Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Symbol of the Government of Canada

ARCHIVED - Canadian Food Inspection Agency - Report

Warning This page has been archived.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats on the "Contact Us" page.

Minister’s Message

The Honourable Gerry Ritz

This year, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) marks 15 years of safeguarding Canada’s food, animals and plants. Since its inception in 1997, the Agency has committed itself to the health and safety of Canadians.

Globalization continues to be a driving force for many of the changes affecting the agricultural and food industries. These sectors have become increasingly complex. Consumer demands are changing, science and technology advancements are driving innovation, and markets are becoming more competitive.

The environment in which we operate has evolved considerably, presenting us with both challenges and opportunities in the context of regulatory frameworks, legislation, and inspection methods that govern all of our activities.

The CFIA’s 2011–12 Report on Plans and Priorities outlines how the Government of Canada will respond to these changes with a comprehensive plan of legislative, regulatory and program renewal to strengthen the delivery of the CFIA’s regulatory mandate.

The CFIA will update its regulatory and program frameworks to reduce unnecessary burden on businesses. We will also strengthen Canada’s inspection delivery model, by improving current inspection approaches and tools. The Canada–United States (US) Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) is an important example of this work. The CFIA welcomes the creation of the RCC and its work to increase regulatory coordination and transparency, for the ultimate benefit of consumers and businesses.

We recently released the report, Action on Weatherill Report Recommendations to Strengthen the Food Safety System: Final Report to Canadians, which outlines the actions taken by the Government of Canada to implement all of the recommendations made by the Independent Investigator, Ms. Sheila Weatherill. As a result of the dedicated work done by the CFIA, and strong collaboration across government with the agri-food and health sectors, the Government is meeting its commitments and Canada’s food safety system is even stronger and better today. Our Government remains committed to legislation that would further improve food safety oversight.

CFIA will also implement a new Service Commitment, as well as an Appeals and Complaints Office to help serve consumers, producers and businesses better.

Looking ahead, I have every confidence in the ability of the CFIA’s dedicated professionals to focus and deliver on the priorities outlined in this report, and I will continue to rely on the collaborative efforts of the CFIA and the entire portfolio to help meet the sector's diverse and evolving needs.

The CFIA will report on its progress in the Agency’s 2012–13 Performance Report.

The Honourable Gerry Ritz, PC, MP
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and
Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board


Section I – Agency Overview

1.1 Raison d’être

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is Canada’s largest science-based regulatory agency. It has over 73001 employees working across Canada in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in four operational areas (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and Western).

The CFIA is dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants, which enhances the health and well-being of Canada’s people, environment, and economy.

CFIA develops legal requirements and delivers inspection and other services to:

  • prevent and manage food safety risks;
  • protect plant resources from pests, diseases and invasive species;
  • prevent and manage animal diseases;
  • contribute to consumer protection; and
  • contribute to market access for Canada’s food, plants, and animals.

CFIA bases its activities on science, effective management of risk, commitment to service and efficiency, and collaboration with domestic and international organizations that share its mandate.

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act
  • Canada Agricultural Products Act
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
  • Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (as it relates to food)
  • Feeds Act
  • Fertilizers Act
  • Fish Inspection Act
  • Food and Drugs Act (as it relates to food)
  • Health of Animals Act
  • Meat Inspection Act
  • Plant Breeders’ Rights Act
  • Plant Protection Act
  • Seeds Act   

1.2 Responsibilities

The CFIA is responsible for administering and enforcing 13 federal statutes and 38 sets of regulations, for regulating the safety and quality of food sold in Canada, and for supporting a sustainable plant and animal resource base. The CFIA shares many of its core responsibilities with other federal departments and agencies, with provincial, territorial and municipal authorities, and with other stakeholders.

In a complex operating environment, the CFIA works with its partners to implement food safety measures; manage food, animal and plant risks and emergencies; and promote the development of food safety and disease control systems to maintain the safety of Canada’s high-quality agriculture, agri-food, aquaculture and fishery products. The CFIA’s activities include verifying the compliance of imported products; registering and inspecting establishments; testing food, animals, plants, and their related products; and approving the use of many agricultural inputs. The CFIA also provides scientific advice, develops new technologies, provides testing services, and conducts regulatory research.

At the CFIA, informed decision making is based on high-quality, timely, relevant science. Science informs policy development and program design and delivery through foresight, advice, risk assessment, the influence of international standards, research and development, and testing.

  • Health Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Canadian Grain Commission
  • Public Safety Canada
  • Canada Border Services Agency
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Natural Resources Canada, including the Canadian Forest Service
  • Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
  • Environment Canada, including the Canadian Wildlife Service

1.3 Organizational Information

The CFIA is led by its President, who reports to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. The Agency has an integrated governance structure whereby all branch heads have specific accountabilities that contribute to the achievement of the CFIA’s strategic objective. Figure 1 depicts the reporting structure within the CFIA.

With its headquarters in the National Capital Region (NCR), the CFIA is organized into four operational areas (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and Western) that are subdivided into 18 regional offices, 185 field offices (including border points of entry), 408 offices in non-governmental establishments (such as processing facilities), and 14 laboratories.

The CFIA's Organizational Chart

Figure 1: The CFIA’s Organizational Chart

[text version]

1.4 Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture

To effectively fulfill its responsibilities in safeguarding Canada’s food and sustaining its animal and plant resource base, the CFIA aims to achieve one strategic outcome2 (A safe and accessible food supply and plant and animal resource base). The CFIA’s Program Activity Architecture (PAA), shown in Figure 2, illustrates how the Agency’s strategic outcome aligns with those of the Government of Canada and reflects how the Agency plans to allocate and manage its resources to achieve the corresponding expected results. The Agency’s priorities are reviewed annually to facilitate effective resource management within the context of the PAA framework. The four priority areas established for 2012–13 are detailed further in Section 1.6 and Section II.

Program Activity Architecture (PAA) for the CFIA

Figure 2: Program Activity Architecture (PAA) for the CFIA

[text version]

1.5 Planning Summary

Taking a comprehensive and proactive approach to its annual planning and priority-setting exercises, and aligning these to Government of Canada outcomes, the Agency considers the impact of several factors including: the global, national and economic environment; Government priorities; Agency strategic risks; its human and financial resource capacity; and past performance outcomes and related lessons learned. The plans and priorities presented in the report are based on a comprehensive assessment of the Agency’s strategic risks (Section 1.7 Risk Analysis). Planning and performance assessment activities are carried out at all levels of the Agency; as such, these exercises form a part of its ongoing business.

1.5.1 Financial Resources and Human Resources

The CFIA’s budget has increased steadily since its creation in 1997. In recent years, the CFIA has seen its largest budgets due to funding for initiatives such as Avian and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness, the Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan, the Pork Industry Recovery and Expansion Strategy, the Government’s Response to Listeriosis, Canada’s Economic Action Plan, Food Safety Modernization as well as resources for increased frequency of food inspections in meat processing plants. The following tables present the Agency’s planned spending levels and Full-time Equivalents3 (FTE’s) for the next three fiscal years (2012–13 to 2014–15), excluding funding extensions that the Agency will pursue. Any extensions received will apply throughout the year in Supplementary Estimates and in the 2013–14 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP). Planned Spending is declining by approximately $46.6 million and 314 FTE’s from 2012–13 to 2014–15. The major items contributing to this net decrease are the sunsetting of a portion of the resources for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), as well as the sunsetting of the resources for the Pork Industry Recovery and Expansion Strategy. The CFIA plans to seek renewal of these resources.

Table 1-1: Financial Resources ($ millions)

2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
723.9 721.6 677.3

Table 1-2: Human Resources (FTEs3)

2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
6,729 6,730 6,415

1.5.2 Planning Summary Tables

The following tables (1-3 to 1-7) highlight the Agency’s strategic outcome and present a summary of the Agency’s performance indicators and targets. Table 1-8 presents the Agency’s forecasted spending for 2012–13 and planned spending over the next three fiscal years for each program.

Table 1-3: Planning Summary Table – Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome: A safe and accessible food supply and plant and animal resource base
Strategic Outcome Performance Indicators Targets
Number of countries imposing justifiable standards-related restrictions on exports of Canadian commodities (food, animals, plants, and their products) 0 Countries
Canada is on the list of OIE countries that are free from stipulated reportable animal diseases Canada is on the list each year
Percentage of Canadians who have confidence in the Canadian food supply system Historical trend (Increasing)

Table 1-4: Planning Summary Table – Food Safety Program

Program: Food Safety Program
Performance Indicators Targets
Percentage of inspected federally-registered establishments in compliance with federal regulations 98%
Percentage of Public Warnings for Class I food recalls that are issued within 24 hours of a recall decision 100%
Percentage of all food recalls issued without an alert that are posted on the CFIA website within two working days 95%
Percentage of domestic food products in compliance with federal regulations 95%
Percentage of imported food products in compliance with federal regulations 95%

Table 1-5: Planning Summary Table – Animal Health and Zoonotics Program

Program: Animal Health and Zoonotics Program
Performance Indicators Targets
Percentage of reportable animal diseases that have entered into Canada via specified regulated pathways Historical Trend (Year over year)
Percentage of response to zoonotic diseases and epidemiological investigations that are completed within service standards 100%
Percentage of certified animal and animal products shipments that meet the receiving country's import requirements 99%
Canada is on the list of OIE countries that are free from stipulated reportable animal diseases Canada is on the list each year
Systematic scheduled review, and update if necessary, of manuals for CFIA animal health officials and guidance documents for industry Once every two years
Number of emergency preparedness simulation exercises conducted versus planned Once every two years
Percentage of suspected cases of transboundary diseases and significant emerging diseases in which investigation was commenced within 24 hours of identification 100%
Percentage of cases in which the CFIA communicated with key stakeholders within 24 hours of confirming cases of transboundary diseases and significant emerging diseases 100%

Table 1-6: Planning Summary Table – Plant Resources

Program: Plant Resources
Performance Indicators Targets
Number of new foreign reportable plant diseases and pests that enter into Canada through regulated pathways and establish themselves Historical Trend (Year over year)
Percentage of domestic plants and plant products in compliance with Canadian regulations and international agreements 99%
Percentage of confirmed cases of quarantine pest for which notices were issued 100%
Percentage of notices issued in a timely manner 90%
Percentage of certified plants and plant products shipment (lots) that meet the country of destination regulatory requirements 99%

Table 1-7: Planning Summary Table – International Collaboration and Technical Agreements

Program: International Collaboration and Technical Agreements
Performance Indicators Targets
Number of Canadian positions on key rules and standards affecting trade in food, animal, plant, and their products that are effectively promoted 10 / Year
Number of CFIA representations made to promote Canada’s interests in sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) negotiations and at International Standards Setting Bodies (ISSB) meetings attended 10 / Year
Number of actions taken to resolve issues identified through the Market Access Secretariat 5 / Year
Number of technical arrangements negotiated 10 / Year
Number of action plans to which CFIA contributed 10 / 3 Years
Number of issues on which the CFIA provided advice 10 / Year
Number of cooperation initiatives achieved 3 / Year
Number of committees and working groups in which the CFIA participated 5 / Year

Table 1-8: Planned Spending by Program Activity

Planning Summary Table
($ millions)
Program Activity Forecast
Planned Spending Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes
2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Food Safety Program 355.6 340.3 339.0 337.5 Healthy Canadians
Animal Health and Zoonotics Program 145.5 132.5 132.5 95.7 Healthy Canadians
Plant Resources Program 91.8 86.6 86.3 86.1 A Clean and Healthy Environment
International Collaboration and Technical Agreements 45.9 45.4 45.4 40.7 A Prosperous Canada through Global Commerce
Total Planned Spending 604.8 603.2 560.0  

Planning Summary Table
($ millions)
Program Activity Forecast
Planned Spending
2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Internal Services 132.9 119.1 118.4 117.3
Total Planned Spending 119.1 118.4 117.3

1.6 Contribution of Priorities to Strategic Outcome

For the 2012–13 fiscal year, the CFIA has set out four strategic business priorities so it may continue to strengthen the Agency’s foundations, mitigate strategic risks and help effectively deliver its core program activities. The following table summarizes the Agency’s priorities and illustrates how their associated activities are expected to contribute to the Agency’s strategic outcomes. Additional details are provided in Section II.

Table 1-9: Summary of Priorities

Organizational Priorities Type Description
Building a stronger foundation to enable effective and efficient program delivery New

CFIA services are built on a foundation of legislation, regulatory programs, inspection delivery, enforcement and sound science. Keeping this foundation strong is key to efficient and effective service delivery

Under this priority, the CFIA is:

  • updating the Agency’s legislative, regulatory and program frameworks;
  • developing a strengthened inspection model based on common inspection activities and standard processes and supported by a renewed training regime;
  • strengthening science capability through the integration of new equipment, the development of expertise, and the retrofit of two (2) laboratories; and
  • increasing efficiency through improved information management and information technology.
Working closely with partners to optimize health and safety outcomes and economic objectives across jurisdictions New

Working with a number of different partners will allow the CFIA to be more effective and efficient in achieving Agency objectives.

Under this priority, the CFIA is:

  • exploring ways to reduce duplicative regulatory procedures and align regulations through the Canada-US Regulatory Cooperation Council;
  • working to promote perimeter security and economic competitiveness through the Beyond the Borders initiative;
  • working with the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) to develop efficiencies for border activities;
  • continuing discussions on the system of recognition of food safety systems with the US;
  • developing strategy for an integrated laboratory network;
  • advancing joint initiatives with federal, provincial and territorial partners; and
  • committing to strengthening ties with universities, industry and scientific communities.
Enhancing service to improve results for regulated parties and consumers New

As an open, transparent and visibly accountable regulatory agency, the CFIA is committed to improving service delivery.

Under this priority, the CFIA is:

  • focusing on improving the Agency’s service commitment and developing a more structured approach to dealing with stakeholder complaints;
  • ensuring that fees reflect the cost of delivery of Agency services to industry and that service standards are clearly articulated; and
  • fostering greater transparency and working on the development of a modern service delivery platform where stakeholders have improved electronic access to CFIA programs and services.
Strengthening internal management to enhance effectiveness New

In order to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible, the CFIA is focusing on strengthening its management systems and governance.

Under this priority, the CFIA is:

  • focusing on employee engagement;
  • ensuring staff have the tools they need to manage change;
  • strengthening an operational planning, monitoring and reporting system that is based on the provision of clear science and risk-based “functional direction” for the delivery of programs (i.e ensuring program direction and resources are aligned with the Agency’s risk-based priorities);
  • applying strong project management principles;
  • sustaining and refreshing Agency IM/IT capability; and
  • focusing on coordinated HR planning.

1.7 Risk Analysis

The CFIA is responsible for identifying and managing risks to the food supply and the plant and animal resource base on which safe food and a prosperous economy depends. As such, the Agency has developed a robust risk management discipline utilizing risk management by all parts of the CFIA as an integral part of policy, priority setting, planning, resourcing, delivery, review and reporting activities.

The vast majority of the risks that fall within the Agency’s mandate are managed in concert with numerous partners and stakeholders – domestic and international. Within that context, the Agency’s risk environment is rapidly changing and increasingly complex. Factors influencing key strategic risks faced by the Agency include (but are not limited to):

  • the emergence of global supply chains, which have fundamentally changed the way agricultural products are produced, processed, packaged, distributed and sold;
  • an increase in both the volume and variety of goods coming into Canada;
  • increased export opportunities for Canadian producers, coupled with changing international standards and more stringent requirements;
  • rapid advances in processing and manufacturing technologies, resulting in significant increases in production speed, volume and diversity and the subsequent need for legislative and regulatory frameworks to keep pace;
  • an increasingly knowledgeable, demanding and risk-averse stakeholder base;
  • the ongoing emergence of new pathogens due to increases in international travel and trade, microbial adaptation, changes in production methods and distribution as well as human demographics and behaviour;
  • a greater understanding of the convergence of human, animal and ecosystem health issues;
  • a growing international consensus around the need for common scientific equipment and approaches to support industry oversight and the global agri-food trade; and
  • the growing importance of fiscal restraint and the subsequent need for greater innovation to achieve efficiency while maintaining – or increasing – effectiveness.

A cornerstone of the CFIA’s risk management process is the development of an Agency-wide Corporate Risk Profile (CRP). The Agency’s 2012 CRP identifies the key strategic risks to which the Agency is exposed as a result of its internal and external operating environment, along with strategies aimed at reducing risk exposure to tolerable levels over the next several years. The results of the corporate risk profiling process have directly informed the priorities presented in Section 1.6 as well as the strategies presented throughout this Report. The following provides the highlights of the CFIA’s key strategic risks, the planned responses to those risks, and links the risks to organizational priorities and program activities:

Table 1-10: Risk Summary

Risk Theme Key Mitigation Strategies and Activities Linkage to Organizational Priority
Strong Foundation Working with Partners Enhancing Service Strengthen Internal Management

Management Information and IM/IT Infrastructure

There is a threat that the Agency will be unable to make risk-based decisions due to a lack of timely, accurate and useful data and information. The fast paced environment within which the Agency must operate means that decision-makers’ information needs and expectations are increasingly complex and time-sensitive. Differences in how information is collected, analyzed and used across multiple systems may impede information sharing and timely operational and regulatory decision-making. Similarly, aging infrastructure limits capacity to take full advantage of the available information.

Strengthen planning, reporting & performance monitoring


Centre for Business Information Management


IM/IT Campaign Plan


Shared Services Canada


Inspection Effectiveness

There is a threat that the Agency will lack the appropriate inspection effectiveness to expeditiously prevent, detect and respond to threats to food safety, animals and plants. The Agency delivers 21 inspection programs that have evolved independently. Each has diverse and complex requirements. Further, CFIA inspectors must maintain ever increasing levels of scientific and technical expertise as a result of changing methods of production, processing and distribution. Ensuring inspectors have the appropriate knowledge, tools and direction is increasingly challenging in this complex environment.

Inspection modernization initiative


Strengthen planning, reporting and performance monitoring


Scientific Capability

There is a threat that the Agency will not have the scientific capability to adapt and respond in a timely manner. This, along with the globalization of the marketplace and the resultant increased demand to meet the diverse science-based inspection and testing requirements of international partners, challenges the CFIA to ensure that its inspectors, scientists and program specialists are able to keep pace and that laboratory infrastructure, tools and methodologies can meet demands. At the same time, the Agency has an opportunity to leverage scientific capability; this includes the improvement of knowledge, information sharing and emergency response, through enhanced engagement with partners.

Laboratory infrastructure strategy


Enhance laboratory response capacity


HR modernization strategy

Enhance surveillance and foresight X X    

Laboratory Network

X X    

Legislative, Regulatory and Program Framework

There is a threat that the current legislative, regulatory and program framework will be unable to support the effective delivery of the Agency's mandate. This risk is driven by the CFIA's rapidly changing operating environment coupled with an aging regulatory base. Significant advances in science and technology have impacted the production, processing and testing options available; consumers want more, better and easily accessible information; industry continues to raise concerns about regulatory burden; and international partners are increasingly requiring the demonstration of comprehensive safety systems.

Legislative renewal


Multi-Year Regulatory Plan


Program framework and redesign


Managing Change

There is a threat that the Agency will be unable to effectively manage change on an ongoing basis. The fiscal, regulatory and scientific environment within which the Agency operates requires ongoing, carefully managed change as a regular part of business. The Agency faces the challenge of ensuring that it has the capacity to take timely advantage of opportunities for innovation while continuing to maintain or increase effectiveness and efficiency.

Human Resources Modernization Strategy


Reinforce values and ethics


Strengthen planning, reporting and performance monitoring


Enhance project management


Enhance engagement – internal and public


Transparency and Leveraging Relationships

There is an opportunity for the Agency to increase its transparency and accountability to stakeholders. Canadians, industry and our international partners are consistently demanding greater amounts of timely, understandable information. The broad use of technology is providing new opportunities to better engage and collaborate with industry, other governmental stakeholders and the public. This enables regulated parties to take steps to ensure compliance and also helps to increase public awareness and confidence in the Canadian marketplace. The Agency has an opportunity to modernize its cost recovery regime to make it fairer and to reduce regulatory burden for industry. Finally, the Agency has an opportunity to adopt a more strategic approach to addressing increases in demand related to market access.

Open and Transparent Communication


E-business and e-certification


User fee / service standard modernization


Red tape reduction initiatives


US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) comparability & border initiatives


Emergency Management

There is a threat that the Agency is inadequately prepared for multiple, simultaneous or large-scale emergencies. The CFIA has a well-developed emergency preparedness and response capacity for individual emergencies. That said, critical incidents and more complex emergencies could increase due to changes in human, animal and plant movement, complex processing and distribution chains, climate change and changing production methods. The health of the population, the resource base, trade and critical infrastructure could be affected by a large-scale emergency such as a pandemic.

Tolerable level of residual risk. Existing risk mitigation strategies deemed appropriate.

1.8 Expenditure Profile

Percentage of 2012-13 Planned Spending by Program Activity

Figure 3: Percentage of 2012–13 Planned Spending by Program Activity

[text version]

1.8.1 The CFIA’s Spending Trend

The CFIA's past and future spending within the context of a seven-year trend

Figure 4: The CFIA’s past and future spending within the context of a seven-year trend

[text version]

1.8.2 Voted and Statutory Items

For information on our organizational appropriations, please see the 2012–13 Main Estimates publication. An electronic version of the Main Estimates is available at