Questions and Answers: Statement of Rights and Service for Producers, Consumers and Other Stakeholders

Why has the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) created a Statement of Rights and Service document and guides to inspection?

The CFIA uses the following principles to govern our interactions with producers, consumers, industry and other stakeholders:

  • transparency
  • accountability
  • service

The Statement of Rights and Service was developed to formally establish those principles.

The Statement, along with its accompanying guides to inspection, was developed to clearly outline to stakeholders:

  • what the CFIA does;
  • what our service standards are;
  • what stakeholders' rights and responsibilities are when interacting with the CFIA; and
  • how stakeholders can reach us.

The statement and guides aim to improve interactions with our stakeholders. They provide a clear and concise articulation of roles and responsibilities, allowing stakeholders to become more familiar with what the CFIA does and what they can expect when they are dealing with us.

The statement and guides also reference the CFIA's expectations of regulated parties as outlined in the CFIA brochure The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Its Regulated Parties, Stakeholders and Partners: An Ethical Relationship.

Recently, various initiatives have been launched to enhance CFIA transparency, improve engagement with stakeholders and optimize accountability. These include developing the brochure The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Its Regulated Parties, Stakeholders and Partners: An Ethical Relationship and posting enforcement and compliance activities on the CFIA's web site. The Statement of Rights and Service will be an important foundation for these and future changes related to these service delivery initiatives.

Do other Government of Canada departments and agencies have statements of rights and service?

Yes. The Canada Border Services Agency and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada have developed service commitments. As well, the Canada Revenue Agency has developed a variety of publications such as the Fairness Pledge and the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Rights and service statements are becoming commonplace as a means to describe the principles and behaviours that stakeholders can expect when interacting with government.

How many documents are there and who are the intended audiences?

There are seven documents: the Statement of Rights and Service and six audience specific guides to inspection:

  • A Producer's Guide to Inspection
  • A Consumer's Guide to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • A Processor's Guide to Inspection
  • An Animal Transporter's Guide to Inspection
  • An Importer's Guide to Inspection
  • An Exporter's Guide to Inspection

Both the Statement of Rights and Service and the guides to inspection are intended for use by stakeholders and CFIA staff.

How will these documents be used?

The statement and guides provide a clear and concise articulation of roles and responsibilities, allowing stakeholders to become more familiar with what the CFIA does and what they can expect when they are dealing with us.

The documents are written in plain language and are laid out in an easy to understand format.

The statement and guides complement processes in places providing contact information, office locations, and the various means by which stakeholders can reach us.

We encourage stakeholders to read each of the documents and keep printed copies on hand. These documents will be a useful tool when interacting with the Agency.

The new Complaints and Appeals Office became operational on April 2, 2012. Is the process now different for registering a complaint or appeal?

The CFIA uses an incremental process to manage complaints and appeals. This process has not changed.

The new Complaints and Appeals Office will complement existing processes in place by acting as a single window for stakeholders to register complaints, appeals, comments or compliments related to:

  • service delivery;
  • administrative errors; and
  • regulatory decisions.

Issues should still be directed to local CFIA offices for resolution. However, as a final step, stakeholders can now submit a formal complaint directly to the Complaints and Appeals Office. The process is further described on the Complaints and Appeals website.

As of April 2, 2012, five of the guides to inspection have been revised to include information on the Complaints and Appeals Office.

  • Complaint, appeal, comment or compliment forms are also available in each of the five guides and can be mailed or faxed to the Complaints and Appeals Office. Note: The consumer's guide is useful as it directs stakeholders to where food safety issues can be reported so they are handled in a timely manner.
  • The form (CFIA/ACIA 5686) can be submitted electronically on the Complaints and Appeals website.
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