Integrated Agency Inspection Model – Consultation Draft (December 4, 2013)
11.0 Transparency

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The safety of food, animal and plant health is important to all concerned, from producers to consumers. Consumer confidence depends, in part, on their perception of the effectiveness of the inspection system.

One of the principle outputs from the CFIA's transparency initiative is to provide information to consumers that will enable them to make informed buying decisions. However, the value of transparency is more far-reaching in terms of the impact that it can have on influencing behaviours that promote compliance and mitigate risk. The potential value of transparency initiatives is realized when

  • behaviours of regulated parties are influenced and trends towards improvements in compliance levels are observed,
  • continuous improvement becomes an objective of all regulated parties, and
  • consumers are better informed and have confidence in the CFIA's regulatory inspection system.

From an outcomes perspective, the CFIA envisions that improvements in transparency will help increase the public's understanding of the human, animal and plant health impact of the CFIA's activities and will promote confidence.

The CFIA is committed to providing the public with useful and timely information about its programs and services, regulatory requirements, and the outcomes of its enforcement actions and decisions. In meeting this commitment, the CFIA is publishing information on its compliance and enforcement activities on its website. The information includes

  • food imports that have been ordered removed from Canada by the CFIA;
  • regulated parties whose licences have been suspended, cancelled or reinstated following suspension or cancellation;
  • notices of violations with warnings and penalties, including identification of repeat offenders of animal transport regulations; and,
  • an annual publication, Working for Canadians, that highlights some of the Agency's activities through profiles of stakeholders and employees.

Other transparency initiatives include:

  1. Service delivery

    The CFIA has released a Statement of Rights and Services that provides stakeholders with information on their rights and what they can expect from their interactions with the CFIA. Six accompanying "guides to inspection" (for consumers, producers, processors, animal transporters, importers and exporters) have also been prepared and are available on the CFIA's website.

  2. Complaints and reviews

    The CFIA's complaints mechanism provides stakeholders with a more transparent and accessible way to register complaints and request reviews. Data from this initiative can help to improve information distributed to regulated parties.

  3. Information sharing

    The CFIA is making licence/permit suspensions and cancellations available to the public to enable consumers to make informed buying choices.

In examining approaches used by other nations with strong regulatory systems, the CFIA has observed that governments are moving to

  • posting online listings of businesses that are licensed, registered or otherwise subject to government oversight;
  • posting online summaries of the most common inspection observations of objectionable conditions or practices that are made during inspections;
  • posting results from targeted surveillance activities designed to establish baseline safety or compliance levels;
  • providing inspection result summaries online that include the name and address of the inspected establishment, the date(s) of inspection, the type of regulated commodities involved, and inspection findings; and
  • alerting the public in a consistent manner about enforcement actions by making information available through news releases and social media outlets.

The CFIA is committed to making more science information and data available to Canadians as a way of demonstrating

  • the effectiveness of the inspection programs, and
  • how well regulated parties are complying with regulations.
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