Government of Canada provides $20 million to safeguard Canada's food supply by supporting critical food inspection services
April 14, 2020 - Ottawa, ON - Canadian Food Inspection Agency
The Government of Canada is providing $20 million to the CFIA to support critical food inspection that help to ensure that Canadians will have continued access to safe, high-quality food to feed their families.
The funding was announced by the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. This investment will allow the CFIA to hire, train and equip additional staff (including recently retired CFIA inspectors and veterinarians) to conduct critical inspection activities, reassign staff from within the Agency to focus on critical services, and work closer with industry and trading partners to minimize supply disruptions during this crisis.
The funding will also support the CFIA in developing flexible ways to carry out inspections, including through the expanded use of electronic tools such as tablets and access to the CFIA's remote service delivery network. This increase in competencies will ensure that the CFIA can remain agile and responsive despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.
The CFIA and the provinces and territories are already working together to safeguard the Canadian food supply during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will also support the training of provincial food inspectors so they can provide assistance to the CFIA as needed. In some provinces, it may entail training CFIA inspectors to support provincial food inspection activities.
While the CFIA works to keep food safe and protect the health of animals and plants during this pandemic, it is also looking at ways to introduce flexibility where possible. For example, the CFIA is making packaged food intended for use by restaurants and hotels more easily available for sale at retail outlets and grocery stores. This will help to make more food products available to Canadians while reducing food waste and supporting businesses without compromising food safety.
"I thank the whole team at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency who are adjusting rapidly in spite of all the challenges presented by COVID-19. With these additional resources, and thanks to the valued collaboration between inspectors, business leaders and the provinces, CFIA is ensuring their critical services are available to the food sector."
– Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"The health and safety of Canadians are at the forefront of the government's work during this unprecedented health crisis. This investment supports the Government of Canada's goal to ensure Canadians continue to have healthy, high-quality food."
– Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health
The CFIA plays a critical role in safeguarding a healthy food supply system, ensuring the foods Canadians eat are safe and facilitating the trade of food and food products internationally.
There is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of COVID-19. Canadians can be assured that Canada has a strong food safety system.
An agreement with Alberta on cooperation between provincial and federal inspection services was announced April 1, 2020. A protocol has also been developed with Alberta to guide the safe resumption of operations in meat processing facilities after the detection of COVID-19.
In order to help redirect food destined for the foodservice industry to retail outlets and grocery stores, the CFIA created flexibility in the standard packaging and labelling requirements that are not related to food safety for a 90-day period.
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
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