Responding to Today, Building for the Future Progress Report 2018: Looking Back, Looking Forward

A message from the President and Executive Vice President

In 2017, we launched the "Responding to Today, Building for the Future" (RTBF) framework that set out our strategic priorities for the next few years. At that time, we promised to keep our staff, as well as our partners, engaged and informed of the changes and progress we are making to improve how we do business.

We are proud of the significant work that has taken place across the Agency over the last year - from our core focus on food safety, animal health, plant protection and international market access, to the steps we have taken to innovate and better position ourselves for the future.

To help us learn, adapt and evolve, we sought out partnerships with other government departments, we engaged employees and regulated parties, and we had candid and open dialogue with our bargaining agents. Our goal has been to make sure our employees have a voice and that we consider the perspectives of industry and our partners, as we continue to plan and implement key initiatives that support our evolution. As we move forward with our plans, we will align them with the Government of Canada's broader mandate and initiatives for diversity and indigenous reconciliation. Every department and agency, including the CFIA, must look at their work and ask what role they can play in advancing these commitments.

Given the ambitious change agenda we have set for ourselves, it's important to pause and take stock of our activities. Part of this work includes sharing what we have accomplished and shining a light on what we want to pursue in the years ahead. This opens up opportunities for discussion within the Agency and across our broad range of stakeholders and allows us to understand the dependencies and sequencing of our actions. We want to make sure that the effort we put in now will help us reach the goals we have set for the future.

Throughout this document you will hear about our progress over the last year, highlights of what we have learned along the way and the course we have set for the next few years to push our strategic priorities forward. We hope that this document will serve to reinforce our commitment to engage you by providing information about the organization and how we are setting ourselves up for success as we continue to evolve.

Paul Glover
Paul Glover
President
France Pégeot
France Pégeot
Executive Vice President

Creating a foundation for success

Risks to food safety and our animal and plant resources have changed considerably in recent years and will continue to evolve rapidly with global trading patterns, innovation and new technology. In this fast-paced environment, the CFIA must continue to become more agile to help protect our resources while also supporting industry's ability to compete globally. Adapting to constant change will compel us to be more innovative and to embrace technology, leveraging its capabilities to provide new ways of doing business that include better, more responsive programs and services.

Recognizing that our ability to adapt and respond to new risks and rapid changes to our environment is crucial to our future success, we consolidated our transformation and modernization initiatives into one integrated plan in 2017, known as the RTBF framework. The five key strategic priorities outlined in the framework remain the focus of everything we do.

Looking back over the past year, we should be extremely proud of how far we have come. It's been a monumental year in many ways with several key strategic initiatives coming to fruition - from publishing the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) that come into force in January 2019, to moving from theory to practice with incremental implementation of the Establishment-based Risk Assessment (ERA) Model, to releasing a growing number of online services for industry through My CFIA. We also tested new inspection procedures in hog slaughter establishments in two facilities in Alberta and rolled out the first wave of new digital devices for employees across the country, to help them work more efficiently and effectively.

In addition to the great work done under the key strategic priorities, the CFIA made changes to its governance and organizational structures to respond to key challenges facing the Agency - such as the need to continuously innovate and improve our ability as a regulator to safeguard food, animal and plant health, and to better support our efforts to maintain and grow market access for Canadian exporters. These changes include:

  • establishing the Strategic Priorities Oversight Committee where senior management can make decisions on how initiatives move forward based on readiness and capacity for change
  • creating a new International Affairs Branch to bring focus and accountability to international activities within CFIA and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), in an effort to better advance the Government's market access and trade agenda
  • creating the new Innovation, Business and Service Development Branch focused on future design and implementation of business development, services and technology with a dedicated team (known as the i-Zone) that promotes a culture of innovation that challenges the status quo
  • standing up Business Line Management Boards for food, plant and animal to enhance and integrate risk based planning and resource optimization across the Agency

Our focus on engagement, transparency and innovation is evident in how we are addressing change at the Agency. We have been starting small and engaging with the right people through collaborative approaches like "team sprints" and "hot spots" for specific challenges and making adjustments along the way to address issues before implementing more broadly.

The recently formed i-Zone team also reinforces a culture of innovation and collaboration by providing a space to develop and test hypotheses, explore innovation opportunities and share information and results across the Agency. The i-Zone will create more appetite to experiment, to acknowledge and support acceptable risks, and to learn from our successes and failures by tapping into our greatest asset, our employees.

Finally, we know that our success today and in the future depends on putting people first. Change is intrinsic to our organization, and we must continuously challenge and improve our technology and processes to remain current. As we plan and implement new initiatives, we must recognize the impact change has on our people and provide support to those affected. Just as we did when implementing a pilot in hog slaughter establishments in Alberta, we will continue to provide training and look for opportunities to match people's skills to new roles and opportunities when jobs change.

Over the coming months, we will also engage our employees on renewing our core values to reflect some of the new circumstances in our environment such as our focus on engagement, innovation and service delivery. Renewing and discussing our Agency values is important because they anchor our behaviors and guide us in our goal of continuous improvement.

Modern Regulatory Toolkit

Goal

Outcome-based regulations and new compliance tools that focus on safety, allowing industry to innovate and the Agency to adapt in response to emerging risks

What we accomplished

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations
  • Regulations published in the Canada Gazette Part II
  • Developed training and guidance for employees and began providing guidance and compliance promotion resources to industry
Food and Drug Regulations
  • Updated the beer compositional standards to allow innovation in beer manufacturing.
  • Regulations were pre-published in the Canada Gazette Part I for consultation
Feeds Regulations
  • Completed stakeholder consultations in preparation for pre-publication in the Canada Gazette Part I
Health of Animals Regulations
  • Proposed amendments to Humane Transport and Zoning were pre-published in the Canada Gazette Part I for consultation. The "What We Heard Report on Humane Transport" as well as a Notice of Intent were posted online
  • Completed consultations on amendments to the Hatchery Regulations in preparation for pre-publication in the Canada Gazette Part I

What we plan to do over the next three years

Over the next three years, the CFIA will focus its efforts on moving several proposed regulations through the federal regulatory development process, from publishing in the Canada Gazette to coming into force.

The CFIA will continue to develop the necessary training, tools and guidance along the way and will engage and inform its employees, industry and other stakeholders so they are aware and ready for new requirements in the list of regulations below:

  • Safe Food for Canadians Regulations
  • Food and Drug Regulations
  • Health of Animals Regulations
  • Feeds Regulations
  • Fertilizers Regulations
  • Hatchery Regulations
  • Plant Breeders' Rights Regulations
  • Seeds Regulations

Last year, our goal was to advance the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), a shift that would see us move from 14 sets of commodity-specific regulations to one comprehensive set of regulations that are outcome-based. This was an ambitious goal for the organization, one we had been working towards for many years. We are proud to say that we accomplished it. The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations were published on June 13, 2018 in the Canada Gazette Part II, and will come into force on January 15, 2019. This is an incredible milestone for the organization. These regulations represent the largest regulatory reform ever undertaken by the Government of Canada and a landmark multi-year, multi-branch effort for the CFIA to modernize, strengthen and simplify Canada's food safety rules.

To support the coming into force of these regulations, significant effort is being invested in developing resources and training material for our field inspection staff as well as updating our regulatory guidance for internal and external audiences.

Heading into coming into force, this work will continue so we can ensure our employees have the necessary tools and training to carry out their duties under the new regulations. Similarly, through compliance promotion, the CFIA will continue to promote awareness and understanding among regulated parties so they can meet their responsibilities when it comes to food safety requirements in Canada. For example, as part of our compliance promotion activities the CFIA has made information, interactive tools and videos available on enrolment and licencing on its website.

"A lot of preparations are underway for SFCR. Empowering our inspectors to make outcome-based decisions will be important for our success."

Kevin Urbanic, Area Chief Inspector, Guelph, Ontario

In addition to the great strides the Agency has made with SFCR, the CFIA has also been working hard at advancing its modern regulatory toolkit on the plant and animal front. For example, proposed amendments to Humane Transport and Zoning were pre-published in the Canada Gazette Part I for consultation and the CFIA completed consultations on amendments to the Hatchery Regulations in preparation for pre-publication in the Canada Gazette Part I.

Looking forward, the Agency will focus its efforts on continuing to modernize regulations that protect Canada's food, plant and animal resource base. Supported by Budget 2018, the Government of Canada intends to pursue a regulatory review and reform agenda focused on supporting innovation and business investment. The goal is to make Canada's regulatory system more agile, transparent and responsive, so that businesses can act on new opportunities and be more competitive. This review process is a great opportunity for the Agency to work with key stakeholders, in particular industry, to identify some of the other major issues and innovations that could shape our future.

Integrated Risk Management

Goal

Better use of our data, reports and surveillance to identify trends, allowing us to focus on risk and support program design, planning, compliance and enforcement efforts

What we accomplished

Establishment-Based Risk Assessment (ERA) Model and ERA-Hatchery Model Data Collection
  • Data was collected from federally regulated establishments and inspectors for dairy, meat/poultry and maple. Data collection started for additional food commodities including fish and seafood, honey, and egg products
  • Data was collected from federally regulated hatcheries
ERA Results Integration
  • Analyzed results from dairy and meat/poultry
  • Analysis started in maple and hatchery sectors
  • Set up a task force to integrate all commodity results into program and operational planning
  • Adapting the ERA algorithm for an Importer Risk Assessment Model
Canadian Food Safety Information Network (CFSIN)
  • Formally initiated the development of the CFSIN technical solution
  • Signed three data sharing arrangements with Ontario, Alberta and Nunavut
  • Finalized a common CFSIN data dictionary and identified a common food classification system
  • Developed an inventory of environmental scanning and intelligence activities

What we plan to do over the next three years

Establishment-Based Risk Assessment (ERA) Model
  • Develop an algorithm for an ERA-Feed Model
  • Use results of the ERA-Feed Model to take a systematic, evidence-based approach to assess the level of risk associated with feed establishments
  • Integrate establishment data online through My CFIA/ Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP)
ERA Implementation
  • Use ERA results to inform compliance verification frequency for all food commodities based on food safety risks
  • Use ERA-Hatchery results to inform compliance verification frequency
Food Safety Information Network (CFSIN)
  • Release the CFSIN platform and focus on onboarding, supporting, and developing the network with food safety partners
  • Create a strategy to engage with the food industry and academia to grow the network
  • Develop a shared Pan-Canadian approach to federal, provincial and territorial food surveillance activities

Risk-based decision-making is at the core of the Agency's everyday work. We made great strides in this area over 2017-18, by standing up Business Line Management Boards to oversee planning and resource allocation for the food, animal and plant business lines and advancing the development of a risk management approach. The Agency used scientific data from the Comparative Risk Model (an analytical tool that uses data from external and internal sources to compare risks across and within business lines), and data from the Establishment-based Risk Assessment (ERA) Model to develop tactical work plans and guide inspection activities.

"Our Agency is improving its ability to effectively gather, analyze, and use data in our decision-making process. Continuing to build risk information will be key to harnessing our capacity to target areas where there are higher threats."

Alyssa Daku, Chief Data and Risk Officer, National Capital Region, Ontario

As part of the Agency's efforts to modernize its inspection system, the ERA Model was developed to evaluate food establishments based on the level of risk they represent to consumers. The model uses data to determine the level of risk to inform oversight required by inspectors.

The ERA Model was developed by CFIA staff in collaboration with experts from academia, industry and other government departments. The development of the model also drew upon the experience of other countries that have used a similar approach to risk assessment, and considered scientific literature and leading edge modelling technology. A similar approach was used to develop the ERA-Hatchery Model.

Data collection is complete for the dairy, meat/poultry, maple and hatchery sectors. Data is being collected in other commodities, including fish and seafood, honey, and egg products. Data is starting to be used in program design in dairy and risk-based inspections will rollout as results become available for each commodity.

We also invested in science to increase and enhance capacity in laboratories and in new technology and tools to better manage and share information including the Canadian Food Safety Information Network (CFSIN), a more than $30 million initiative led by the CFIA that will strengthen the ability of food safety authorities across Canada to better anticipate, detect and respond to food safety incidents and emergencies.

In addition, the Agency signed a science-sharing memorandum of understanding with France's Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l'alimentation, de l'environnement et du travail in March 2017. This memorandum enables the sharing of innovative science and risk assessment methods and strengthens scientific cooperation between the CFIA's laboratories and 11 French laboratories.

Looking forward, we will continue developing and improving our existing risk assessment tools. Work is underway for adapting the ERA Model for importers and creating an ERA Model for the feed sector.

We will also look at other ways to further the Agency's business intelligence and make use of new technologies. For example, in the coming year, the CFIA will partner with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and the Blockchain Research Institute to conduct a case study to understand this technology and the implications it has for the agriculture and agri-food industry as Blockchain represents significant potential to trace long and complicated supply chains.

Consistent and Efficient Inspections

Goal

An inspection approach carried out nationally in a fair, consistent and predictable manner that is focused on regulatory outcomes and supported by mobile tools and guidance

What we accomplished

Mobile Strategy
  • Engaged/validated inspection activities in the Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP)
  • Rolled out mobile devices to inspectors
Integrated Agency Inspection Model (iAIM)/ Standard Inspection Procedure (SIP)
  • Began implementation of the model
  • Started rolling out the Standard Inspection Procedure (SIP). Today, SIP is successfully used by inspectors in the dairy, fish, greenhouse, fresh fruits and vegetables, oilseeds (feed) and specified risk material permitting programs
Modernized Slaughter Inspection Program (MSIP) Hog Pilot
  • Trained inspectors, launched and completed pilot at two establishments in Alberta
  • Conducted a preliminary evaluation against performance indicators
Updates to the Compliance Verification System (CVS) in Meat
  • Conducted Area level focus groups to gather feedback on the proposed changes
  • Launched CVS Updates in Meat on July 1, 2018
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Program
  • Updated the national CWD disease program to encourage industry to adopt strong risk management practices by enrolling in a Voluntary Herd Certification Program
Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) Disease Control Program
  • Consulted on a proposed National EIA disease control program to more effectively address EIA, including some mandatory testing requirements for certain movements of horses in Western Canada

What we plan to do over the next three years

Mobile Strategy
  • Deploy tablets and laptops to inspectors
  • Continue incremental adoption of DSDP mobile inspection application
Standard Inspection Procedure (SIP)
  • Rollout SIP incrementally to all food commodities and begin rollout across plant and animal business lines
Modernized Slaughter Inspection Program (MSIP) Hog Pilot
  • Undertake an evaluation phase and either move forward or discontinue based on evaluation. If successful, develop plan to rollout to remaining hog slaughter establishments across Canada
Updates to the Compliance Verification System (CVS) in Meat
  • Continue to monitor implementation performance
  • Continue to provide support to inspectors at the field level as required
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Program
  • Continue phasing in the program changes that were announced in 2017
  • Work with provincial and territorial partners to complete development and implement enhancements to the federal CWD program
Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) Disease Control Program
  • Evaluate the information received during the consultation
  • Complete design and implement a pilot project for a new approach to EIA disease control in Canada and assess results for further program changes

A good regulatory system is one that achieves its objectives while also being predictable, transparent and efficient. The changes we have been making to our inspection system will increase standardization and consistency and help prepare the Agency to implement the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations in a timely and efficient manner.

One of the ways the CFIA is doing this is through the adoption of the Standard Inspection Procedure (SIP), introduced the SIP last year. While it is making our inspection activities more consistent and efficient, it also provides inspectors with the flexibility to adapt to different situations that may arise during an inspection.

The SIP also focuses on key internationally recognized preventive controls and captures data related to compliance with those controls at an establishment level. Once digital tools are fully rolled out, CFIA will be able to aggregate data on compliance to inform risk-based planning and reporting. It will tell us not just about the performance of individual establishments, but the overall Canadian system.

The Compliance Verification System (CVS), which is used for various programs, was updated for the meat program as of July 1, 2018, to better reflect an outcome-based approach to conducting inspections, focussing on areas of highest risk.

The updates to CVS, along with SIP, also increase the standardization and consistency of the current inspection system and help prepare the Agency to implement the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations in a timely and efficient manner.

In addition to introducing SIP, the Agency launched the Modernized Slaughter Inspection Program (MSIP) hog pilot on February 20, 2018. MSIP, in essence, is a movement away from traditional inspection to a more risk-based approach with enhancements to industry responsibility and to inspectors' capacity to focus on true areas of risk to food safety. It not only aligns us better with trading partners but also supports market access and trade while creating efficiencies. While the current pilot is in hog slaughter, the same modern approach to slaughter has been used to inspect federally-registered poultry establishments for more than 15 years with excellent results.

Also, in support of consistent and efficient inspections, the Agency is embracing digital-first tools by replacing ageing and older technology and devices with new smartphones and tablets. Employees can expect to experience better connectivity, collaboration and information sharing that will ultimately support them in their work. New devices, paired with the Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP), will help free inspectors from manual administrative tasks and enable the tracking and management of information digitally. Mobile devices will be rolled out to inspectors in a gradual way so we can gain valuable insight from employees to help us understand limitations and solve problems.

"I've enjoyed being a part of the testing process for the DSDP. Once software goes live there is often very little that can be done to change it. So being able to provide feedback, while there is still time to address or fix problems, has been a great experience"

Tiffany Geddes, Food Processing Specialist Inspector, Parksville, British Columbia, on her participation in the Preliminary Operational Road Test (PORT).

The CFIA will also continue ensure the inspectorate has the necessary support to build and develop competencies and capacity to carry out inspection activities effectively and efficiently. This will be done by providing training and guidance as well as easier ways of collaborating through the rollout of new apps and tools.

Digital First Tools and Services

Goal

To equip industry with a full range of electronic services and information to comply with regulations and employees with the necessary tools to carry out their work effectively and efficiently

What we accomplished

Online Services (My CFIA)
  • Rolled out food, plant and animal permissions and two food export certificates online
  • Launched the inspection component of the digital platform. In July 2018, honey inspectors began using Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP) to enter their inspection data
  • Adopted business numbers as a standard identifier of businesses for online transactions
External Support and Enquiries Management
  • Developed and implemented an operational model to manage client enquiries about the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

What we plan to do over the next three years

Online Services (My CFIA)
  • Continue incremental rollout of export certificates, starting with dairy
  • Make SFCR licences available online
  • Import admissibility
  • E-Billing availability
  • Certification through single-window
  • Continue to rollout the inspection component of the digital platform for all inspections, starting in food programs and begin decommissioning old electronic service that will be replaced by DSDP
  • Continue incremental roll out of permissions including pre-market assessments for fertilizer, seed, plants with novel traits, veterinary biologics and animal feed using DSDP
External Support and Enquiries Management
  • Support staged client enrolment and issuance of food licences
  • Incrementally ‎implement One-Agency operating model for overall enquiry management
Laboratory Quality Management Cloud-Based Service

To continue to protect Canadians and build on the Agency's global reputation, we are focusing more on innovation and our ability to adapt to change. Advancements in technology and analytics are dramatically reshaping the private and public sectors. While we are in the midst of rolling out new tools for the inspectorate to move them into the digital world, we recognize the need to embrace technology and provide more efficient and responsive service.

My CFIA is the portal for regulated parties to access our new Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP) where more and more services such as permits, certificates and licences are available electronically. In addition to supporting My CFIA, the platform also gives CFIA employees the ability to manage certain tasks and activities.

During the development and implementation of the platform, the CFIA held workshops and focus groups with industry and employees to help identify areas of improvement and enhance usability. The CFIA has been testing the platform with frontline employees. Their feedback has been instrumental in helping uncover roadblocks that are being addressed before a wider rollout of the platform.

Looking forward, the CFIA will continue to explore how we can leverage My CFIA, our National Service Centres and Compliance Promotion database, so we can get information and guidance to our clients quickly and provide mechanisms so they can access information anywhere and anytime. We will also need to develop and invest in analytics to enhance our ability to meet external expectations and address emerging risks.

"We live and work in a digital world and the Agency's clients expect service through multiple channels. In keeping with our digital-first strategy, we'll offer services online and continue to build this capacity."

Amanda Jane (AJ) Preece, Vice President of the new Innovation Business and Service Development Branch, National Capital Region, Ontario

Just as we are working to improve the design and sustainability of our networks by focusing on improved speed and usability for external audiences, we need to shift how we think about arming our staff with the knowledge and information they need to do their jobs. Over the next few years we will be looking at how technology can help us support employees through collaborative work tools, online training and streamlining administrative activities. One of the ways we will do this is through partnering with other federal departments to tap into new technologies such as a learning management system. In doing so, we are leveraging work that other partners have done, including testing and using a secure cloud service, to bring new and exciting platforms to our employees. One such cloud service is currently being deployed in CFIA laboratories to implement a national, automated approach to managing quality system documents.

Global Leader

Goal

To pursue improved international standards, fairness in trade practices, enhanced use of technology and regulatory cooperation

What we accomplished

International Standard Setting
  • Codex Alimentarius (Codex) –Co-led the development of the renewed Strategic Framework for Canada's participation in the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Food Standards Program. The framework guides Canada's Codex activities to influence the development of international food standards
  • World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) – Engaged the OIE to conduct and publish a comprehensive evaluation of veterinary services in Canada - a benchmark to compare Canada's system internationally. CFIA also provided active technical input to develop and revise international standards on priority animal diseases and animal welfare. Canada's OIE Delegate was elected Secretary General for the OIE Regional Commission for the Americas and a CFIA expert was elected to the Biological Standards Commission
  • International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) – Provided the IPPC's ePhyto Project Manager, who successfully led the development and pilot of the ePhyto Hub that facilitates the exchange of electronic phytosanitary certificates. This system will improve the security of phytosanitary certificates and expedite processes for exporters and importers. Following the successful pilot, a total of 20 countries have signed up to use the ePhyto Hub. The CFIA's data system is compatible with the ePhyto Hub for the issuance of phytosanitary certificates
  • The "Catalogue of Instruments Available to WTO Members to Manage Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures Issues" – proposed and developed by Canada and Kenya, was adopted by the World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • Free Trade Agreements – Took a leadership role in the negotiation of specific provisions relating to food safety and animal and plant health (sanitary and phytosanitary measures) within Canada's free trade agreements
  • In 2017-18, participated in 53 (up from 36 in 2016-17) key sanitary and phytosanitary negotiations and international standards setting bodies meetings
International Regulatory Cooperation and Science Collaboration
  • The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was provisionally applied on September 21, 2017
  • Hosted technical workshops for government and industry representatives in five trade-partner countries (China, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, and India) to help build capacity
  • Collaborated with the United States (US), to implement the North American Sea Container Initiative (NASCI) which brings together Canadian and US border protection agencies, shippers and global shipping companies to develop the guidance for cleaning and inspecting sea containers, and to ensure that everyone involved in moving sea containers takes responsibility to protect plant and animal resources
Market Access Support / Facilitating Trade
  • In 2017-18, 65 market access issues were resolved - from maintaining access to Pakistan for Canadian oilseeds and pulses to regaining access to Argentina for pork
  • Launching a pilot project for the export of Canadian chilled/fresh meat (beef and pork) to China

What we plan to do over the next three years

International Standard Setting
  • Finalize and implement, in collaboration with other departments, the Strategic Framework for Canada's Participation in the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Program; Continue to actively engage in Codex to influence the development of food standards and continue to host and provide leadership to the Codex Committee on Food Labelling
  • Continue to represent Canada and North America and provide positive leadership in all governance bodies of the IPPC. Finalize and adopt the IPPC Strategic Framework for 2020-2030; advocate for increased facilitation of safe trade by the IPPC; support the adoption of 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health and lead the associated awareness building activities
  • Advocate for increased facilitation of safe trade by the IPPC through the implementation of the WTO-SPS Trade Facilitation Agreement Work Plan
  • Lead the finalization and adoption of the draft International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) on authorization of entities to perform phytosanitary action
  • Development of the draft ISPM on audit in the phytosanitary context
  • Provide input to finalize and adopt the 7th OIE Strategic Plan: 2021-2025. Actively participate in OIE ad hoc groups to revise key standards on foot and mouth disease, BSE and avian influenza. Provide leadership in the Americas Region to increase participation in the standard setting process and the appropriate implementation of OIE standards
  • Continue to play a leadership role in advancing the work of the World Trade Organization Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures in order to strengthen and promote a rules-based international trading system to both facilitate trade and preserve its ability to regulate in the public interest
  • Continue to play a leadership role in the negotiation of Canada's free trade agreements to ensure that market access gains achieved through tariff reductions are not nullified by the use of unjustified non-tariff barriers
International Regulatory Cooperation and Science Collaboration
  • Canada and the European Union (EU) through the CETA Sanitary and Phytosanitary Joint Management Committee (JMC) will continue to advance issues and build on strong collaboration
  • Collaborate with Global Affairs Canada, to prepare to deliver a capacity building program with Senegal to manage and scientifically regulate agricultural biotechnology and the development of a seed control system
Market Access Support / Facilitating Trade
  • Through an innovative structure that harnesses the capacities of the CFIA and AAFC, the International Affairs Branch, continues to work on market access: to gain, improve and maintain market access for issues identified as priorities, in collaboration with other relevant government departments as well as Canadian industry

The CFIA is a global leader in advancing Canadian trade interests while protecting Canadians and our environment from foreign pests, disease and food safety risks and each of us wants to sustain and build on that reputation. Our work not only safeguards the health of our food, plant and animal resources for Canadians, it also serves as the foundation for public trust beyond our own borders to maintain current market access and grow new markets for Canadian exporters.

The Government of Canada has placed a strong emphasis on strengthening our internationally competitive agriculture and agri-food sector, committing to expand annual exports to $75 billion by 2025.

To help support economic growth of Canada's agricultural and agri-food industry, the CFIA's key priorities in the global arena will continue to focus on influencing international standards, pursuing fairness in trade practices, embracing the use of technology, and enhancing regulatory cooperation with competent authorities. In order to focus the work of the Agency so that it can deliver on the Government of Canada and CFIA priorities, the Agency is developing its International Strategic Plan: Delivering on Government of Canada Priorities. This plan is set to cover the 2019-25 timeframe.

Given that our domestic systems underpin market access, our ability to ensure that we have rigorous controls in place here at home for food safety and consumer protection, animal health and plant health directly impacts our ability to access export markets.

Access to foreign markets depends on international standards and processes that are science-based, predictable and aligned with our trading partners. A large part of the work we do is to contribute to the development of international standards that are science and risk-based in order to facilitate safe trade. We do this through participation in international fora, trade negotiations and participation in international standard-setting bodies. To support the Agency in these activities, the CFIA and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada created the International Affairs Branch that is focused on international market access and regulatory trade issues. The new structure maximizes the use of resources and leverages both departmental and agency mandates to better support the government's ambitious goal of increasing agri-food and seafood exports.

Resolving sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to market access is a significant part of the work that we do. Collaboration at international fora, such as the WTO, Codex the OIE, and the IPPC, provides a key mechanism to advance science-based standards that enhance predictability in trade.

The CFIA led Canadian efforts at several key international fora over the last year across the food, plant and animal business lines to promote the development of science-based international standards including:

  • hosting the Codex Committee on Food Labelling
  • hosting the Expert Working Group on the Authorization of Entities to Perform Phytosanitary Actions at the International Plant Protection Convention
  • co-hosting the OIE's 2nd Global Conference on Biological Threat Reduction

"This opportunity to collaborate and share innovative ideas and research is part of the process on how the world sets international rules for standard seed quality testing in certification."

Dr. Steve Jones, Chief, Seed Purity and Germination, Saskatoon Laboratory, Saskatchewan, on his participation in the Annual International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) meeting in Japan

Among other work conducted by the new International Affairs Branch, the CFIA with Global Affairs Canada negotiated the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) chapters of Canada's Free Trade Agreements, including the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Mexico. The CFIA co-leads the negotiation of SPS chapters in trade agreements that preserve a country's right to take the measures necessary to protect its food, plant and animal resource base while requiring that it do so in a way that does not unjustifiably restrict trade. In promoting the use of science-based and risk-based measures, Canada is seeking to create a predictable trade environment where everyone is playing by the same rules.

When it comes to supporting international market access and international trade, we cannot work alone. We need our departmental partners, international fora and industry working together.

Looking forward, the CFIA will continue to support economic growth of Canada's agricultural and agri-food industry, which generates over $111 billion a year and accounts for 1 in 8 Canadian jobs, by continuing to focus its efforts on building its reputation as a global leader to maintain current market access and facilitate access to new international markets. We will continue to use all multilateral and bilateral opportunities to promote science-based and risk-based approaches to regulations and standards while influencing international approaches to regulating innovative products. Our goal is more harmonized systems for product approvals and greater predictability in markets.

Positioning ourselves for the future

Like any organization implementing significant and incremental change, the process is not without struggles. But adapting how we do business is crucial to our future success in protecting the safety of our food, plant and animal resources and supporting market access for Canadian businesses.

The world of plant and animal health and food safety is evolving, and we must evolve with it. From potential new risks from increases in the speed, volume and complexity of production, to the pace of digitization, and the Government's commitment to grow our agricultural exports to $75 billion by 2025, the reality is that the Agency must evolve and adapt. Our goal must be continuous improvement. The biggest threat to our hard-earned, world-class reputation is not change but complacency - we simply can't afford to stay the same.

While we have adopted and made significant progress in delivering on our ambitious agenda under the RTBF framework, our success must be guided by our key principles:

  • incremental evolution
  • agility and innovation
  • transparency and accountability
  • honesty and engagement

With change happening so quickly and given finite resources, we must be agile and innovative, able to shift gears when the unexpected happens, whether it's changes in market access or responding to a national emergency.

We need to think beyond next year to envision what our regulatory system should look like in five, 10 or 15 years. Will our system work to encourage a globally competitive industry, or will it be a roadblock to market innovation and a Canadian entrepreneurial spirit? How can we expand our traditional focus on prevention and enforcement to incent or reward the kind of behavior that will make Canada a continued global leader in food, animal and plant safety? How can we be a better regulator in a world where demands are increasing and our resources are limited?

Employees and stakeholders from all parts of Canada have shared with us what our change means to them. What we know for sure is that engagement and transparency are key to better understanding complex issues that involve multiple players.

By engaging and tapping into employee and stakeholder experiences and expertise, we can make better decisions. We have been analyzing the feedback from what we have heard to help us identify gaps and make improvements to ensure our plans are rolled out incrementally, based on readiness and capacity for change.

While this document is intended to provide a snapshot in time of where the CFIA is in its evolution and where we are headed, we recognize that it's important to keep the conversation going. When our strategic initiatives are guided by transparency and accountability, we ensure plans are accessible and understandable to employees and our stakeholders and our outcomes are well communicated.

As our commitment to you, we will continue to communicate and engage with our internal and external stakeholders on an ongoing basis on the key strategic initiatives and will highlight the great work we do through our internal and external newsletters (Contact and the CFIA Chronicle), face-to-face meetings and other collaborative tools such as SharePoint sites and social media channels. We hope that you will stay connected and share your thoughts on how we can make positive changes that create a stronger Agency, support industry and protect Canadians.

Annex A: Building for the Future Snapshot

The CFIA is a risk-based organization. The risks to food, plants and animals are changing. We need to change as well in response.

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Annex A: Building for the Future Snapshot. Description follows.

Description for Annex A: Building for the Future Snapshot

Modern Regulatory Toolkit

Protect Canada's food, plant and animal resource-base while supporting innovation.

Outcome-based regulations and new compliance tools that focus on safety, allowing industry to innovate and the Agency to adapt in response to emerging risks.

Integrated Risk Management

Target resources to where they are needed most.

Better use of our data, reports and surveillance to identify trends, allowing us to focus on risk and support program design, planning, compliance and enforcement efforts.

Consistent and Efficient Inspections

Greater efficiency and agility to respond to emerging risks.

An inspection approach carried out nationally in a fair, consistent and predictable manner that is focused on regulatory outcomes and supported by mobile tools and guidance.

Digital-First Tools and Services

Embrace technology to make it easy to get information and services.

To equip industry with a full range of electronic services and information to comply with regulations and employees with the necessary tools to carry out their work effectively and efficiently.

Global Leader

Support international consensus to safeguard food, plant and animals while supporting market access.

To pursue improved international standards, fairness in trade practices, enhanced use of technology and regulatory cooperation.

CFIA's talented staff are engaged and ready for the changes

Ensure employees have the tools, training and a strong voice for changes

Engaging with industry and partner

Consider the perspectives of industry and our partners as we evolve

Annex B: Modern Regulatory Toolkit

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations will make our food system safer by focusing on prevention and allowing for faster removal of unsafe food from the marketplace. They will reduce unnecessary administrative burden on businesses by replacing 14 sets of regulations with one, and will help maintain and grow market access for Canada's agri-food and agricultural sector.

The new consolidated regulations will require food businesses that import or prepare food for export or to be sent across provincial or territorial borders to have licences, as well as preventive controls that outline steps to address potential risks to food safety. They will also help reduce the time it takes to remove unsafe food from the marketplace by requiring businesses to trace their food back to their supplier and forward to whom they sold their products.

Significant effort invested by the CFIA

To support the coming into force for these regulations, the CFIA:

  • developed an Operations SharePoint site dedicated to sharing information tailored to frontline employees
  • developed interactive web tools on licensing, traceability and preventive control plans for industry
  • published industry guidance documents online and is finalizing a guidance finder
  • held small scale internal and external workshops to validate regulatory guidance and the Agency's support structures
  • conducted engagement and outreach sessions with industry to discuss proposed regulations and industry readiness

Budget 2018

The Budget also announced the Government of Canada's intention to undertake regulatory reform focused on supporting innovation and business investment. A competitive industry is ultimately better able to invest in health and safety outcomes, which is the foundation of market access. The government's approach to this regulatory review includes targeted reviews, over the next three years, of regulatory requirements and practices that are bottlenecks to innovation and growth in Canada, with an initial focus on agri-food and aquaculture.

The direction provided in Budget 2018, combined with the Agency's focus on its strategic priorities, will better position us to adapt to emerging risks, support industry as they compete in the global market and continue our daily focus on food safety, animal health and plant protection.

Annex C: Integrated Risk Management

Establishment-based Risk Assessment (ERA) Model

This model uses compliance and establishment data to assess the risk associated with federally registered establishments. Algorithms for this model were built following a systematic, science-based and transparent process, and will allow the CFIA to create risk profiles for establishments and adjust their inspection oversight based on risk.

Canadian Food Safety Information Network (CFSIN)

By using a secure-online platform, federal, provincial and territorial partners will be linked better than ever before to share data and co-ordinate the resources, expertise, and laboratory capacity required to better protect Canada's food supply. This modern network allows partners access to important surveillance information and food safety data and will build on existing scientific and technical capacity to enhance food safety in all parts of Canada.

Blockchain

Blockchain provides a record of transactions that can be shared between many parties. A blockchain -based data exchange platform could allow the information exchange between organizations while allowing for security and confidentiality. The data exchange platform could be used to share compliance, surveillance, scientific information.

The CFIA is looking at Blockchain technology from two angles- as a tool to improve its business processes and operations, and also as a technology that could change business models and the risk profile of the industries to which the CFIA provides oversight.

Annex D: Consistent and Efficient Inspections

Standard Inspection Procedure (SIP)

To date, the SIP has been implemented in the following programs and commodities:

  • dairy (domestic)
  • feed (canola oilseed processors)
  • select fresh fruit and vegetable commodities (packer, re-packer and fresh-cut operations)
  • fish [domestic Quality Management Program (QMP)]
  • greenhouse (export certification program)
  • Specified risk material (SRM) permitting

To prepare for the SFCR, the next commodity areas where SIP will be rolled out are:

  • processed products
  • honey
  • maple
  • processed egg
  • shell eggs

Compliance Verification System (CVS) Updates in Meat

The CVS Updates in Meat provides an efficient and uniform approach to compliance verification through specific tasks used by CFIA staff to conduct inspections. The updates will improve the Agency's ability to respond to current and emerging risks in federally registered meat slaughter and processing establishments across the country. To support the updates, Chapter 18 of the Meat Hygiene Manual has been updated to reflect all task changes. Inspectors now have access to updated CVS task procedures and other related documents. A support network (CVS Coordinators, Managers, Supervisors and project SuperUsers) has been established to provide guidance to staff during and after implementation.

Modernized Slaughter Inspection Program (MSIP) in Hog Pilot

Since the launch of the pilot project at two hog slaughter establishments in Alberta, there have been no significant concerns reported. There was continual engagement with our employees and industry through on the ground conversations as well as incorporating feedback from staff, industry and unions into both technical questions and answers and other resource material. We have also conducted a preliminary evaluation against performance indicators in order to evaluate the outcome of the pilot study. Once the final evaluation phase is complete, the Agency will either move forward or discontinue based on results. If successful, the Agency will develop a rollout plan for all remaining hog slaughter establishments across Canada.

Annex E: Digital First Tools and Services

My CFIA

My CFIA is an online entry point that allows people who do business with the Agency to request, manage and track permissions such as licences, permits, registrations and export certificates by signing up for a secure online account. My CFIA is supported by the Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP.) This platform gives Agency staff the ability to manage certain permission and export certificate requests and analyze data and track changes. It also will allow inspectors to capture and report their inspection findings as DSDP continues to rollout. Questions related to any inspection decisions should follow normal protocols.

Quality Management System (QMS)

A cloud-based system to manage quality system documents and non-conformances in all CFIA laboratories will facilitate action tracking and reporting of quality management activities. This automated, national system will result in improved accuracy of quality documents, save time for laboratory personnel and facilitate sharing of quality documents between CFIA labs.

Annex F: Global Leader

International Affairs Branch

Effective January 8, 2018, the CFIA and AAFC created a new International Affairs Branch. The new structure will maximize the use of resources to advance Canadian market access interests and bilateral relations, and better position the Agency to achieve the government's ambitious goal of increasing our agriculture, seafood and agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025.

Global Leader

Being a global leader in food safety, animal health and plant protection means:

  • advocating and fostering consensus internationally for standards that will enhance food safety, plant and animal health, and demonstrating our commitment by applying international standards to domestic controls systems
  • supporting our industry by continuously pursuing fairness in trading practices and application of international standards with trading partners
  • providing international leadership in the application of new technologies and processes
  • pursuing regulatory cooperation with like-minded jurisdictions to share and benefit from best practices

The CFIA International Strategic Plan: Delivering on Government of Canada Priorities

The CFIA's International Framework ‎Working Group has completed the first phase of work on the CFIA International Strategic Plan: Delivering on Government of Canada Priorities. The Strategic Plan will focus on how the Agency can deliver on the Government of Canada and CFIA priorities, while maintaining its core international functions, and will cover the 2019-25 timeframe.

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