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Government of Canada invests $162.6 million to strengthen Canadian Food Inspection Agency



OTTAWA, ON, Jan. 22, 2021 /CNW/ - As we work toward our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and begin to build back better, it is more important than ever that the Government of Canada invests in services that are essential to the security and growth of Canadian agriculture and agri-food businesses.

The Government of Canada is investing $162.6 million in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) over the next five years and $40 million per year on an ongoing basis to maintain the integrity of Canada's food safety system, protect the health of plants and animals to safeguard the food supply, and provide ongoing support to Canadian businesses in their export and import activities to overcome pandemic interruptions and global trade volatility.

This investment in the CFIA will bolster an already robust and effective regulatory system allowing the Agency to continue to respond effectively and quickly to import and export activities, perform surveillance and digitize forms and documents.

This funding will increase the CFIA's inspection, surveillance and oversight programs within Canada to respond to the detection of new food pathogens, invasive species and animal diseases that threaten Canada's agricultural and natural resources. CFIA digital services will also be expanded so that more Canadian exporters and importers can benefit from efficient and automated tools for risk management and inspection.

This investment ensures that Canada will have one of the most modern and effective food safety and plant and animal protection systems in the world, further enhancing Canada's reputation as a trusted trading partner.

Quotes

"Our Government is investing in the CFIA so that Canada continues to have the best food safety system in the world, with the best science to protect our natural resources and tools that help businesses keep up with the pace of trade. It will help CFIA digitize their services and issue export certificates in a timely manner. It also means CFIA will have the tools necessary to guard our natural resources and agriculture sector from the threat of foreign pests and diseases."
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

"The CFIA does important work to keep Canadians, our food supply, animals and plants healthy and safe. Today's announcement will ensure that the Agency can continue this work, and will maximize its positive impact on Canadians."
- The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health

"The CFIA is committed to developing a modern, agile, inclusive and digitally equipped workforce to meet the current and future challenges and opportunities of the federal public service."
- Siddika Mithani, President of the CFIA

Quick Facts

This investment represents approximately a 5% increase to CFIA's annual budget, and builds on a number of other investments the Government of Canada has made in the CFIA over the past years (see links below).
For the first eleven months of 2020, Canadian agri-food and seafood exports increased by 10.1%, reaching $67.5 billion compared to $61.4 billion at the same time last year. Exports have already surpassed last year's record of $67 billion.
Total Canadian agri-food imports reached $53.9 billion in 2019.
Over the last seven years, the number of export certificates for food, plant and animal products issued by the CFIA has increased by an average of 6% per year, going from close to 384,000 certificates in 2014 to approximately 545,000 certificates in 2020.
This funding supports the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food's mandate of "maximizing the Government's policy and financial tools to support the sector, particularly its global export growth potential."
The agriculture and agri-food industry alone contributes over $110B annually to Canada's gross domestic product.
Canada has 14 Free Trade Agreements, covering 51 countries, giving Canadian agri-food industry a competitive edge in 2/3 of the global market.

BACKGROUNDER

The Government of Canada is investing $162.6 million in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) over the next five years and $40 million per year of ongoing funding after that to strengthen the safety of Canada's food supply, protect the health of plants and animals, and provide ongoing service to Canadian businesses as they grow their export and import activities.

As a large science-based regulatory agency, the CFIA has a broad mandate for safeguarding food safety and plant and animal health, as well as facilitating international market access for Canadian products. The CFIA operates 13 diagnostic and research laboratories across Canada, and has a workforce of just over 6,000 staff which includes highly specialized veterinarians, inspectors, and regulatory scientists. In fiscal year 2019-20, the CFIA's overall budget was $820 million.

This new funding will supportthe CFIA in four key areas:

Export Certification to Support Market Access
Oversight of Imports
Domestic Oversight and Surveillance
Digitization

Export certification to support market access

The CFIA plays a key role in opening borders to Canadian products, as the only regulatory agency in Canada that can negotiate sanitary (food safety and animal health) and phytosanitary (plant health) export conditions with international trading partners.
Over the last seven years, the number of export certificates for food, plant and animal products issued by the CFIA has increased by an average of 6% per year, going from close to 384,000 certificates in 2014 to approximately 545,000 certificates in 2020.
With this funding, the CFIA will strengthen its ability to deliver timely inspection and certification of agriculture and agri-food exports, facilitating access to international markets for Canadian businesses.
The investment will also help to host and facilitate audits by existing and potential trading partners to satisfy trade requirements of foreign authorities and provide continued assurance that Canada's regulatory system is robust and that its products can safely flow into their countries.

Oversight of Imports

With $53.9 billion of agri-food products imported into Canada in 2019, the CFIA must be able to meet the growing demand from importers seeking to sell products on the Canadian market.
To do so, Canada's import safety control systems have to continuously evolve to stay ahead of pressures such as rapid growth in international trade, emerging technologies, consumer preferences, threats to food, plants and animals, and climate change.
This funding will support the Agency in conducting more inspections of imported shipments, in responding to complaints, and in moving towards prevention as the primary method for keeping food safe, plants protected and animals healthy.
This investment will enable the CFIA to enhance domestic and import food controls enacted through the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)and provide guidance and direction on requirements for newly licensed importers.
Funding will also help the CFIA analyze sampling and compliance data to improve inspections, policies and regulations. As the Agency gains a greater understanding of risks associated with imports, it can better prioritize the control measures that support improved compliance with Canadian requirements.

Domestic Oversight and Surveillance

CFIA controls more than 30 domestic quarantine pests (present and under official control in one or more regions of the country) and monitors over 20 terrestrial animal diseases of concern, and a similarly large number of aquatic diseases.
This investment will allow the CFIA to develop up-to-date and multi-jurisdiction response plans for the most significant and likely scenarios for plant pests and animal diseases.
With this funding, the CFIA will be able to increase its presence at high-risk and remote locations in Canada to conduct more frequent inspections and maintain industry awareness of regulatory requirements in relation to humane transportation and animal traceability.
The funding will also allow the CFIA to invest in cutting edge, high speed laboratory equipment, and exploit modern technology platforms (next-generation sequencing, metagenomics, whole-genome sequencing) to confirm their reliability for use in regulatory applications. This will allow the CFIA to deploy faster, more reliable and precise detection methods and remain on the forefront of modern regulatory science when providing technical expertise and collaborating with international trading partners.

Digitization

This funding will enable the CFIA to expand digital services so that more Canadian food exporters and importers can benefit from efficient and automated tools for risk management and inspection.
In order to support a strong domestic market and export growth, the CFIA created the Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP) to provide a continuum of services including e-billing, issuing permissions and certificates, and capturing inspection information of various establishments by commodity.
DSDP allows the CFIA to track and characterize risk more than ever before and this funding will be used to extend its reach to a minimum of 40,000 previously unregistered clients in the food sector while expanding services to the plant and animal sectors.
MyCFIA, the public-facing portion of DSDP, where CFIA client service and transactions such as licenses, registrations and permits take place, allows for convenient, secure, and 24/7 requests for users. Funding will allow CFIA to update MyCFIA to be more user-friendly for regulated parties. New tools along with people-centric design will be applied to help business better understand and comply with regulations.

Related products or links

Government of Canada provides $20 million to safeguard Canada's food supply by supporting critical food inspection services
Government of Canada provides $24.4 million to tackle food fraud as part of Food Policy for Canada
Government of Canada provides $31 million to respond to the threat of African swine fever
Government of Canada announced $27.2 million for the continued digitization of CFIA services
My CFIA: Your access to online services
Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP): Consistent and efficient inspections
Understanding the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations
Backgrounder: Government of Canada invests $162.6 million to strengthen Canadian Food Inspection Agency


SOURCE Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

For further information: Contacts : Jean-Sébastien Comeau, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 343-549-2326; Media Relations, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 613 773-6600, cfia.media.acia@canada.ca