ARCHIVED - Improved Food Inspection Model

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  • To briefly review feedback from recent consultation on the CFIA's proposed improved food inspection model.
  • To explain what you can expect in the final model and of the CFIA's next steps to implement its new approach.

Strong foundations

  • In response to a rapidly changing environment, the CFIA has embarked on an ambitious transformation agenda.
  • Budget 2011 provided the CFIA with $100M over 5 years.
  • Safe Food for Canadians Act consolidates all current food legislation.
  • The Act and many of the CFIA's current activities are complementary.
  • The Act and modernization efforts align Canada with the United States.

Inspection modernization

  • Changes to food inspection were necessary to better respond to environment and emerging risks.
  • Single and consistent approach to food inspection across all food whether imported, exported or prepared for interprovincial sale.
  • Builds on strong existing foundation.
  • Focus on how inspection is done.
  • CFIA is currently finalizing an improved food inspection model based on feedback received.
  • The food inspection model provides foundation for new food regulations.

Food inspection model

Click on image for larger view
Framework of the draft food inspection model. Description follows.

Description for image - Framework of the draft food inspection model

The image illustrates the framework of the draft food inspection model. The image is composed of a pentagon with a number of circles around it, all above a horizontal and rectangular base divided into separate boxes.

  • The pentagon comprises five equal, pie-shaped wedges that represent five key components of the draft inspection model.
  • At the center of the pentagon are two boxes that represent the types of inspector that would be required to deliver the new model.
  • The nine circles around the pentagon represent the various business areas and the business functions of each area that would be required to deliver the new model.
  • The base represents six components of a foundation that would be required to deliver the new model.


The pentagon's five pieces read as follows (from top right going clockwise):

  • CFIA oversight
  • Licensing
  • Inspection
  • Compliance and enforcement
  • System performance

The two boxes at the center of the pentagon are titled “Frontline Inspectors” on the left and “System Assessment Officers” on the right.


The nine circles that represent agency business areas and that are placed around the pentagon read as follows (starting top right, going clockwise).

  1. Risk oversight
  2. Program management
  3. Licensing
  4. Centres of expertise
  5. Field operations
  6. Border control
  7. Enforcement and investigation
  8. Food safety and recall
  9. Integrity and redress


The horizontal and rectangular base across the bottom consists of six boxes that read, from left to right:

  1. Legislative and regulatory framework
  2. Science
  3. Training
  4. Tools
  5. Human resources
  6. Communication and stakeholder engagement

A food inspection model built by stakeholders

  • The improved food inspection model represents the vision and the approach that the CFIA will take for food inspection.
  • The CFIA first consulted broadly on the draft model during summer-fall 2012 and again on a revised version during spring 2013.
  • Versions of draft model were posted online and supported by online questionnaires and presentations, dedicated email account, and face-to-face sessions.
  • International notices were sent to Canadian missions and to member countries of the World Trade Organization.

Preliminary overview of feedback

  • Feedback has been generally supportive and positive.
  • Request for more details about how
    • licensing regime will be implemented,
    • preventive control plans should be developed,
    • regulated parties would meet compliance and how CFIA might provide additional training and guidance,
    • oversight will be determined, and
    • inspection modernization aligns with other food safety initiatives.

What to expect in final model

  • Final food inspection model anticipated in the summer 2013.
  • Basic concepts will remain the same.
  • Additional details about licensing and preventive controls.


  • Inspection modernization is designed to achieve better food safety outcomes through
    • greater emphasis on prevention,
    • better use of scientific data and information,
    • more consistent approach to risk analysis, and
    • more transparency and promotion of stronger food safety culture.

Path forward

  • CFIA's approach to implement the food inspection model
  • Reconciling development of the regulatory framework with the food inspection model
  • Implementation sequence
  • Extending food model to animal and plant health


  • By email:
  • By mail: Strategic Partnerships Division
    1400 Merivale Road, Tower 1
    Floor 6, suite 218
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9
    Attn: improved food inspection model
  • By fax: 613-773-5606

Appendix: What would change for food inspection (1)


  • The CFIA is proposing a single licensing regime for regulated parties, with conditions.
  • Licensing would apply to parties that import, export or prepare food destined for interprovincial trade or export.
  • To obtain a licence, these parties would be required to develop, document, implement and maintain a preventive control plan that meets food safety and regulatory requirements and suits their operations.

Appendix: What would change for food inspection (2)

CFIA Oversight

  • The CFIA is proposing a base level of inspection oversight based on risk.
  • Food commodities and processes of equal risk would be treated consistently.
  • More inspection and enforcement for non-compliant and high-priority operations.
  • The CFIA would continue to inspect regularly to verify compliance but the frequency or level of inspection oversight would be pre-determined based on risk, inspection data and other information, such as compliance history and recalls.

Appendix: What would change for food inspection (3)


  • All food would be inspected using a single, consistent approach that would complement current inspection.
  • The CFIA would issue Corrective Action Requests for critical and serious food safety non-compliances.
  • Increased inspection frequency is one of many actions that would be used by the CFIA. The Agency may be required to take other action as necessary.

Appendix: What would change for food inspection (4)

Compliance and Enforcement

  • The CFIA is proposing a single compliance and enforcement strategy for food, focusing on prevention and risk mitigation.
  • The CFIA would take consistent and appropriate compliance or enforcement action where parties fail to meet food safety or regulatory requirements.
  • Greater transparency; the CFIA would disclose more compliance information publicly.

Appendix: What would change for food inspection (5)

System Performance

  • The CFIA is proposing to continually evaluate the overall effectiveness of Canada's food inspection system.
  • The CFIA would have a comprehensive way to target efforts and continuously improve and adjust inspection.
  • The CFIA would be able to demonstrate effectiveness of the inspection system to Canadians and international trading partners.
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