Consistent and efficient inspections
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recognizes a good regulatory system as one that is consistent and efficient. This is why it replaced 14 sets of existing regulations with one which streamlines food safety requirements across sectors. The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) introduces consistent standards across the food industry in Canada, which helps to ensure food safety along the entire supply chain.
In order to ensure this legislation is applied nationally in a fair, consistent and predictable manner across industry, CFIA has made changes to its food inspection procedures. The implementation of a Standard Inspection Procedure, or SIP, has been implemented across food commodities.
SIP is a contemporary approach to inspections that represents a fundamental shift in our regulatory approach; with less emphasis on prescriptive-based requirements and more focus on safety outcomes. This means a stronger food safety system which enables industry to innovate and respond to emerging risks and developments. The Agency is making improvements in a number of areas to ensure regulated parties can be confident that inspections are being carried out consistently and efficiently.
- Firstly, all CFIA inspection staff have received the same training in how to implement the components of SIP, and how to use the new suite of operational and interpretive guidance. Interpretive guidance enables industry and inspectors to share a common understanding of what meeting the regulatory requirements looks like. To further support consistency, inspection staff across the country has access to peer support and subject matter experts when they have questions.
- Secondly, our inspectors are carrying new digital tools that give them better connectivity and online access to guidance and historical inspection records. A new Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP) allows inspectors to record findings, complete inspection reports, record images and share information with stakeholders while fully mobile. This increases the efficiency of inspections.
- Lastly, part of a consistent and efficient approach to inspection is to focus inspection resources on the areas of highest risk. CFIA is taking a risk-based planning approach which analyzes data collected by inspectors and assigns a level of risk to a regulated establishment. This impacts how often an inspector will conduct their inspections and where they will be focusing their efforts.
Stakeholders and Canadians can be assured that as the Agency introduces new regulations, procedures and program changes, the inspectorate is well prepared to carry out their duties in a consistent and efficient manner.
To learn more about the SFCR, visit our tools, information and resources.
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