Top 10 Reasons to Join Us

1. Make a real difference

You will contribute to making a difference in the health and safety of all Canadians.

2. Most sophisticated science-based programs

You will work with cutting edge technology and some of the world's leading experts.

3. More than a job… a career

We encourage you to fill out an individual learning plan to address your current and future learning needs while your manager will provide you with an annual performance feedback and review discussion to guide your career progression.

More information on learning and career development


You may have the opportunity to work on various committees and working groups, which will give you the opportunity to work with employees from different parts of the CFIA, allowing you to learn about the CFIA's various business lines and identify potential learning and professional development opportunities through networking.

You may also have the opportunity to work on intergovernmental committees and/or working groups, which will allow you to interact with scientific professionals from other Government of Canada organizations, as well as municipal, provincial and foreign governments. These committees/working groups may also give you the opportunity to work with various industry experts and stakeholders.

Synapse Network: The CFIA's Synapse Network provides interested employees with opportunities to network, engage in a diverse set of learning activities, contribute to Agency decision making and collaborate with colleagues across the country. The Synapse Network is a Canada-wide community where members share their ideas and actively contribute to the Agency decision-making process. The aim of the Synapse Network is to provide all employees, regardless of age, employment status or category, with the opportunity to learn about the Agency, exchange information, develop a network of contacts with colleagues and enhance their contribution to the Agency. The Synapse Network emphasizes networking and learning, professional and career development opportunities, social and cultural activities, and charitable events.

GCPEDIA: As a Government of Canada employee you will have access to GCPEDIA, the Government of Canada wiki. GCPEDIA has been used as a platform to take, publish, and distribute meeting minutes, to create project status dashboards, to collaboratively author interdepartmental papers, to brainstorm, to create wiki-based briefing books, and to organize interdepartmental working groups and communities of practice. Users are free to use the wiki as they see fit, within the code of conduct.


Access to Continuous Learning: At the CFIA, you will find experiences and programs that encourage learning and help you to build a successful career. We offer courses in the latest technology, communication, interpersonal skills, management, and English or French as a second language - all aimed at increasing your employability.

Employees are also encouraged to take advantage of self-directed learning opportunities. MyAccount, a public service-wide e-learning tool with a library of self-directed courses, is available to all employees. Sample courses include negotiation, conflict management, second-language training, and Microsoft Office training.

On-the-Job Training: Regular feedback through coaching and mentoring from your manager, attendance at conferences, and participation in workshops are practices promoted as part of the CFIA learning culture to help support your professional development.

Coaching and Mentoring: The CFIA encourages employees at all levels to build and share their knowledge. In addition to formal courses and learning options, our working environment is designed to make continuous learning, coaching, and mentoring an integral part of the organization.

The Individual Learning Plan (ILP): The ILP is an employee's written plan for developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities that he or she requires to perform in his or her current position, as well as for career development purposes. It is a way to organize and set priorities for learning and development.

The Developmental Fund: The CFIA created the Developmental Fund in 2003. It has invested millions of dollars since then and continues to do so in support of knowledge transfer, management development, developmental second official language training, and to complement regularly budgeted training programs and learning activities.

Performance Feedback and Review (PFR): Performance feedback is an important and effective tool for supporting career development by fostering open and ongoing communication between employees and supervisors. It's an opportunity for all employees to discuss their performance, determine work objectives, identify learning needs, and discuss career goals.

Language Training: The CFIA recognizes that obtaining and maintaining a second official language is beneficial for the employee as well as the organization. The Agency has developed tools to assist and support its employees who are required to use their second official language. Official language training is also available free of charge to all employees through the Canada School of Public Service's MyAccount website, an e-learning environment which offers a comprehensive set of online courses and resources.

The CFIA Developmental Fund supports employees who wish to maintain or improve their language skills during non-working hours, providing up to $800 per year toward books and language training at a local institution. Funding is provided on a first come first serve basis, and management pre-approval is required.

In addition, the CFIA's intranet site provides reference and self-learning tools that allow employees to improve their language skills and the quality of their bilingual communications.

4. Work/Life Balance

We are committed to supporting flexible work arrangements and vacation leave starts at three paid weeks per year.

More information on work/life balance

Take Time for Yourself

Whether it's for personal growth, self-care or to spend time with family, we give employees the opportunity to take planned leaves of absence through a number of different options, including:

  • Self-funded leave: leave without pay for 6-12 months, financed through planned deposits taken from the employee's regular annual salary.
  • Leave with Income Averaging: leave without pay for 5 weeks to 3 months within a given 12 month period. The employee's salary is reduced accordingly and averaged out over the year.
  • Leave without pay for care of family: leave without pay for 3 weeks to 5 years (with a maximum of 5 years total being allowed during an employee's career) for the purpose of caring for a family member (for example, this leave can be used to care for a young child).

We also offer more standard types of leave, including:

  • Paid annual vacation leave, starting at 3 weeks for new employees.
  • Maternity and parental leave, including allowances which, in conjunction with Employment Insurance parental benefits, amount to 93% of the employee's weekly rate of pay.
  • One paid personal day and one paid volunteer day per year in addition to vacation.
  • Family related leave to take a dependent family member to a medical appointment, for the immediate and temporary care of a family member, or for the birth or adoption of a child (in addition to regular maternity or parental leave benefits) - to a total of five days of leave with pay per year.
  • Bereavement leave with pay upon the death of a family member.
  • Paid leave for medical and dental appointments.
  • Sick leave with pay.

Work/Life Balance

At the CFIA, we strongly believe that employees must have our genuine support and must have real opportunities to balance their professional and personal lives. A balanced life is healthy, productive, and enjoyable.

As organizational experts suggest, work/life balance is about having a sense that we can control when, where, and how we work. This sense of control comes when our right to live a fulfilled life both inside and outside of paid work is accepted and respected as the norm. This approach to work and life benefits everyone: the individual, the organization, and society at large.

Our commitment to supporting work/life balance is reflected in our benefits package, through the importance we place on working in a collaborative and mutually supportive team environment, and via our support for our employees' involvement in extra-curricular opportunities.

Community Involvement

We encourage you to support the organizations or causes of your choice. To this end, most employees are entitled to one volunteer day each year in addition to their normal leave allotments, which may be used for the volunteer activity of their choice. With the many different types of leave options available at the CFIA, there are ample opportunities to spend your time doing the things you are passionate about.

In addition, we give back to the community through the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign on an organization-wide basis every year, and to many other causes in different offices across the country, based upon the initiative and interests of our employees.

Workplace Wellness

Personal wellness is affected by one's health, work environment, and work/life balance. Our wellness initiatives promote balanced living by helping managers, employees, and their families develop and maintain a superior personal and professional quality of life. We do this in several key ways:

Employee Health Initiatives

  • The Employee Assistance Program;
  • Ergonomics strategies;
  • The CFIA fitness centre (only available in the NCR); and
  • Occupational health evaluations

A Safe, Positive, and Productive Workplace

  • Benefits, insurance, and leave;
  • Flexible working arrangements where operationally feasible;
  • Rewards and recognition programs;
  • Equity and diversity programs;
  • Regular employee surveys;
  • Occupational health and safety policies;
  • Ongoing learning and development; and
  • Regular performance feedback and review

The CFIA monitors wellness indicators in a number of different ways to ensure that the program is effective.

5. Occupational Health and Safety is a top priority

Occupational health and safety is deeply embedded in our corporate culture and taken into consideration when every business decision is made.

More information on occupational health and safety

The CFIA provides a safe and healthy working environment for all of its employees. Promoting occupational health and safety is an integral part of our corporate culture, as is integrating Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) into our management and business decision-making processes.

There are many good reasons to make health and safety a top priority. The primary reason is to protect workers, but OHS also makes good business sense by dramatically reducing the cost of accidents, injuries, and occupational illness.

Because many of our workplaces bear an inherent level of risk (the laboratory environment is a good example of this) we take extra precautions and have a variety of OHS prevention programs, a network of OHS committees, a commitment to ensuring that safe work practices are included in work procedures, and that we regularly provide OHS program information and training.

6. Employment equity and Diversity

The Canada Food Inspection Agency is committed to employment equity and diversity.

More information on employment on equity and diversity

Diversity and Equity

For the CFIA, the principles of equity, multiculturalism, and diversity underlie the Agency's approach to business. To serve Canadians effectively and to work cooperatively with Canadian and international stakeholders, the CFIA is committed to having a workforce that represents the public it serves. We provide a work environment where all people are treated with respect and dignity. This commitment is reflected in the actions of individuals at every level of the organization as well as in its formal policies, programs, and practices.

Our attention to diversity enables us to attract and retain a representative workforce. We recognize that our success relies on the quality and ability of our employees and also the sustainability of our workforce. To that end, we encourage women (especially in non-traditional occupational groups), Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and visible minorities to join our workforce. We welcome applications from all individuals who have legal status to work in Canada and we do not give preference to Canadian citizens for purposes of employment. We also accept foreign education credentials, as long as written documentation to substantiate equivalency is provided. More details on how to do this are available at the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials.

At the CFIA, we make a conscious effort to combine our differences and to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of all our people. More specifically, we aim for an environment that, among other things, offers adequate and timely learning opportunities, promotes diversity, and ensures that processes and practices are in place to resolve workplace issues. Embracing diversity is a fundamental principle that underlies the way we do business.

Linguistic Duality

The CFIA recognizes English and French as its official languages. It is committed to taking concrete and positive measures to serve the Canadian public in the official language of its choice, to build an exemplary workplace respectful of Canada's linguistic duality, and to actively promote its official languages.

The CFIA ensures that the work environment is conducive to the effective use of both official languages by enabling its employees to use either official language in designated parts of the country. This means that the CFIA respects the right of employees to work and communicate in the official language of their choice, and that the Agency ensures that communications with and services to employees are in both official languages, simultaneously and of equal quality.

7. Compensation and Benefits Package

Our benefits package includes a competitive salary and a first-rate dental plan.

More information on compensation and benefits package

Compensation and benefits package

The CFIA is a leading employer, particularly when you consider our total compensation package. We offer a variety of benefits:

  • a competitive salary
  • excellent medical, dental, and pension benefits for you and your family, including:
  • flexible vacation and numerous types of leave:
    • all permanent employees begin with three weeks of paid annual vacation leave
    • leave of absence: Whether it's for personal growth, self-care, or family care, the CFIA gives employees the opportunity to take planned leaves of absence.
    • maternity and parental leave, including allowances which, in conjunction with EI parental benefits, amount to 93% of the employee's weekly rate of pay
    • flexible working arrangements such as flexible start and end times, leave with income averaging, pre-retirement transition leave and self-funded leave
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP): A voluntary, free, confidential counselling service for all agency employees and retirees, their spouses, and their dependants. This is the place to get short-term counselling about career concerns, marital strife, family issues, single parenting, alcohol or drug abuse, gambling, domestic violence, esteem issues, stress and much more.

For more information on Executive Compensation, please visit the Directive on Executive Compensation.

The agency is a unionized work environment. Based on employee status, length of service, and job classification, specific entitlements are defined in greater detail in each separate collective agreement.

Bargaining agents within the agency include:

8. Canada's largest science-based regulatory agency

We are responsible for the delivery of all federally mandated programs for food inspection, plant and animal health products and production systems.

9. Rewards and Recognition

We are committed to recognizing achievements at the local, organizational and Agency level as well as special contributions, years of service and retirement.

More information on rewards and recognition

President's National Awards

The President's National Awards (PNA) are presented each year to recognize employees for outstanding performance and achievements.

The PNA is designed to promote a spirit of co-operation, mutual respect, excellence, quality and responsibility. It encourages and recognizes initiative, flexibility and innovation in performing tasks that are above and beyond the call of duty, while linking to the Agency's business objectives. In addition, the Awards foster the CFIA's values and ethics by rewarding openness, integrity, trust, professionalism, respect, commitment, and a positive outlook. These represent the basis for our behaviours and relationships with our clients and one another.

External Awards

Some examples of external awards that employees of the CFIA have won in the past:

  • Public Service Awards of Excellence (PSAE): From 2005 to 2009, CFIA employees were recognized annually with one or more of these prestigious awards. In 2012, Heather Arbuckle was honoured in the "youth" category for her role in establishing the Agency's Plant Business Line delivery model, which has set the standard for delivery models throughout the Agency.
  • Outstanding Achievement Award: Considered to be the most prestigious award in the Public Service, this award is presented to senior public service employees who have distinguished themselves by a sustained commitment to excellence. Philip H. Amundson received this award in 2007 for his admirable work throughout his career in the Western provinces.
  • Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX) Award: Each year, APEX highlights management excellence and leadership of federal public service executives. In 2008, Liz Singh was awarded this honour for her "significant contributions as a scientist, a manager, and a leader" under the category of career contribution.
  • The GTEC distinction awards recognize leadership, innovation and excellence in enabling and managing e-government in federal, provincial, or municipal public service. In 2009, the CFIA was honoured, along with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and Public Works and Government Services Canada, for its New Headquarters Complex under the category of Shared IT Infrastructure.
  • Michelle C. Comeau Human Resources Leadership Award: In 2012, Lee-Ann Altmann received the Michele C. Comeau Human Resources Leadership Award, an award for excellence and leadership in the public service's HR field. Lee-Ann and her team implemented the PeopleSoft Shared Services Cluster - a standard HR system and business processes to support the HR function in the CFIA, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Health Canada, and the Public Health Agency of Canada, serving over 38,000 employees.

10. Learning and Career Development

When you join us, we will work with you and will support your career development efforts by providing you with on-the-job training, assignment opportunities and mentoring programs.

More information on lifelong learning

Lifelong Learning

The Agency provides access to various tools that executives and leaders may use to support their career management goals. A few of the available tools are:

  • A Leadership Development Framework, which aims to develop and maintain leadership capacity at the Agency. The Framework includes a number of mandatory and recommended courses and learning tools, both formal and informal, that leaders can use to maintain and upgrade their skills.
  • Action Learning Groups to help solve problems, address issues, explore possibilities, etc.
  • A National Mentoring Program, being piloted by the Agency, to facilitate the creation of mentoring relationships. These relationships provide personal and professional growth for both the person being mentored and for the mentor.
  • Access to relevant networks that can help you learn and grow in your position and assist you in accomplishing your day-to-day goals, including:
    • The Community of Federal Regulators (CFR) is a partnership of federal departments and agencies involved in the development and management of regulations (like the CFIA).
    • The CFIA is part of the Federal Science and Technology (S&T) Community and participates in the S&T Integration Board, which includes Assistant Deputy Ministers from the 12 federal departments and agencies that perform S&T.
    • Other organizations that provide access to research, discussion around policy issues, and leadership development opportunities, such as APEX (the national association for federal public service executives), the Conference Board of Canada, and the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer.
  • Access to government of Canada learning tools such as:
    The Canada School of Public Service, which is the common learning service provider for the Public Service of Canada. It provides both classroom and e-learning opportunities, and offers several resources designed for managers and executives.
    • EX Talent Management (EX TM). EX TM is about ensuring that all executives' levels (1–5) are matched to the right job for their skills, competencies and career plans.
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