ARCHIVED - Questions and Answers: Multi-Year Regulatory Modernization Plan

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Why is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reviewing its regulatory frameworks?

Since the CFIA's inception, its regulatory efforts have been largely ad hoc or focused on individual or issue-specific regulatory amendments. By doing a structured and comprehensive review, the CFIA can put into place a modernized regulatory framework that will

  • ensure that safety is the overarching consideration
  • improve consistency and reduce complexity in regulation
  • align regulations with leading industry practices
  • reduce unnecessary burden on stakeholders
  • support innovation and changes in science and technology
  • continue to strengthen consumer protection.

How does this initiative align with the recent agreement signed by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper designed to boost security, trade and travel?

The CFIA's regulatory modernization plan is an additional initiative to those announced in February between Canada and the United States. The two countries agreed to implement two action plans – Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness and Regulatory Cooperation – designed to speed up legitimate trade and travel, improve security in North America, and align regulatory approaches between the two countries.

The regulatory modernization plan, along with new food safety legislation, will complement the Government’s efforts to increase the regulatory cooperation that exists with the United States, making it easier to conduct business and contributing to the benefits of the Canada-U.S. trade in agriculture and agri-food products.

How will the CFIA conduct this review?

The CFIA will use a phased approach to review its regulatory frameworks and will be consulting extensively with its stakeholders.

On December 22nd, the CFIA posted its Multi-Year Regulatory Modernization discussion document for comment on its external website. More recently, we held a stakeholder forum to validate a collaborative approach in moving forward the review and renewal of our regulatory framework.

Being inclusive in the development of regulations is a top priority. As such, we will continue to communicate and consult with the industry we regulate and other stakeholders, including small businesses, consumers and consumer associations.

What does the CFIA hope to achieve through this review?

In this review, the CFIA wants to

  • ensure that expectations for regulated parties are clear
  • ensure that regulations continue to provide the appropriate level of government oversight
  • develop outcome-based and transparent regulations
  • develop common risk management principles, that should apply to different commodities
  • build a flexible regulatory framework that supports modern business practices (e.g. e-commerce)
  • facilitate innovation and support competition.

What will the CFIA do with the results of the consultation on its Multi-Year Regulatory Modernization discussion document?

A final report summarizing the input received during the consultation is available.  We will take into consideration feedback received, including:

  • pursuing the renewal of Feeds and Fertilizers regulations in the short-term, as well as other priorities identified for immediate focus
  • working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to advance amendments to the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act so that it complies with the 1991 International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) Convention. Once the Act is amended, renewal of its regulations will be possible.

Moreover, the Government of Canada has communicated its commitment to new food safety legislation which will allow for the renewal of a suite of food regulations.

How does regulatory modernization fit into the other change initiatives that the Agency is proposing?

The CFIA is undergoing a large transformation. Even though Canada already has a top-tier system to protect human health and Canada’s animal and plant resources, continuous improvement remains our priority.

To this end, we are undertaking a series of initiatives focused on strengthening food safety legislation, regulation and inspection.

For example, one of the goals of the CFIA’s plans to modernize inspection is to enhance government oversight. For more information about inspection modernization and how it aligns with other Agency initiatives, including regulatory modernization, read The Case for Change.

With the introduction of new food legislation on June 7, the Government is further demonstrating its commitment to making food as safe as possible for Canadians. The proposed legislation will ensure that the legal basis on which food is produced in Canada is more efficient. The outcome will be a further strengthening of Canada’s approach to food safety.

All initiatives aim for greater industry compliance with food safety requirements and better protection for consumers.

Who can I speak to if I have any questions related to the review or the online consultation?

If you have questions about this initiative, contact us by email.

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