Conducting a meeting with the regulated party
Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements are being phased in over the following 12 to 30 months. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.
On this page
- 1.0 Purpose
- 2.0 Overview
- 3.0 Background
- 4.0 Authorities
- 5.0 Acronyms
- 6.0 Operational Procedure
- 7.0 Appendix
- 8.0 References
- Appendix A - Meeting with the regulated party invitation letter template
To provide the inspectorate with a standardized procedure to follow when conducting a meeting with the regulated party (MwtRP) as a regulatory response to non-compliance.
As per the Standardized Regulatory Response Process (SRRP), there is a broad range of tools available to the CFIA that may be used to respond to non-compliance by a regulated party (RP). The MwtRP is one of these available tools.
It should be noted that the MwtRP may not apply to all CFIA programs and inspectors should refer to program-related enforcement strategy or procedures.
The MwtRP is an administrative action used to respond to a contravention of legislation enforced by the CFIA. The MwtRP forms part of the internal administratively collected information gathered by the CFIA regarding compliance history. As per the SRRP, this information is documented to support enforcement actions if they are required in the future.
A MwtRP may be appropriate in instances where:
- there is a concern that the RP is not committed to addressing non-compliance or meeting their regulatory responsibilities and /or
- previous enforcement actions (for example, letter of non-compliance) have not been effective
The enforcement decision process outlined in the SRRP will help determine if a MwtRP is an appropriate response to the identified non-compliance.
The MwtRP is a distinct procedural administrative action that is different than the legislated meetings that are conducted:
- as part of another enforcement action, such as a legally required opportunity for the RP to be heard prior to losing privileges
- before lost privileges, such as permissions, are reinstated or
- as part of the regulated party's right to be heard (appeals)
A MwtRP is an administrative action established under policy that is not enabled by legislation enforced by the CFIA.
Meeting with the regulated party
letter Letter inviting the regulated party to a MwtRP (template found in Appendix A)
Standard Regulatory Response Process
6.0 Operational Procedure
6.1 The inspection manager initiates a MwtRP using the MwtRP invitation letter template in Appendix A
The MwtRP letter should be delivered to the RP with a copy of the associated inspection report(s) that resulted in its issuance.
The best practice is hand delivering the MwtRP letter and copies of associated inspection reports to the RP, preferably by the inspector who conducted the inspection. Upon delivery to the RP, the inspector should clearly explain the purpose of the meeting and set up a tentative time and date for the meeting.
If an inspector cannot hand deliver the MwtRP letter, it should be sent by registered mail or courier to the RP's mailing address. In these situations, the inspector should follow up delivery of the letter with a phone conversation to the RP to explain the purpose of and set up a tentative time and date for the meeting.
Since a MwtRP is an administrative action established under policy that is not enabled by legislation enforced by the CFIA, a RP cannot be compelled to attend such a meeting. A RP who refuses to participate in a MwtRP does not obstruct a CFIA inspector.
6.2 Delivery process for the MwtRP letter
The letter delivery process and associated interaction with the RP must be documented in inspector notes. The notes, along with a hard copy of the MwtRP letter are kept on file for future reference. If the MwtRP letter was not hand delivered to the RP, a hard copy of the delivery notice should be included in the file. A best practice is to file a copy of the original signed correspondence with the following information recorded on the back of it:
- time, date, method and location of delivery of the letter
- inspector(s) initials
- name of RP and/or company representative (if the MwtRP letter was hand delivered) and
- pertinent information that can be cross referenced to the inspector's notes
6.3 Conducting the meeting
The MwtRP is considered more formal than the regular / occasional discussions between inspection staff and regulated parties. Topics to be covered at the meeting include (where applicable):
- the section(s) of the Act(s) or Regulation(s) pertaining to the non-compliance
- a summary of the facts and a short description of the non-compliance
- the fact that the RP must take actions to correct the non-compliance and prevent future non-compliance
- the next steps of enforcement escalation that may be taken by the CFIA, if non-compliance continues or is repeated
- the date(s) by which effective corrective actions or measures must be in place to avoid enforcement escalation
- interim measures to be implemented to deal with any risk until compliance is restored
The CFIA is represented at the MwtRP by the IM and/or supervisor as well as the inspector(s) who conducted the inspection(s) leading up to the meeting. CFIA staff should have copies of pertinent inspection reports on hand in the event they may be required to clarify the agency's position.
The meeting notes are critical information to be used when faced with repeat incidents of non-compliance. These notes will be used to establish that the RP was clearly and personally advised of the non-compliance and regulatory requirements.
6.4 Tracking the MwtRP process
The continuing expansion of the Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP) across CFIA inspection programs will allow inspectors to capture information regarding the MwtRP process. Logging this information is required to document a RP's compliance history and ensure that non-compliance is documented as part of the compliance and enforcement continuum.
Inspection teams are encouraged to log the MwtRP process using a spreadsheet for inspection programs that have yet to be incorporated into DSDP.
Appendix A – Meeting with the regulated party invitation letter template
For inquiries related to this guidance document, please use established communication channels.
Appendix A - Meeting with the regulated party invitation letter template
(NAME OF REGULATED PARTY)
(NAME OF PERSON, TITLE)
(ADDRESS OF REGULATED PARTY),
Tel: (613) 555-5555
Subject: Meeting with the Regulated Party
On (DATE), an Inspector of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ("CFIA") conducted an inspection of your (TYPE OF FACILITY) at (ADDRESS WHERE INSPECTION OCCURED). The inspection revealed that (SUMMARY OF THE FACTS - short description of the non-compliance).
The facts mentioned above give the CFIA reasonable grounds to believe that this constitutes a contravention of (SECTION XX) of the (XX ACT/REGULATION) that states:
"QUOTE THE SECTION".
[NOTE: if more than one incident of non-compliance, describe them all and quote all necessary provisions. If a provision of the Act was contravened because a product did not meet standards in the Regulations, quote both the Act and Regulation provisions]
This letter is issued to invite you to a meeting to discuss the identified non-compliance(s) as well as the potential consequences of continued or repeated non-compliance.
If you wish to discuss the contents of this letter or need additional information concerning the above, please contact the undersigned.
(Name of program/section)
(Address of district office)
Tel: (613) 555-5555
Fax: (613) 555-5555
CC: As per existing area protocol
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