ARCHIVED - Transforming Export Certification

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CFIA Transformation

  • Why are we doing this?
    • Globalization and industry consolidation
    • Shifting consumer landscape – aging population and increasing expectations
    • Evolving production and processing technologies
    • Emerging pathogens and diseases
    • Increased knowledge of risk and systems-based approaches
    • Advances in science and technology
    • Modernization initiatives of trading partners

What is CFIA Transformation?

  • A comprehensive agenda to strengthen our legislative foundation, regulatory programs and inspection delivery
  • CFIA's transformation agenda is focussed on the four inter-connected pillars of the Safe Food for Canadians Action Plan:
    • stronger safety rules;
    • more effective inspection;
    • commitment to service; and
    • more information for consumers.
  • Transformation efforts started with food, with plant and animal following

Transforming Export Certification

  • To align the export certification process with the new inspection model
  • To better match inspection resources to inspection priorities and reduce the administrative burden on inspectors
  • To improve our resource effectiveness which benefits both the CFIA and industry

Aligning Export Certification with the New Model

  • Developing a single export certification process, eliminating program-specific process steps that do not impact export requirements
    • Used for both phytosanitary and zoosanitary certificates
Image - Aligning Export Certification with the New Model. Description follows.
Description of Image – Aligning Export Certification with the New Model

Figure 1 illustrates the high-level future state export certification process that would be used for all commodities across all business lines.

This image is divided into three parts

"National Export Service Centre" on top, with "inspectorate" below and the Electronic Service Delivery Platform (ESDP) below this.

The top part of the image describes the process steps that will be conducted by the NESC. The image illustrates the NESC receiving the export application, with an arrow pointing to validating the request, with an arrow pointing to inspection (conducting a document review), with an arrow pointing to issuing a decision, with an arrow pointing to issuing the certificate.

The middle section of the illustration describes the process steps conducted by the inspectorate. These process steps would only be conducted when on an-site inspection and/or technical document review by a designated inspector was required. This work would be assigned to the inspectorate, from the NESC, at the "validation of request step" in the NESC's process steps. From here the image illustrated the inspector conducing an inspection, with an arrow pointing to issuing a decision, with an arrow pointing back up to the NESC's final step of issuing the certificate. The bottom part of the image is called the "ESDP" which is an Information Technology (IT)-system being developed to support export certification. The ESDP would support the above process steps by allowing the CFIA to automate various aspects of export certification, including the gathering of information from the export, the validation of information and the electronic issuance of certificates.

Matching Resources to Priorities

  • Focussing inspection staff on inspection-related activities
  • Re-directing administrative functions (completing forms, verifying completeness, printing documents, issuing certificates, etc.) towards administrative staff
    • Examples of administrative verification:
      • Consignor/consignee information
      • Re-consignee requirements when brokers are involved
      • Volumes of certificates product vs volumes presented on certificate

National Export Service Centre (NESC) concept

  • Centralized location for managing administrative aspects of export certificates
    • Communication with industry
    • Validation, non-technical review of export requests
    • Coordination of questions/queries related to export requirements
    • Coordination/tasking of inspections
  • Processing of export requests not requiring a local inspection/document review
  • Extended hours of service

The Inspectorate

  • The inspector will focus solely on export inspection activities
  • All other export-related interactions between industry and the CFIA will be managed through the NESC


  • Consistent application of service delivery across the country
  • Uniform and consistent provision of advice

Finding Efficiencies that are Mutually Beneficial

  • Modernizing and automating the process of issuing export certificates through the Electronic Service Delivery Platform (ESDP)

Click on image for larger view
Image - Finding efficiencies that are mutually beneficial. Description follows.

Description of Image – Finding efficiencies that are mutually beneficial

Figure 2 illustrates the functionality of the Electronic Service Delivery Platform (ESDP) in relation to the various internal and external stakeholders of the export certification process.

A blue box in the centre of the image represents the ESDP and its functionality which is further divided into two compartments the compartment on the left side represents the functionality for exporters, also known as the business-to-government hub, and includes:

  • Export requirement query
  • Application for export certification
  • Application status updates
  • Printing export documents

The compartment on the right side represents the functionality for the CFIA and includes:

  • Export requirements management
  • Certification process management

In addition to exporters, both CFIA inspection staff and foreign competent authorities will also be able to interact with the IT system. This is illustrated by a green box above the blue box entitled "CFIA inspection staff" with arrows pointing to and from the ESDP blue box. This green box also has an arrow pointing to the left, to another green box entitled "product inspection and document review".

An arrow pointing to and from the right of the blue box is entitled "government-to-government" and leads to a red circle entitled "foreign competent authorities". This demonstrated that foreign competent authorities would be able to receive electronic export certificates through what is called a government-to-government portal. The government-to-government portal would be secure method for transmitting export certificates and is already in use by several other countries.

There is an arrow pointing to and from the left of the blue box is entitled "business-to-government" and leads to an orange circle entitled "exporters".

This orange circle has an arrow pointing up above the ESDP blue box to a green box entitled "product inspection and document review". This green box leads to a pink box, located on the far right of the blue ESDP box, entitled "Export".

IMIT Enablement of Export Certification

  • Authorized users (industry and the CFIA):
    • Browse and query export information on-line
    • Request the issuance of export certificate on-line
    • Provide information required, prior to on-line submission
    • Find out the status of an export certificate online
    • Validate, make decisions and issue certificates online (CFIA)
    • Print issued certificates online (authorized users)
    • Exchange export information online with international trading partners (authorized CFIA users)
  • The above functions will be located in the export component of ESDP. Scheduled implementation date of mid-2016

Other Planned Changes to Export Certification

  • Changes to certificate formats:
    • Original certificate with original signature
    • Scanned certificate with digital signature
      • Printable by exporter
    • E-certificate with digital signature
      • Certificate electronically transmitted to foreign trading partner
  • Confirmation of a service delivery date for certificate issuance
  • Outcomes:
    • Uniform and consistent service delivery
    • Improved accessibility to export certificates by remote exporters

Next Steps

  • Finalize the design and implementation plan for ESDP
    • Will include outreach activities to assist industry with the transition to the new system
  • Elaborate the National Export Service Centre concept
  • Develop parallel process to support the submission of paper export applications


  1. What benefits does this new approach create for industry?
  2. What challenges may arise as a result of this new approach?
  3. What should industry do to prepare for these challenges?
  4. What can CFIA do to help industry prepare for these challenges?


  • By email:
  • By mail:

    Strategic Partnerships Division
    1400 Merivale Road, Tower 1
    Floor 6, Suite 218
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9
    Attn: Linda Webster

  • By fax: 613-773-5606
  • To stay connected with the CFIA, sign up to our Listserv
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