ARCHIVED - Science Perspective to Enhancing Risk Analysis

This page has been archived

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or record-keeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

PDF (334 kb)

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

Science: A Key to Success

  • Science is a pillar in delivering CFIA's Food Safety Agency Transformation and the Agency's mandate
    • New risk-based approach in food safety
    • Government has consistently invested in CFIA's science capacity
  • Science underpins risk assessment, risk management decisions and communications
    • Key elements to the credibility of the Canadian food safety system and the CFIA

Approach to Risk… Risk Analysis Framework

Image - Risk Analysis Framework. Description follows.
Description of Image – Risk Analysis Framework

The image illustrates the Risk Analysis Framework. The image is composed of a large circle which represents Risk Communications containing a Venn diagram (two overlapping circles within the larger circle).

Risk Communications is explained as: Exchange of information about risk between assessors, risk managers, and industry.

The two smaller circles of the Venn diagram read Risk assessment and Risk management. They are completely contained within the larger Risk Communications circle. Risk Assessment is explained as: Hazard identification, Exposure assessment. Risk Management is explained as: Integration of risk characterization with other considerations, e.g. economic impacts, consumer impacts, private certification, government priorities, system integrity.

Why a New Model?

  • Enhancement of applying risk based approach consistently will help promote compliance
  • Assist in directing and allocating CFIA resources to areas of high risk
  • Reinforce the integration of the different information
  • Provide support for more systematic and consistent CFIA oversight activities (inspection, surveillance, systems auditing, sampling and testing, etc.)
  • Stay aligned with other leading countries using risk-informed systems

Risk Assessment (RA) Model

Image - Risk Assessment Model. Description follows.
Description of Image – Risk Assessment Model

The image illustrates the Risk Assessment Model. The image is composed of a large arrow pointing to the right with 3 boxes within the arrow and a fourth box at the end, which the arrow points towards.

The 3 boxes represent the 3 factors to be included in the Risk Assessment Model. The information within these boxes is as follows from left to right:

  • Box 1. Initial Risk. e.g. type of hazard, type of product, production volume, target population, risk intelligence, etc.
  • Box 2. Mitigation Factors. e.g. Preventive Control Plan, process interventions, control of incoming ingredients etc.
  • Box 3. Establishment track record. e.g. compliance history, findings from inspections, etc.

The final fourth box that is at the tip of the arrow says Assessment Result.

What Does this Mean?

Examples of where oversight regimes may be different based on risk:

  • Two dairy establishments, one produces raw milk and pasteurized milk products and the other produces pasteurized products only:
    • Factors to consider – inherent risk of raw milk products, Preventive Control Plan, potential of cross contamination between lines
  • Two establishments producing ready-to-eat products:
    • Factors to consider – type of the process being used
  • An establishment which continually has non compliances versus an compliant establishment

Risk Management

Click on image for larger view
Image - Risk Management. Description follows.

Description of Image – Risk Management

The image is a funnel containing 8 circles representing different factors that affect regulatory decisions. The funnel points down to a rectangle representing Program Design which subsequently points to two rectangles representing Operational Delivery and Other Products.

The circles represent factors from left to right and top to bottom as follows:

  • Trading Partner Requirements
  • Risk Assessment Result
  • Consumer Protection Against False Claims
  • Private Certification Schemes
  • International Standards
  • Government of Canada Priorities
  • Global intelligence
  • Complaints

The first rectangle at the base of the funnel reads as follows:

Program Design

  • Frequency and;
  • Oversight approach (based on surveillance, audit, sampling and inspection)

The arrow from the first rectangle points to two other rectangles. The first of the final two rectangles reads as follows:

Operational Delivery, staff would be dispatched to sectors/regulated parties of greatest risk to carry out oversight activities.

The second of the final two rectangles reads as follows:

Final Products, e.g. Compliance Promotional Materials

Next Steps for the RA Model

  • Validate the criteria used in the model, their associated weights and preliminary results
  • Include benchmarking analysis in the model
  • Include literature search done by scientific experts
  • Conduct further testing for other domestic commodities
  • Identify RA training needs and priorities for the Agency

I would like to thank the Canadian Food Industry and Universities who participated in this project.


  • 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
Date modified: