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The five key strategic priorities outlined in the framework remain the focus of everything we do.

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking back over the past year, we should be extremely proud of how far we have come. It's been a monumental year in many ways with several key strategic initiatives coming to fruition - from publishing the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations SFCR that come into force in January , to moving from theory to practice with incremental implementation of the Establishment-based Risk Assessment ERA Model, to releasing a growing number of online services for industry through My CFIA. We also tested new inspection procedures in hog slaughter establishments in two facilities in Alberta and rolled out the first wave of new digital devices for employees across the country, to help them work more efficiently and effectively.

In addition to the great work done under the key strategic priorities, the CFIA made changes to its governance and organizational structures to respond to key challenges facing the Agency - such as the need to continuously innovate and improve our ability as a regulator to safeguard food, animal and plant health, and to better support our efforts to maintain and grow market access for Canadian exporters. These changes include:.

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Our focus on engagement, transparency and innovation is evident in how we are addressing change at the Agency. We have been starting small and engaging with the right people through collaborative approaches like "team sprints" and "hot spots" for specific challenges and making adjustments along the way to address issues before implementing more broadly.

The recently formed i-Zone team also reinforces a culture of innovation and collaboration by providing a space to develop and test hypotheses, explore innovation opportunities and share information and results across the Agency. The i-Zone will create more appetite to experiment, to acknowledge and support acceptable risks, and to learn from our successes and failures by tapping into our greatest asset, our employees.

Finally, we know that our success today and in the future depends on putting people first. Change is intrinsic to our organization, and we must continuously challenge and improve our technology and processes to remain current.

Safety Statement and Risk Assessment

As we plan and implement new initiatives, we must recognize the impact change has on our people and provide support to those affected. Just as we did when implementing a pilot in hog slaughter establishments in Alberta, we will continue to provide training and look for opportunities to match people's skills to new roles and opportunities when jobs change. Over the coming months, we will also engage our employees on renewing our core values to reflect some of the new circumstances in our environment such as our focus on engagement, innovation and service delivery.

Renewing and discussing our Agency values is important because they anchor our behaviors and guide us in our goal of continuous improvement. Outcome-based regulations and new compliance tools that focus on safety, allowing industry to innovate and the Agency to adapt in response to emerging risks. Over the next three years, the CFIA will focus its efforts on moving several proposed regulations through the federal regulatory development process, from publishing in the Canada Gazette to coming into force.

The CFIA will continue to develop the necessary training, tools and guidance along the way and will engage and inform its employees, industry and other stakeholders so they are aware and ready for new requirements in the list of regulations below:. Last year, our goal was to advance the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations SFCR , a shift that would see us move from 14 sets of commodity-specific regulations to one comprehensive set of regulations that are outcome-based.

This was an ambitious goal for the organization, one we had been working towards for many years. We are proud to say that we accomplished it. This is an incredible milestone for the organization. These regulations represent the largest regulatory reform ever undertaken by the Government of Canada and a landmark multi-year, multi-branch effort for the CFIA to modernize, strengthen and simplify Canada's food safety rules.

Safe food handling practices and procedures

To support the coming into force of these regulations, significant effort is being invested in developing resources and training material for our field inspection staff as well as updating our regulatory guidance for internal and external audiences. Heading into coming into force, this work will continue so we can ensure our employees have the necessary tools and training to carry out their duties under the new regulations. Similarly, through compliance promotion, the CFIA will continue to promote awareness and understanding among regulated parties so they can meet their responsibilities when it comes to food safety requirements in Canada.

For example, as part of our compliance promotion activities the CFIA has made information, interactive tools and videos available on enrolment and licencing on its website. Empowering our inspectors to make outcome-based decisions will be important for our success. In addition to the great strides the Agency has made with SFCR, the CFIA has also been working hard at advancing its modern regulatory toolkit on the plant and animal front.

Looking forward, the Agency will focus its efforts on continuing to modernize regulations that protect Canada's food, plant and animal resource base. Supported by Budget , the Government of Canada intends to pursue a regulatory review and reform agenda focused on supporting innovation and business investment. The goal is to make Canada's regulatory system more agile, transparent and responsive, so that businesses can act on new opportunities and be more competitive. This review process is a great opportunity for the Agency to work with key stakeholders, in particular industry, to identify some of the other major issues and innovations that could shape our future.

Better use of our data, reports and surveillance to identify trends, allowing us to focus on risk and support program design, planning, compliance and enforcement efforts. Risk-based decision-making is at the core of the Agency's everyday work. We made great strides in this area over , by standing up Business Line Management Boards to oversee planning and resource allocation for the food, animal and plant business lines and advancing the development of a risk management approach. The Agency used scientific data from the Comparative Risk Model an analytical tool that uses data from external and internal sources to compare risks across and within business lines , and data from the Establishment-based Risk Assessment ERA Model to develop tactical work plans and guide inspection activities.

Continuing to build risk information will be key to harnessing our capacity to target areas where there are higher threats. As part of the Agency's efforts to modernize its inspection system, the ERA Model was developed to evaluate food establishments based on the level of risk they represent to consumers. The model uses data to determine the level of risk to inform oversight required by inspectors.

Towards systemic and contextual priority setting for implementing the Agenda | SpringerLink

The development of the model also drew upon the experience of other countries that have used a similar approach to risk assessment, and considered scientific literature and leading edge modelling technology. Data is being collected in other commodities, including fish and seafood, honey, and egg products. Data is starting to be used in program design in dairy and risk-based inspections will rollout as results become available for each commodity. This memorandum enables the sharing of innovative science and risk assessment methods and strengthens scientific cooperation between the CFIA's laboratories and 11 French laboratories.

Looking forward, we will continue developing and improving our existing risk assessment tools. We will also look at other ways to further the Agency's business intelligence and make use of new technologies. For example, in the coming year, the CFIA will partner with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada ISED and the Blockchain Research Institute to conduct a case study to understand this technology and the implications it has for the agriculture and agri-food industry as Blockchain represents significant potential to trace long and complicated supply chains.

An inspection approach carried out nationally in a fair, consistent and predictable manner that is focused on regulatory outcomes and supported by mobile tools and guidance. A good regulatory system is one that achieves its objectives while also being predictable, transparent and efficient. The changes we have been making to our inspection system will increase standardization and consistency and help prepare the Agency to implement the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations in a timely and efficient manner.

While it is making our inspection activities more consistent and efficient, it also provides inspectors with the flexibility to adapt to different situations that may arise during an inspection. The SIP also focuses on key internationally recognized preventive controls and captures data related to compliance with those controls at an establishment level. Once digital tools are fully rolled out, CFIA will be able to aggregate data on compliance to inform risk-based planning and reporting.


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It will tell us not just about the performance of individual establishments, but the overall Canadian system. The Compliance Verification System CVS , which is used for various programs, was updated for the meat program as of July 1, , to better reflect an outcome-based approach to conducting inspections, focussing on areas of highest risk. The updates to CVS, along with SIP, also increase the standardization and consistency of the current inspection system and help prepare the Agency to implement the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations in a timely and efficient manner.

MSIP, in essence, is a movement away from traditional inspection to a more risk-based approach with enhancements to industry responsibility and to inspectors' capacity to focus on true areas of risk to food safety. It not only aligns us better with trading partners but also supports market access and trade while creating efficiencies.

While the current pilot is in hog slaughter, the same modern approach to slaughter has been used to inspect federally-registered poultry establishments for more than 15 years with excellent results. Also, in support of consistent and efficient inspections, the Agency is embracing digital-first tools by replacing ageing and older technology and devices with new smartphones and tablets.

oward Safer Food Perspectives on Risk and Priority Setting

Employees can expect to experience better connectivity, collaboration and information sharing that will ultimately support them in their work. New devices, paired with the Digital Service Delivery Platform DSDP , will help free inspectors from manual administrative tasks and enable the tracking and management of information digitally. Mobile devices will be rolled out to inspectors in a gradual way so we can gain valuable insight from employees to help us understand limitations and solve problems. Once software goes live there is often very little that can be done to change it.

So being able to provide feedback, while there is still time to address or fix problems, has been a great experience". The CFIA will also continue ensure the inspectorate has the necessary support to build and develop competencies and capacity to carry out inspection activities effectively and efficiently.


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  • This will be done by providing training and guidance as well as easier ways of collaborating through the rollout of new apps and tools. To equip industry with a full range of electronic services and information to comply with regulations and employees with the necessary tools to carry out their work effectively and efficiently. To continue to protect Canadians and build on the Agency's global reputation, we are focusing more on innovation and our ability to adapt to change.

    Advancements in technology and analytics are dramatically reshaping the private and public sectors. While we are in the midst of rolling out new tools for the inspectorate to move them into the digital world, we recognize the need to embrace technology and provide more efficient and responsive service. During the development and implementation of the platform, the CFIA held workshops and focus groups with industry and employees to help identify areas of improvement and enhance usability.

    The CFIA has been testing the platform with frontline employees. Their feedback has been instrumental in helping uncover roadblocks that are being addressed before a wider rollout of the platform. Looking forward, the CFIA will continue to explore how we can leverage My CFIA, our National Service Centres and Compliance Promotion database, so we can get information and guidance to our clients quickly and provide mechanisms so they can access information anywhere and anytime.

    We will also need to develop and invest in analytics to enhance our ability to meet external expectations and address emerging risks. In keeping with our digital-first strategy, we'll offer services online and continue to build this capacity. Just as we are working to improve the design and sustainability of our networks by focusing on improved speed and usability for external audiences, we need to shift how we think about arming our staff with the knowledge and information they need to do their jobs.

    Over the next few years we will be looking at how technology can help us support employees through collaborative work tools, online training and streamlining administrative activities. One of the ways we will do this is through partnering with other federal departments to tap into new technologies such as a learning management system.

    In doing so, we are leveraging work that other partners have done, including testing and using a secure cloud service, to bring new and exciting platforms to our employees. One such cloud service is currently being deployed in CFIA laboratories to implement a national, automated approach to managing quality system documents.

    To pursue improved international standards, fairness in trade practices, enhanced use of technology and regulatory cooperation.

    Top Authors

    The CFIA is a global leader in advancing Canadian trade interests while protecting Canadians and our environment from foreign pests, disease and food safety risks and each of us wants to sustain and build on that reputation. Our work not only safeguards the health of our food, plant and animal resources for Canadians, it also serves as the foundation for public trust beyond our own borders to maintain current market access and grow new markets for Canadian exporters.

    To help support economic growth of Canada's agricultural and agri-food industry, the CFIA's key priorities in the global arena will continue to focus on influencing international standards, pursuing fairness in trade practices, embracing the use of technology, and enhancing regulatory cooperation with competent authorities. This plan is set to cover the timeframe. The Program contributes to safer food products in international trade. Adoption of international standards by other countries is expected to contribute to international food safety. The Program is engaged with international regulatory partners and participates in international fora as part of efforts to standardize, harmonize and increase food safety.

    Adoption of international standards by other countries is expected to contribute to maintaining and improving food safety. The Program's expertise and contribution to the international community are recognized through its involvement in standard development, as a host of international collaborating centres and laboratories, and as a partner in international capacity development.

    The Program seeks to maintain an integrated system for FSNQ in Canada through consultation and collaboration with partners and stakeholders. There are challenges to the responsiveness of the regulatory framework, which recent legislative amendments and Program strategic plans are expected to address.

    The Program's approach to consultation and collaboration seeks to engage all partners and stakeholders and is expected to continue to enhance system integration.

    Government Directives are in place to guarantee a consultative, coordinated and cooperative approach to regulatory development. Program performance and financial information was insufficient to properly demonstrate efficiency and economy. Financial data available for the evaluation was insufficient to support an analysis of efficiency and economy.