Protocol for Official Communications Use of Social Media

We use social media for official communications purposes in accordance with principles presented in the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada.

Our social media accounts are managed by the Communications and Public Affairs Branch on behalf of the Agency. Through them we share and discuss information related to food safety, animal and plant health, as well as, corporate communications and recruitment with Canadians. Our social media spokespersons, as officially designated agency representatives, follow the Government of Canada Communications Policy by sharing only factual information on our priorities, policies, programs, services or initiatives.

This page explains our approach and the regulation considerations for our participation in social media.

To learn about our rules of engagement, a "Terms of Use" is available for each of our social media accounts which explains what people can expect from us on that channel. This includes the type of information we will provide, our availability, as well as users' responsibilities when participating and interacting with us.

General Principles

Our use of social media is intended to facilitate interaction with users and to encourage information sharing, collaboration and interactivity.

We aim to provide timely, accurate, clear and relevant information about our policies and activities related to safeguarding food, animals and plants to enhance the health of Canada's people and environment.

Our communication in social media channels should not be considered as the authoritative source of new policy or guidance on services and programs from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) or Government of Canada. Any change or evolution in the official position on Government of Canada services and programs, legislation, guidance, investigations, and audits will be communicated through more traditional channels, such as official publications (online and offline), speeches, media releases, and government websites.

We welcome comments and questions about our content, and we will participate or intervene in conversations as per the comments section of our account Terms of Use.

Legislative and Policy Obligations

In addition to following the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, we ensure compliance with the following legislation and policies when using social media channels, web tools and services:

  • Accessibility
  • Copyright
  • Federal Identity
  • Information Management
  • Official Languages
  • Privacy and Access to Information

Accessibility

Although third-party social media service providers are not bound by Government of Canada's web accessibility practices, our content hosted on third-party channels meets the Standard on Web Accessibility and web accessibility best practices for those platforms.

As well, we strive to ensure the content posted through social media includes links to related and equivalent content on websites that are accessible.

In the event third-party social media services are unavailable, we cannot be held accountable for the inconvenience or inaccessibility of our content.

Copyright

The content we post on social media is subject to the Copyright Act of Canada.

Federal Identity

We clearly identify our official agency accounts and content in accordance with the visual identity of the Government of Canada, the Federal Identity Program Policy and the Guideline for External Use of Web 2.0.

Information Management

We ensure that information of business value is accessible, shareable, and usable through the management of content in accordance with the Policy on Information Management, the Directive on Information Management Roles and Responsibilities, and the Directive on Recordkeeping.

The following types of content from our social media accounts will be captured in an information repository as an official record:

  • official program information that has not otherwise been recorded through our website, briefing notes, project or communication plans, etc.; and
  • responses from the public received from CFIA requests for information that may form the basis of a decision, government action or public consultation report.

Not all conversations will be kept, only those that affect a decision being made or an action being taken by the government.

Official Languages

We respect the Official Languages Act and the Policy on the Use of Official Languages for Communications with and Services to the Public, and are committed to providing information of equal quality in both English and French.

Where possible, we have two separate single-language accounts, one in English and one in French, and provide profile content, terms of use and messages in both official languages.

We encourage users to contribute and interact on social media in the official language of their choice. When we respond to questions and comments, it is in the official language of origin.

Due to the nature of social media, content may vary between our English and French accounts, particularly messages and comments posted by users. Users are informed in our account terms of use that, by participating in social media activities with us, they are consenting to the possibility that we may summarize and translate their comments.

When we post links to non-Government of Canada websites, some links may direct users to organizations that are not subject to the Official Languages Act. These sites are typically available in only one language.

Privacy and Access to Information

We are subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, Information shared with us on social media is also subject to the provision of these Acts, which means your comments may be copied, stored, accessed or disclosed in response to a request under either of these Acts.

We are not responsible for personal information posted by other users. To protect an individual's privacy, and the privacy of others, users should not share personal information such as: social insurance number, occupation, home address, telephone numbers, and photographs of identifiable individuals, and any other information considered personal as defined in section 3 of the Privacy Act.

As a rule, we do not ask for personal information, with the following two possible exceptions:

  1. we have parliamentary authority for the collection of personal information related to a CFIA program or activity that is administered through social media. Should this happen, the personal information shared would be retained in accordance with section 6 of the Privacy Act.
  2. we collect and use personal information for non-administrative purposes where no decisions will be made that affect the individuals. For example, we may conduct surveys through social media and not follow-up with the individuals. In such cases, a Privacy Notice will be posted to inform users of their rights under the Privacy Act.

We endeavour to monitor our accounts to ensure that any personal, inappropriate, unsolicited or confidential information is removed.

For questions about your privacy rights, please contact the CFIA's Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Coordinator.

Contact Information

For questions related to our use of social media, send an email to Social.Media@inspection.gc.ca.

For additional information about our policies, programs, services and initiatives, complete our online comments and feedback form.

For media enquiries, reporters are asked to refrain from submitting questions on Twitter and instead are encouraged to:

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