 2020. Evaluations of each workplace, in collaboration with the departmental OHS policy committee, the departmental workplace committee or the health and safety representative, can assist in ensuring that the guidance provided by PHAC and PSOHP (Health Canada) is applied and can support managers in determining how to continue delivering critical services as required.

Pandemic COVID-19: Managers' Guide

There have been additional updates to the Pandemic COVID-19 Managers' Guide. Changes are identified with a double asterisk (**). Managers should take the time to review this document to ensure they are prepared to support and respond to employees seeking guidance during this evolving situation.

Below you will find three easy-to-use factsheets to further help you for the following complex circumstances:

Financial and Administrative Guidance

A helpful financial and administrative guide has been created to support CFIA staff with these matters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidance document covers flexible approaches and acceptable electronic approvals for transactions that impact financial items such as the National Accounts Receivable Service Centre and Financial Management Advisory Services. It will allow you to respond effectively during this crisis within a responsible framework for controls over public expenditures.

Please take a moment to review the Guide to Financial and Administrative Activities Applicable during the COVID-19 Situation within your teams.

CFIA Pay Services

We wish to remind you that pay operations are critical services, and are continuing as usual.

However, to support CFIA employees during this crisis, the deadline for employees to submit timesheets for basic pay has been extended to March 24 at 4 pm (EDT) for pay on April 1, 2020.

Additionally, managers delegated with the authority pursuant to section 34 must review and approve these transactions by March 25 at 2 pm (EDT). For financial officers with delegated authority pursuant to section 33, they must review and approve by March 25 at 9 pm (EDT).

Fleet Services

Given the critical services provided by our employees, we are exploring effective ways to balance social distancing recommendations while maintaining services essential to Canada's safe food supply.

Effective today, fleet vehicles will be assigned to a dedicated employee to limit exposure and reduce unnecessary office visits.

How it works

Managers will assign a vehicle to a specific employee as required. The employee will keep keys and log books with them, and park the vehicle at their home to allow for easier access to transportation to inspections.

In the event that there are not enough fleet vehicles to be individually assigned, managers can consider requests for private mileage.

The fleet policy continues to apply to these vehicles and they are not to be used for personal use. Vehicles are to be used by one person only. Carpooling or passengers of any kind are not permitted. The taxable benefit for having an assigned vehicle will be waived during this period until otherwise notified.

Parking costs for private vehicles

Employees who normally take public transit to work can take their own vehicles instead, to help practice social distancing. We understand that this means additional costs for parking, though. We will reimburse employees for parking fees to reduce any financial impact of having to go into the office.

Should you have any questions, please discuss with your manager.

More information

You are strongly encouraged to review all the latest guides and tools regularly to ensure you have the most up-to-date information available to you.

You should also consult, which serves as a hub for employees about Agency specific information, and we ask that you continue to stay up to date through the and websites.

Update on COVID-19 – March 20

2020-03-20 | Message from the President and Executive Vice-President

In light of the unprecedented public health and economic crisis our country is currently facing, the CFIA is being called upon by global partners, businesses and Canadians to respond with great urgency and speed to safeguard our food system and our plant and animal resources.

France and I are grateful to all of you for your exceptional efforts and incredible dedication to carrying out the Agency's important mission and working to respond to the COVID-19 situation. It's remarkable how, in such a short time, so many of us at the CFIA–and across Government– have come together for a common purpose: to continue to meet the needs of the Canadians we serve and of the industry members that we work with and regulate.

The CFIA has long been recognized as a strong, science-based regulator, but a severe outbreak like the one Canada is currently experiencing is putting the CFIA's normal contingency plans to the test. The CFIA is having to draw on past experiences and emerging information about the threats of this novel virus to inform its operating framework.

We are committed to providing you with the latest information on COVID-19 as soon as possible. However, we understand that working from home is making it difficult for many of you to consistently access your work email accounts.

Information about students and term employees

Further to our message of March 15 instructing employees to work from home whenever possible, there have been a number of questions from managers and employees about what this means for students and term employees of less than three months who do not have access to paid leave.

For employees who started working before March 18, 2020, please note the following:

Employees whose first day of work was on or after March 18, 2020 will not be eligible for paid leave.

This guidance remains effective until April 10, 2020, at which time it will be reassessed. If you have any questions, please contact your manager.

Stay up to date

Stay up to date by following any of our Twitter accounts: @InspectionCan, @InspectionCanFR and @CFIAPresACIA.

You can also visit the Public Health Agency of Canada web site for health information regarding the Novel Coronavirus including some of the prevention methods you can adopt today.

Protect yourself and ask for help

One way on-the-ground staff can protect themselves in situations with a serious infection risk is by following the basic hygiene processes as well, including completing frequent hand-washing, coughing into your elbow, abstaining from hand-shaking, as well as social/physical-distancing practices.

Don't forget to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or are concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to care for yourself or your family. Learn more about COVID-19 and mental health at work based on information prepared by the Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace. You also have at your disposal the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) that can help during these strenuous times. Call them at 1-844-880-9142 (24/7) or 1-877-338-0275 (TTY).

These are exceptional times; the COVID-19 outbreak is creating challenges for everyone in our society. Dignity and respect must remain at the core of our efforts to flatten the curve. It is time to stand together and support one another. We must all look out for each other and lend a helping hand where we can, especially to those bearing the greatest burden.

Thank you for all that you are doing

As our skilled workforce continue to do what they always do so well on the ground to minimize the negative impacts of a rapidly evolving situation on Canadians, businesses and the economy, France and I want to acknowledge the behind-the-scenes orchestrators of CFIA's primary response efforts: our team of solid professionals in the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), as well as the four Incident Command Systems in the Areas. These teams are composed of representatives from all corners of the Agency and work in close collaboration with each other. In addition, our colleagues in communications have also been working tirelessly to keep up with the rapid pace of news and disseminating key information about potential impacts on employees and services to industry while responding to inquiries and reassuring Canadians about food safety.

If you have any questions related to this, please contact your specific branch representatives who can help in redirecting inquiries to the ICS.

We recognize that employees from across the Agency, from coast to coast to coast, are stepping up to address the call of duty, be it:

It truly is a collective effort and together, we will get through these difficult times.

Siddika Mithani, Ph.D

France Pégeot
Executive Vice-President

CFIA update regarding COVID-19

2020-03-17 | Statement

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is closely monitoring the developments related to COVID-19 and is prioritizing the health and safety of its employees and those working in the food production industry. In an effort to balance safety with service, the CFIA will continue to make adjustments in the coming days to fulfill its mandate of safeguarding Canada's food, animals and plants.

Further, CFIA employees, including inspectors, who are exhibiting any signs or symptoms of illness have been advised to stay home and will be excluded from all work activities including establishment inspections. The CFIA takes this situation seriously and has advised all employees that they have a duty to follow the guidance of health authorities to protect public health. If a business becomes concerned that a CFIA inspector has reported for work and is sick, or exhibiting symptoms he or she is sick, the business should contact the inspector-in-charge.

In line with public health guidance, the CFIA has suspended all non-essential work travel outside of Canada and if employees have travelled outside of Canada they have been advised to stay home and self-isolate for at least 14 days.

The CFIA recognizes the importance of domestic production as well as imports and exports of food, plants and animals. The Agency is committed to maintaining critical inspection services and has a plan in place to address potential inspector absenteeism.

This situation highlights the importance of continued collaboration and communication between CFIA and industry. As this situation continues to evolve based on the latest information from public health authorities, the Agency asks for your continued patience, collaboration and flexibility.

Food safety

The CFIA has strong measures in place to ensure the safety of Canada's food supply. There is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of COVID-19. The Agency continues to monitor the current situation closely in collaboration with our federal, provincial, territorial and international partners. If the CFIA becomes aware of a potential food safety risk, appropriate actions will be taken to protect Canada's food supply.

Imports and exports of food to and from Canada are not currently affected. Should the situation change, the CFIA will keep industry updated and share information as it becomes available.

All Canadian federally licensed establishments adhere to rigorous, internationally accepted standards and food safety requirements including strong sanitation and hygiene requirements.

The World Health Organization has issued precautionary recommendations including advice on the need for all Canadians to follow good hygiene practices during food handling and preparation, such as washing hands, cooking meat thoroughly and avoiding potential cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods.

For the latest and most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit

Plant and animal health

There is currently no evidence to suggest that this virus is circulating in animals in Canada. Imports and exports of plants and animals to and from Canada are not currently affected. As more information becomes known, the CFIA will take any necessary action to protect the safety of Canada's plants and animals.

There have been no reports of COVID-19 infection in livestock species anywhere. The CFIA is conducting research on domestic animal species (pig, chicken, turkey) to determine their susceptibility to COVID-19 and validate test methods and the potential for transmission between animals.

As always, producers should follow normal biosecurity measures by continuing to consider the potential risks associated with various people entering their business premises and implement measures to manage these visits.

For more information on on-farm disease prevention, producers are encouraged to consult the National Biosecurity Standards and Biosecurity Principles and National Farm-Level Biosecurity Planning Guide.

Additional information is available from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) (questions and answers on COVID-19).

Alert - Email Malware Campaign – COVID-19

2020-03-16 | IT Centre

The practice of leveraging worldwide events by basing malicious emails on current important topics has become common among cyber criminals. Such a strategy is able to trick more victims into clicking malicious links, opening malicious files, and/or give out confidential information.

With the worldwide spread and as new global stories emerge on the coronavirus by the hour, bad actors are again trying to confuse online updates with phishing scams and destructive malware.

Look out for scam topics, such as:

There will be a number of scams related to this, so "Think Before You Click!"

More information

For more information, or if you have received an email you are unsure of, contact:

IT Centre TI
Telephone: 1-855-545-4411
IT Client Care Centre

Working from home? Limit your use of Secure Remote Access

2020-03-16 | IT Centre

As indicated in our earlier message, the number of connections to Secure Remote Access is limited. We are monitoring the number of active connections and we anticipate that we will reach capacity this afternoon. Once our capacity has been reached, additional connections will be refused which will prevent your colleagues from connecting.

To ensure that mission-critical business can continue and to maximize productivity individually and collectively, it is imperative that you follow these guidelines while using Secure Remote Access:

Use remote access as per the following schedule:

Thanks for your cooperation.

IT Centre TI
Telephone: 1-855-545-4411
IT Client Care Centre

Update on COVID-19 – Leave and Work Arrangements

2020-03-15 | Message from the President and Executive Vice-President

Dear colleagues,

In an effort to ensure the continued health and well-being of our employees and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak, we would like to update you on key changes to flexible work arrangements and leave requirements.


The Prime Minister advised Canadians to avoid international travel. In light of this, employees are asked to take into consideration public health travel advisories as per the active travel health notices and declare any intent to travel to their manager, this includes cross-border shopping.

Individual cases may have to be examined on their own merits (for example if you willingly choose to travel to affected areas contrary to public health advice.)

The advice on leave provisions contained in the FAQ document online has now been amended as follows:

Employees returning from international travel, including the United States: Effective immediately, to ensure the health and safety of all employees, any employee returning from international travel, including the United States, is not to return to the workplace for 14 days from their return date into Canada.

Employees that are required by public health officials to self-isolate: If in good health and able to work, you will be asked to discuss with your manager the option of telework. If that is not possible, you can be granted "other leave with pay (699 code)" as per your collective agreement.

If you are at a higher risk than normal during a COVID-19 pandemic due to a predisposed medical condition, an immune deficiency or an identified condition, such as pregnancy, please discuss with your manager and refer to direction in the CFIA manager guide.

Daycare and School closures

Employees whose children cannot attend school or daycare due to a closure or because of attendance restrictions in place in relation to the coronavirus situation.

Employees will:

We believe the above takes into consideration the collective agreements, continuity of service to Canadians as well as reflecting the imperative we all have to follow public health advice as Canada continues its containment efforts.

Flexible work arrangements

We are requesting employees follow these guidelines to maximize internet bandwidth, support remote work and prioritize network access, specifically:

Further, you can follow these tips to maximize collaboration within and across teams, including:

Mental health

We are all seized with the importance of supporting the mental health of our employees navigating this rapidly changing environment.

We encourage you to seek the help you need by contacting the 24-7 Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) or accessing care through the Public Service Healthcare Plan (PSHP).

As the situation evolves, we would like to underscore that changes in the public health advice could lead to a different approach.

Finally, please continue to stay up to date through the and GCIntranet websites, as well as the Managers' Guidelines document on Merlin, which is updated as required.

Thank you and take care of yourselves.

Siddika Mithani, Ph.D.

France Pégeot
Executive Vice-President

Update on COVID-19

2020-03-13 | Message from the President and Executive Vice-President

We are very aware that the COVID-19 outbreak is causing a great deal of anxiety among employees. We want to assure you that we are taking every possible measure to ensure the health and safety of our employees and their families.

The current situation has escalated since we issued our previous message on March 6, as indicated by school closures, travel restrictions, and other measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19 in recent days.

Our Agency is putting in place the following measures to continue to protect the health of employees:

To keep informed about this evolving situation, we encourage you to consult the CFIA COVID-19 Merlin page which serves as a hub for employees about Agency specific information.

Managers and employees must be consulting, which includes general public health guidance on travel on a daily basis. Information is also available on the Government of Canada COVID-19 Information Line at 1‑833-784-4397.

We are committed to monitoring the situation and have requested more regular updates from the ICS to help ensure national consistency and timely actions. 

We will continue to keep you informed and provide you with the support you need.

Siddika Mithani, Ph.D.

France Pégeot
Executive Vice-President

Update on 2019 novel coronavirus

2020-03-06 | Message from the President and Executive Vice-President

Given the increasing number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases being reported worldwide, we wanted to give you an update on the situation. While the overall risk to Canadians remains low, we continue to work with other departments to monitor the situation and ensure that our workplace is healthy and safe for everyone.

We remind employees, particularly those who have travelled outside of Canada, to be vigilant in monitoring their own health. Anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay home, inform their manager, and contact a healthcare professional for advice and guidance.

You can help prevent the spread of infections by washing hands regularly, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve, and avoiding contact with people who are sick.

While the overall risk to Canadians remains low, all departments are taking stock of their organizational readiness should the situation change. At the CFIA, this includes updating branch Business Continuity Plans and employee contact information.

All employees should keep the Emergency and Business Continuity Hotline number (1-855-227-2342) handy as this is our main communication channels in case of emergencies. This number is available on the back of your security pass.

CFIA's Incident Command System on COVID-19 will continue to monitor the situation and provide any updates as necessary.

In the meantime, you can now access Government of Canada and CFIA-specific information on COVID-19 by visiting our new Merlin page. We encourage you to visit that page to get the latest updates on the situation.

Siddika Mithani, Ph.D.

France Pégeot
Executive Vice-President

Information about 2019 novel coronavirus

2020-01-27 | Message from the President and Executive Vice-President

This message is to provide employees with information related to the 2019 novel coronavirus (referred to as 2019-nCoV), which was first identified in Wuhan, China, in late December 2019.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has been working with international partners, including the World Health Organization, provincial and territorial counterparts, and other federal departments and agencies to monitor and respond to this evolving situation.

Although the risk to Canadians continues to be low, Canada has identified cases of coronavirus in Ontario. Our healthcare system is well prepared to handle the virus and is taking the appropriate steps to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus in Canada.

Health Canada's Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP) has issued a general advisory to federal employees. It suggests taking general precautions to reduce risks of infection, such as washing hands often with soap and water, coughing or sneezing into one's arm or a tissue, avoiding touching one's eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. The PSOHP continues to work with federal departments and agencies to provide occupational health advice for federal employees working at points of entry (e.g., airports) and other key workplace settings.

Since this is an evolving situation, we recommend you visit for the latest information. You can also follow Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, on Twitter for up-to-date information.

Siddika Mithani, Ph.D.

France Pégeot
Executive Vice-President

Date modified: