Complaints and Appeals - Register a complaint, comment or compliment

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is committed to excellence in our processes and practices.  We strive for continuous improvement in dealing with our regulated parties and stakeholders.  We are committed to providing quality service that is consistent, professional, timely and fair, based on the Agency's Statement of Rights and Service for Producers, Consumers and Other Stakeholders.

The CFIA has a complaints and appeals process that allows stakeholders to register a complaint, comment, or compliment related to quality of service, administrative errors and regulatory decisions.

Stakeholders can make a complaint if they are not satisfied with the service provided by the CFIA.

Note

This page is not for submitting a food safety or labelling concern. If you believe a food product is a health and safety risk, or you have other questions, please refer to the Contact Us page.

Who can submit a complaint or appeal?

Anyone can submit a complaint or appeal to the CFIA, however, your complaint or appeal must fall within the CAO's mandate:

  • you are dissatisfied with a CFIA employee's approach to your needs
  • you believe CFIA processing delays are undue or unreasonable
  • you disagree with a CFIA employee's decision regarding a license, registration, permit, order, inspection, seizure, labelling requirement or other regulatory component

How to register a complaint

The CFIA uses an incremental process to manage complaints and appeals. To make a complaint or appeal, follow these steps:

  • Step 1 – Speak to the CFIA employee or employee's manager first
  • Step 2 – File a complaint

There is no fee to make a complaint.

Step 1 – Speak to the CFIA employee or employee's manager first

Try to resolve your concerns with the CFIA employee with whom you have been dealing.  If you still disagree with the manner in which your concerns are being addressed, speak with the employee's supervisor (at the manager or director level).

If you are still not satisfied, you can file a complaint.

Step 2 – File a complaint

Submit a formal complaint to the CAO by completing the Complaints section of the Complaints, Comments and Compliments form and attach any supporting documents that you think may be helpful to us when reviewing your complaint (correspondence, pictures, certificates, etc.).

Complaints should be made within 12 months of the incident or CFIA decision on which the complaint is focused.

The CAO does not normally accept complaints about issues that occurred more than one year prior to the incident unless there are special circumstances associated with the matter. For instance, if new information has come to light or there has been a further development, the CAO will then consider reviewing the matter.

Comments and compliments

We would also like to receive your feedback, suggestions or ideas about our service or how to improve our service.  This could include letting us know when you believe CFIA staff have provided a good service. Your feedback helps us identify areas where we can improve our programs and services.

You can submit your feedback by completing the Comments and Compliments section of the Complaints, Complaints, Comments and Compliments form.

Time required to process your complaint or appeal

The CFIA takes your feedback very seriously. When we receive your completed form, we will contact you by phone or email to provide a file number and inform you about the process. The CAO has put in place service standards to ensure your submission is processed as efficiently and effectively as possible. The CAO aims to:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint or appeal within 2 business days
  • review service complaints and non-complex regulatory complaints within 30 business days
  • notify the complainant within 5 business days if more than 30 days is required to review a complex regulatory complaint

You can send your complaint, comment or compliment by email, fax, or mail.  Please refer to the contact information provided below.

See CAO service standards  and Complaints Process for more information.

Privacy of your information

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is committed to protecting the privacy rights of individuals, including safeguarding the confidentiality of information provided by individuals and institutions.

Submit online

Access the form "Complaints, Comments and Compliments" form (CFIA/ACIA 5686)

Contact the Complaints and Appeals Office for help

By phone

Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time,
Monday to Friday.

Toll-free: 1-800-442-2342
Local: 613-773-2342
TTY: 1-800-465-7735

By mail

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
c/o Complaints and Appeals Office
59 Camelot Dr., 59-1W-334
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0Y9

By fax

Toll-free: 1-855-297-4198
Local:  613-773-6561

More information

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