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Minister’s Message

The Honourable Gerry Ritz

Since coming to office, this Government has dedicated itself to improving Canada's food safety system so that Canadian families continue to have confidence in the food that they eat.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) 2011–12 Report on Plans and Priorities outlines how the CFIA will continue to address food safety, animal and plant health issues, as these directly contribute to the overall health of the food supply.

The CFIA will continue to work diligently to inspect, test and monitor food, crops and livestock and verify that rules and requirements governing health and safety are strictly followed.

In 2011–12, the CFIA will continue to act on recommendations stemming from the independent investigator's Report of the Independent Investigator into the 2008 Listeriosis Outbreak as well as recommendations outlined in the October 2010 Progress Report on Food Safety.

The CFIA will continue to collaborate with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and work with Health Canada to modernize food safety legislation and regulation. The Agency will look to identify opportunities to harmonize its regulatory framework which will improve program design and delivery. These improvements will pay dividends to farmers and food producers, ultimately helping them to deliver safe, high quality food to consumers here in Canada and around the world.

The CFIA will continue to work with consumers, industry, and federal, provincial and municipal organizations, to improve food safety as well as animal and plant health.

The CFIA will report on their progress in the Agency's 2011–12 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.

With close to 7,3001 dedicated employees working across Canada in the National Capital Region and in four operational areas (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and Western), the CFIA is dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants, and contributing to a safe and accessible food supply and plant and animal resource base—thereby enhancing the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment, and economy.

The CFIA's activities are aimed at protecting Canadian and international food consumers, Canadian agricultural production (including forestry) and our environment. These activities benefit Canadian farmers, fishers, foresters, processors and distributors (including importers and exporters), as well as consumers.

Key to the CFIA's success are several interrelated and integral factors: sound science; an effective regulatory base; effective inspection programs; effective risk management; and strong partnerships. In an international context, the CFIA strives to ensure that the international regulatory framework (as it relates to the Agency's mandate) is strong, coherent, and science-based.

  • 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, with responsibilities originating in 13 federal statutes and 38 sets of regulations, is responsible for regulating the safety and nutritional quality of all food sold in Canada, as well as supporting a sustainable plant and animal resource base. The CFIA shares many areas of responsibility 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 fisheries products. The Agency'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.

At the CFIA, informed decision making is based on high-quality, timely and relevant science. Science informs policy development as well as program design and delivery through foresight, advice, risk assessment, the influencing of international standards, research and development, and testing. The Agency also provides scientific advice, develops new technologies, provides testing services, and conducts research.

  • 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 Canadian Forest Service
  • Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
  • Environment Canada, including 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 each of the CFIA's strategic objectives. 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) and 408 offices in non-governmental establishments (such as processing facilities) and 14 laboratories.

Figure 1

Figure 1: The CFIA’s Organizational Chart


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 outcome (a safe and accessible food supply and plant and animal resource base).2 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. In 2011–12, a new PAA, consisting of one Strategic Outcome and five Program Activities, was established. The PAA was changed to better reflect how the Agency operates. The Agency's priorities are reviewed annually to facilitate effective resource management within the context of the PAA framework. The four priorities established for 2011–12 are detailed further in Section 1.7 and Section II.

Figure 2

Figure 2: Program Activity Architecture for the CFIA


1.5 Program Activity Architecture (PAA) Crosswalk

2011–12 Program Activity Architecture (PAA) Crosswalk ($ Millions)
2011–12 PAA Structure Food Safety Program Animal Health and Zoonotics Program Plant Resources Program International Collaboration and Technical Agreements Internal Services Total
2010–11 PAA Structure  
Food Safety and Nutrition Risks 340.9 340.9
Zoonotic Risks 57.9 57.9
Animal Health Risks and Production Systems 65.3 4.6 69.9
Plant Health Risks and Production Systems 71.1 71.1
Biodiversity Protection 1.2 2.8 4.6 0.3 8.9
Integrated Regulatory Frameworks 1.0 0.7 0.3 4.6 6.6
Domestic and International Market Access 8.4 4.6 8.6 34.8 56.4
Internal Services 132.3 132.3
Total 351.5 131.3 84.6 44.3 132.3 744.0

1.6 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 1.8 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.

1.6.1 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 H1N1 Flu virus outbreak, Listeriosis as well as resources for Canada's Economic Action Plan. The following table presents the Agency's planned spending levels and human resources complement for the next three fiscal years (2011–12 to 2013–14), excluding funding extensions that the Agency may pursue. During this period, resources will sunset for Listeriosis, and for increased frequency of food inspection in meat processing establishments (funding received in 2010–11 and 2011–12 only). As well spending for projects under Canada's Economic Action Plan will be completed.

Table 1-1: Financial Resources

Financial Resources ($ millions)
2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
744.0 724.0 722.5

Table 1-2: Human Resources

Human Resources (Full-time Equivalents - FTEs)
2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
6,914 6,680 6,680


1.6.2 Planning Summary Tables

The following tables (1-3 to 1-7) highlight the Agency's strategic outcome and present (i) a summary of the Agency's performance indicators and targets, whereas table 1-8 presents (ii) the Agency's forecasted spending for 2010–11 and planned spending over the next three fiscal years for each program activity.

Table 1-3: Planning Summary Table – Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome 1: 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 Activity: 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 Risks and Zoonotics Program

Program Activity: Animal Health Risks 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
Percentage of response to disease and epidemiological investigations that are completed within service standards 100 %
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 trans-boundary 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 trans-boundary diseases and significant emerging diseases 100 %

Table 1-6: Planning Summary Table – Plant Resources

Program Activity: Plant Resources Program
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 Activity: 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

Program Activity Forecast Spending 2010–11 ($ Millions) Planned Spending ($ Millions) Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes
2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
Food Safety Program3 323.7 351.5 331.9 330.4 Healthy Canadians
Animal Health and Zoonotics Program 134.8 131.3 132.5 132.5 Healthy Canadians
Plant Resources Program 82.2 84.6 85.4 85.4

A Clean and Healthy Environment

International Collaboration and Technical Agreements 34.8 44.3 45.3 45.3

A Prosperous Canada through Global Commerce

Total Planned Spending 611.7 595.1 593.6  

Program Activity Forecast Spending 2010–11 ($ Millions) Planned Spending ($ Millions)
2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
Internal Services 142.2 132.3 128.9 128.9

1.7 Contribution of Priorities to Strategic Outcome

For the 2011–12 fiscal year, the CFIA has set out four Agency-wide Business Priorities in order to 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 these activities are expected to contribute to the Agency's strategic outcomes. Additional details are provided in Section II.

Table 1-9: Summary of Priorities

Operational Priorities Type Description
Focus on Programs Ongoing

Deliver on core legislative/regulatory mandates to minimize risk to food safety, plant and animal health; and deliver on government priorities.

Under this priority to be delivered in 2011–12 are:

  • Implementation of Health Canada's Listeria policy
  • Advancement of Legislative Reform and developing multiyear regulatory plan
  • Advancing Traceability initiative
  • Addressing the remaining recommendations stemming from the 2008 Listeriosis Outbreak
  • Developing a Biosecurity Strategy

Management Priorities Type Description
Strengthen Strategic Directions, performance measurement and Transparency New

Develop long term strategic plan that will outline the Agency's long term vision.

Continue to build on existing mechanisms of consultation and engagement created under CFIA's Consultation Framework.

Modernize its website through a Web Content Management System and web strategy designed to enhance accessibility, e-communications and public access to information.

Implement horizontal program management including supporting governance, corporate architecture/structures, policies and planning processes.

Focus on People New Through the 2008–2013 CFIA Renewal Plan, the Agency will continue to implement human resource priorities to support the contribution, productivity and satisfaction of its employees. Focus on the key priorities of engagement, training and career development to improve organizational performance and maintain a vibrant workforce.
Focus on Stewardship New

Reviewing and strengthening its project management framework and capacity in order to ensure effective delivery of large scale projects within the Agency.

Develop strategy for enhanced information management and technology capacity to gain efficiencies and enable better information for decision making.

1.8 Risk Analysis

The effective management of risks associated with food, animals and plants is fundamental to the achievement of CFIA's mandate. As such, CFIA practices have been built on risk management concepts and principles. As the organization 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, the Agency has developed a robust risk management discipline. Risk management is performed by all parts of the CFIA as an integral part of policy, priority setting, planning, resourcing, delivery, review and reporting activities.

The CFIA functions in an environment that influences risks faced, and provides a context in which risk must be managed; the CFIA also relies on its partners to deliver its objectives and manage risk. CFIA operates within a balanced and capable market, where industry is expected to effectively manage food safety hazards related to their products, processes, and premises. There is also a complementary international system of rules and standards under the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that comes with rights and obligations related to Canada.

A cornerstone of the CFIA's risk management process is the Agency-wide Corporate Risk Profile (CRP). The Agency's CRP identifies nine key strategic risks to which the Agency is exposed. The CFIA's priorities, along with its complement of ongoing programming, are focused on mitigating these risks and remaining abreast of these risk factors. By identifying and assessing risks that are most likely to impact the Agency's success, the CFIA can develop strategies and allocate resources to mitigate risks to a level sufficiently tolerable to the organization.

The strategic risks faced by the CFIA and its partners, and the strategies in place to mitigate these risks are as follows.

Risk Area Mitigation Strategies and Associated Activities Linkage to Program Activity
Food-borne Hazards: The CFIA, and co-operating jurisdictions, may fail to detect, track and/or mitigate foodborne pathogens, toxins, chemical contaminants and other food-borne hazards that could pose a threat to human health. This risk is underscored by the variable nature of food-borne hazards, coupled with the rapidly emerging threats to food safety resulting from evolving global, economic, social and environmental factors.

Improving and modernizing inspection approaches

  • Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan;
  • Compliance Verification System
  • Addressing key recommendations of the report of the Independent Investigator into the 2008 Listeriosis Outbreak

Maintaining capacity to predict and respond to emergencies

  • Public Warnings for Class I Food

Carrying out education and outreach activities

Collaborating with partners and stakeholders to enhance program and regulatory frameworks

  • Food Import Program
Food Safety Program (
Animal Diseases (including zoonotic) / Outbreaks / Incidents: The CFIA may fail to prevent the entry and/or spread of an animal disease that either threatens the animal resource base and/or those that are potentially transmissible to humans (a zoonotic). The Agency collaborates with partners both domestically and abroad to effectively manage these diseases; however, zoonotic agents can be unpredictable and adaptable.

Conducting animal disease surveillance, detection and control activities

  • National Biosecurity Strategy (under Growing Forward Initiative)
  • National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP)
  • BSE Program

Collaborating with partners to enhance program and regulatory frameworks

  • National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Strategy
  • Implement recommendations from OAG report on "CFIA preparedness for Animal Disease Emergencies"
  • Traceability framework

Collaborating with partners and stakeholders to enhance program and regulatory frameworks

  • Animal Import Program
Animal Health and Zoonotics Program (
Plant Pests and Diseases: The CFIA may fail to appropriately prevent, detect, contain and mitigate a pest or disease that threatens the plant resource base. The increasing variety of plant products imported into Canada, coupled with the emergence of new pathogens, threaten plant resources.

Conducting plant disease surveillance, detection and control activities

  • Implement recommendations from OAG Report on "Managing risks to Canada's plant resources"

Preventing the spread of invasive alien species and assessing agricultural products for safety and efficacy

  • National Invasive Alien Species (IAS) Strategy

Collaborating with partners and stakeholders to enhance program and regulatory frameworks

  • National farm level biosecurity standards (under the Growing Forward initiative)
  • Modernization of plant import program
Plant Resources Program (
Human Resources: The CFIA may be unable to attract, develop and retain a human resource base with the necessary competencies to fully and effectively deliver on its responsibilities. To deliver its programming to the fullest extent possible, the CFIA depends upon a highly skilled, multidisciplinary staff complement located across the country. Pending retirements, demographic shifts and competitive labour market conditions demand that the Agency plan for long-term recruitment, retention and development of its human resource base.

Implement the CFIA Renewal Plan (2008–2013)

Conducting engagement, training and career development

  • Implement priority-setting for, and consistent delivery of scientific and technical training and leadership development at the Agency
  • Continue to support mandatory and developmental language training
  • Develop an Internal Communications and Employee Engagement Strategy that provides opportunities for two-way communications and promotes an environment of productive collaboration between and across the various levels in the organization
Internal Services (
Science and Technology Capacity: The CFIA's science and/or technology capacity (e.g. methods, tests and practices) may not remain abreast of new scientific or regulatory developments. This risk is driven by the extraordinarily rapid pace of technological and methodological change in relation to food, animal and plant products.

Ensure research activities align with risks and develop science and technology capacity and foster stronger research collaborations and stay abreast of new scientific or regulatory developments.

  • Genomics R&D Initiative
  • Develop new detection and identification methodologies such as molecular methods for the identification and differentiation of varieties of various crop kinds and development of improved diagnostic tests for henipaviruses
  • Develop, modify, validate and implement methods and rapid tests to detect and characterize viruses and parasites in food
Food Safety Program (; Animal Health and Zoonotics Program (; Plant Resources Program (
Information and Decision making: Performance, analytical and scientific information may be insufficiently compiled, focused and defined to appropriately support decision making and reporting in the CFIA. Effective management of any organization, particularly one of the size and complexity of the Agency, depends upon a stable analytical foundation for strategic and operational decision making and the demonstration of value and performance.

Developing the basis for the compilation, interpretation and analysis of organizational information

  • Develop an IM/IT Strategic Plan
  • Complete analysis of its aging IM/IT systems and infrastructure as well as a complete capacity assessment
  • Develop Performance Management and Reporting System (PMRS) to enhance performance tracking and reporting in the Agency
Internal Services (
Partnerships: The roles and responsibilities of key partners may be insufficiently coordinated to support program delivery. Alignment with both domestic and international partners that share a responsibility for food safety and plant and animal health is critical to the achievement of the Agency's strategic outcome and the mitigation of all other strategic risks.

Enhance relationships with partners and stakeholders

  • Leveraging partnerships with other government departments, provinces and universities to strengthen laboratory and scientific networks
  • Implement the renewed Consultation Framework
Food Safety Program (; Animal Health and Zoonotics Program (; Plant Resources Program (; International Collaboration and Technical Agreements (
Internal Co-ordination: There may be insufficient coordination within the CFIA to support program design and delivery. An organization as large and complex as the CFIA must have its component parts constantly working in alignment to effectively deliver on its programs.

Improving internal coordination

  • Horizontal management initiative
Internal Services (
Program Frameworks: The CFIA's legislative, regulatory and program framework may be insufficient to protect Canadian consumers and facilitate trade. As a regulatory Agency, the CFIA's successful achievement of its strategic outcome depends upon a legislative base and regulatory framework that enables the Agency to develop effective, fair and efficient programming.

Enhancing the Agency's regulatory framework with respect to consumer protection

  • Development and advancement of Legislative options and development of multi-year regulatory plan
Food Safety Program (; Animal Health and Zoonotics Program (; Plant Resources Program (; International Collaboration and Technical Agreements (

1.9 Expenditure Profile

Figure 3

Figure 3: Percentage of 2001–12 Planned Spending by Program Activity


1.9.1 The CFIA's Spending Trend

Overall, the CFIA's spending increased from 2007–08 to 2009–10 predominately due to the Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan, the Pork Industry Recovery and Expansion Strategy, the H1N1 Flu virus outbreak, Listeriosis as well as resources received for Canada's Economic Action Plan. There is a slight decrease in spending from 2007–08 to 2008–09 due to a one-time retroactive payment made in 2007–08 as a result of the reclassification of meat inspector positions. The 2010–11 Forecast Spending reflects the Agency's current approved authorities. This amount will increase prior to year end as a result of final supplementary estimates and other adjustments. For additional information regarding the Agency's spending trend, refer to section 1.6.1.

Figure 4

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


1.9.2 Voted and Statutory Items

Presentation changes to Main Estimates have led to the removal of the "Voted and Statutory Items" table, which has been replaced by an explanatory note with a URL link to the Main Estimates. For information about our organizational votes and/or statutory expenditures, please see the 2011–12 Main Estimates publication. An electronic version of the Main Estimates is available at