ARCHIVED - Inaugural Meeting Summary Report - Food Regulatory Advisory Committee - September 13-14, 2010

Table of Contents

Objective of the Inaugural Meeting

The Inaugural meeting, held in Ottawa, on September 13 and 14, 2010 was meant to be mostly an "orientation meeting". It provided an opportunity for the Food Regulatory Advisory Committee members to meet with each other and with federal officials from Health Canada's Health Products and Food Branch. The meeting provided committee members with an overview of the mandate of the Food Directorate (FD) and the food safety system in Canada including the legislative and regulatory framework under which it operates.

This report follows the order of the meeting agenda and is a summary of the information presented. The list of attendees is attached as an Appendix.

Monday September 13, 2010

Introduction/Welcoming Remarks

Dr. Paul Paquin, Chair of the Food Regulatory Advisory Committee (FRAC), welcomed members and observers to this inaugural meeting of the committee. He was followed by Dr. Keith Mussar, Associate Chair of the Food Regulatory Advisory Committee and by Dr. Samuel Godefroy, Executive Secretary, Director General of the Food Directorate, HPFB. Prior to the morning break, Catherine MacLeod, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, welcomed members to the FRAC and thanked them for their commitment to provide the HPFB with their valuable input on its food regulatory agenda.

Canada's Food Safety System

Members were provided with an overview of Canada's food safety system including the legislative and regulatory framework within which it operates. There are three key stakeholders (government, industry, and consumers) and four key federal organizations with roles in food safety: Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). The provincial/territorial and municipal levels of government have complementary responsibilities.

Food Directorate Overview

The overview presentation described the Food Directorate's structure, responsibilities and key activities. The Food Directorate (FD) resides in the Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB) of Health Canada and comprises six program bureaus:

  • Bureau of Microbial Hazards (BMH)
  • Bureau of Chemical Safety (BCS)
  • Bureau of Nutritional Sciences (BNS)
  • Bureau of Food Surveillance and Science Integration (BFSSI)
  • Bureau of Policy, Regulatory and Government Affairs (BPRGA)
  • Office of Management Services and Planning (OMSP)

The Food Directorate has offices in six regions: Burnaby, BC; Winnipeg, MB; Scarborough, ON; Ottawa, ON; Longueuil, QC; and Halifax, NS with laboratory operations supporting its mandate in five of the six regions. The FD carries out its responsibilities under the authority of the  Food and Drugs Act and Regulations and the Department of Health Act. Among its key activities are the development of policies, standards, guidelines, and regulations; pre-market submission evaluation; and research and surveillance that supports evaluation, risk management and standard setting.

Each Bureau Director provided an overview of their activities.

Key Food Directorate Federal Partners

The presentation positioned the Food Directorate vis-à-vis its federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal partners, as well as with consumers and industry. At the federal level, Memorandums of Understanding facilitate collaboration between departments. The Food Directorate works in concert with federal/provincial/territorial partners through working groups and committees, while at the international level, it participates in multilateral fora. It interacts with stakeholders by holding ad hoc meetings and participating in advisory committees, partnerships, and stakeholder fora. The Food Directorate is a key part of the national food safety system.

Roles, Responsibilities and Expectations

The Chair introduced the draft Terms of Reference (ToR). The members of FRAC will provide the FD with broad expert strategic policy advice on its regulatory and administrative oversight of foods. Members reviewed and discussed the ToR section by section. Members requested some changes to the ToR. Committee members reviewed the revised ToR on Tuesday September 14, 2010 and unanimously approved the document.

After discussing the ToR members participated in a facilitated session to gain a better understanding of the scope of the committee.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Key Areas for Focus

Members participated in a scoping exercise designed to focus attention on issues the FRAC may consider. Members were asked to answer the following question: "In light of current and emerging challenges to the regulation of food safety and nutrition, what are some of the priority topics this committee should be discussing over the next 1-3 years?"

The responses were grouped into ten key focus areas and are listed in random order as they were not prioritized. The key focus areas members identified are: Regulating in a Global Food System; Legislative Regulatory Modernization; Surveillance and Risk Modelling; Health Claims; Nutrition Safety and Claims; Capacity and Responsiveness; New Processes and Technologies; Foodborne Diseases; Role of Science in Policy Development; and Consumer Education and Information/Behaviour.

Strategic Directions and Future Priorities

Members were presented the draft Food and Nutrition Program Strategic Plan for the upcoming period 2010-2015. Four HPFB Directorates lead Health Canada's Food and Nutrition Program: the Food Directorate, the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the Veterinary Drugs Directorate, and the Policy, Planning and International Affairs Directorate. The five strategic goals of the plan are: Policy Leader; Excellent Regulator; Trusted Source of Knowledge; Strong Science Provider; and Flexible Organization.

Members' input was sought on the five strategic goals and their associated actions. Taking into consideration the input received, the strategic goals and actions currently outlined will be reviewed.

Next Steps and Key Messages

In an effort to maintain the momentum from the first meeting, members identified actions and timelines to be carried out by the secretariat and chair.

Members identified the key messages from the first FRAC meeting that they would like to share with various audiences. The key messages are:

  • The Food Regulatory Advisory Committee (FRAC) had its first meeting on September 13-14, 2010, in Ottawa, Ontario.
  • The Committee comprises health professionals and those from industry, academia, and patient and consumer groups.
  • The Committee was introduced to the mandate, organization, and activities of the Food Directorate and its partners.
  • The Committee discussed and endorsed an updated draft of its Terms of Reference.
  • The Committee exchanged views on emerging food safety and nutrition challenges that may warrant its engagement in the upcoming 2-3 years.
  • The Committee reviewed and provided initial input on the proposed strategic goals under Health Canada's Food and Nutrition program for 2010-2015.
  • The Committee discussed and adopted tentative timelines for its upcoming meetings from October 2010 to April 2011.

Next Meeting

Scheduled for April 5-6, 2011 in Ottawa, Ontario.

Appendix: List of Attendees

Food Regulatory Advisory Committee Members

Mary Alton Mackey
Herb Barbolet
Josh Brandon
Carl Carter
Albert Chambers
Jackie Crichton
Francois Décary-Gilardeau
Mansel Griffiths
Nyall Hislop
Mike Horwich
Jim McCarthy
Keith Mussar
Paul Paquin
George Paterson
Francy Pillo-Blocka
Philip Schwab
David Skinner
Rickey Yada

Government Officials

Wendy Atkin
Danielle Brulé
Jeff Farber
Adam Gibson
Samuel Godefroy (Executive Secretary)
Catrina Hendrickx
Barbara Lee
Catherine MacLeod (Associate Assistant Deputy Minister)
Rick O'Leary
Lucie Olson
Anna Romano
Bill Ross
Lynn Stewart
William Yan

Food Regulatory Advisory Committee Secretariat

Susan Durrell
Kyla Paon

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: