In Canada, the responsibilities for food safety are multifaceted and cut across all levels of government, from the municipal to provincial/territorial and the federal level. The success of the Canadian food safety system depends on close working relationships between federal, provincial and territorial partners with legislative authorities and/or activities related to food safety. These include Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the federal level, and the various Agriculture and Health Ministries at the provincial/territorial level. The Interagency Program focuses on strengthening relationships with these partners and building linkages with food industry groups. It also provides strategic advice to the Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, and to other groups within Health Canada on how to effectively and efficiently work with external stakeholders. The Interagency Program plays a key role within the following food committees:
Health Canada/Canadian Food Inspection Agency (HC/CFIA) Committee on Food Safety and Nutrition
The HC/CFIA Committee on Food Safety and Nutrition is mandated to provide overall guidance and leadership on policies and strategic directions to the federal food safety and nutrition system. The Committee also helps to maintain effective inter-agency mechanisms to ensure close cooperation and collaboration at all levels on food safety and nutrition activities. It is chaired by the Deputy Minister of Health Canada and the President of the CFIA. The Secretariat is provided by the Interagency Program.
Federal/Provincial/Territorial (F/P/T) Food Safety Committee
Prior to 2007, there were three Federal/Provincial/Territorial (F/P/T) government committees which facilitated the Food Directorate's communication with its F/P/T partners on food safety issues - namely, the F/P/T Committee on Food Safety Policy, the Archived Canadian Food Inspection System Implementation Group, and the F/P/T Agri-Food Inspection Committee.
In 2007, these committees were regrouped under the F/P/T Food Safety Committee (FPTFSC) in order to maximize efficiencies. The main goals of this Committee are to coordinate the development of national food safety policy options, to implement initiatives to achieve national food safety goals and priorities and to enhance accountability.
The FPTFSC is composed of government officials from Health and Agriculture Ministries across Canada, which enables it to have a balanced perspective on food safety issues. The Committee is co-chaired by a federal member and two provincial/territorial members representing Health and Agriculture Ministries, and it reports to the F/P/T Assistant Deputy Ministers of Health and of Agriculture. The Food Directorate's Associate Director General represents Health Canada on the Committee, and the Secretariat is provided jointly by the Food Directorate's Interagency Program and the CFIA.
Key Committee documents, including newly approved ones as well as those from the former committees, include:
- Archive of Canadian Food Inspection System Implementation Group (CFISIG) Model Regulations and Codes
- Canadian Guidelines for Food Processing During Adverse Water Events
- Donair Safety
- Model Guideline for Food Safety in Food Banks
- National Guidelines for Food Safety Training Programs in the Food Retail and Food Service Sectors
- Risk Categorization Model for Food Retail / Food Service Establishments - Second Edition
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