Complaints and Appeals Office
Reporting 2015–2016

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 2015–2016, the CAO met this standard 99% of the time.

New Service Standard for the Review of Complaints

This period also saw work completed on the development and implementation of a new service standard: review of complaints within 30 days. Should additional time be required due to the level of complexity of the complaint, the CAO will notify complainants within five days of the first conversation with the complainant. The new service standard took effect during the 2015–2016 fiscal year.

The CAO strives to meet its service standard for the review of complaints 90% of the time. In 2015–16, the first year that the new service standard was in effect, the CAO met the standard 83% of the time. Delays in receiving responses to information requests and the availability of parties to meet resulted in the CAO not reaching its stated performance goal of 90%.

CAO Metrics

2015–16 CAO Annual Metrics

During the 2015–2016 fiscal years, the CAO received a total of 254 files, which included 48 compliments, 7 comments and 82 new complaints within the mandate of the CAO to review. In addition, the CAO closed 85 complaints (30 service complaints, 55 regulatory complaints); some of these related to files opened the previous year.

Service Complaints

Following reviews and investigations of these 30 service complaints, the CAO determined that 18 were founded, 8 were unfounded, and 4 were either withdrawn or outside the CAO's mandate.

Regulatory Complaints

Following the reviews of the 55 regulatory complaints, the CAO determined that 38 CFIA decisions were upheld, 8 were reconsidered or amended, 9 were either withdrawn or outside the CAO's mandate.

Early Trends in Complaint Analysis – Closed Complaints

CAO Metrics – 4 years of operation
2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Total 4 years
Complaints 65 74 83 85 307
Compliments 59 15 57 48 179
Comments 10 6 6 7 29
Complaint types – service complaints
Service Complaints 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Total 4 years
Delay 10 12 29 10 61
Behaviour/attitude of staff 8 8 6 12 34
Errors 5 2 5 2 14
Lack of Service Orientation 13 9 8 6 36
Total 36 31 48 30 145
Complaint types – regulatory complaints
Regulatory Complaints 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Total 4 years
Decision challenge 25 35 25 45 130
Policy Challenge 4 8 10 10 32
Total 29 43 35 55 162
Complaint outcomes – service complaints
Service Complaints 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Total 4 years
Founded 17 8 28 18 71
Unfounded 8 15 14 8 45
Inconclusive 8 2 1 0 11
Withdrawn 3 6 5 4 18
Total 36 31 48 30 145
Complaint outcomes – regulatory complaints
Regulatory Complaints 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Total 4 years
Upheld 19 29 27 38 113
Reconsidered / Amended 4 10 4 8 26
Withdrawn 6 4 4 9 23
Total 29 43 35 55 162

Ratio of Complaints after 4 Years of Operation

The percentage of regulatory complaints to service complaints is roughly equal, highlighting the intricate regulatory and service-related dynamic of inspection. This ratio has remained relatively unchanged throughout the four years of operation.

Year-over Year Comparison of Complaints (307 in Total)

The total number of complaints that the CAO has closed over the past four years has been steadily increasing, though only slightly between Year 3 and Year 4.

Year 1 – 65 complaints
Year 2 – 74 complaints
Year 3 – 83 complaints
Year 4 – 85 complaints

Date modified: