Complaints and Appeals Office
Reporting 2014–2015

The Complaints and Appeals Office (CAO) reviews complaints, comments and compliments from regulated parties, consumers and other stakeholders who interact with CFIA staff. The CAO registers all comments, compliments and complaints related to the quality of CFIA services and decisions. Those with complaints against the CFIA are encouraged to resolve them through an incremental, three-step process:

  1. Speak with the CFIA employee involved in the complaint.
  2. If this does not resolve the matter, speak with the employee's supervisor, manager or director.
  3. If this does not resolve the matter, submit a formal complaint to the CAO by completing a Complaints, Comments and Compliments form.

The CAO's Guiding Principles

  • Visibility: Increase awareness through internal and external outreach.
  • Accessibility: Ensure CAO processes are centralized, and easy to understand and access.
  • Responsiveness: The CAO handles all complaints and appeals seriously, honours service standards and provides regular feedback until a file is closed.
  • Confidentiality: The CAO shares review information in a responsible, sensible and discreet manner.
  • Analysis: CAO processes support the tracking and analysis of data, and the sharing of opportunities for improvement with the CFIA in the spirit of continuous improvement.

For more information, visit the CAO web page, email us at CAO_BPA@inspection.gc.ca or call 1-800-442-2342 to speak with an Information Officer.

CAO Service Standards

The CAO acknowledges receipt of all complaints within two business days. During 2014–2015, the CAO met this standard 99% of the time.

CAO Metrics

2014–15 CAO Annual Metrics

During the 2014–2015 fiscal year, the CAO received a total of 267 files, which included 57 compliments, 6 comments and 91 new complaints within the mandate of the CFIA to review. In addition, the CAO closed 83 complaints (48 service complaints, 35 regulatory complaints); some of these related to files opened the previous year.

Service Complaints

Following reviews and investigations of these 48 service complaints, the CAO determined that 28 were founded, 12 were unfounded, 1 was inconclusive, and 5 were either withdrawn or outside the CAO's mandate.

Regulatory Complaints

Following the reviews of the 35 regulatory complaints, the CAO determined that 27 CFIA decisions were upheld, 4 were reconsidered or amended, 4 were either withdrawn or outside the CAO's mandate.

Early Trends in Complaint Analysis – Closed Complaints

CAO Metrics – 3 years of operation
2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 Total 3 years
Complaints 65 74 83 222
Compliments 59 15 57 131
Comments 10 6 6 22
Complaint types – service complaints
Service Complaints 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 Total 3 years
Delay 10 12 29 51
Behaviour/attitude of staff 8 8 6 22
Errors 5 2 5 12
Lack of Service Orientation 13 9 8 30
Total 36 31 48 115
Complaint types – regulatory complaints
Regulatory Complaints 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 Total 3 years
Decision challenge 25 35 25 85
Policy Challenge 4 8 10 22
Total 29 43 35 107
Complaint outcomes – service complaints
Service Complaints 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 Total 3 years
Founded 17 8 28 53
Unfounded 8 15 14 37
Inconclusive 8 2 1 11
Withdrawn 3 6 5 14
Total 36 31 48 115
Complaint outcomes – regulatory complaints
Regulatory Complaints 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 Total 3 years
Upheld 19 29 27 75
Reconsidered / Amended 4 10 4 18
Withdrawn 6 4 4 14
Total 29 43 35 107

Ratio of Complaints after 3 Years of Operation

The percentage of regulatory complaints to service complaints is roughly equal, highlighting the intricate regulatory and service-related dynamic of inspection.

Year-over Year Comparison of Complaints (222 in Total)

The total number of complaints that the CAO has closed over the past three years has been steadily increasing. This increase may be due at least in part to the various outreach activities undertaken by the CAO, both internally and externally, that have resulted in an increasing awareness of the office and its mandate.

Year 1 – 65 complaints
Year 2 – 74 complaints
Year 3 – 83 complaints

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