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Policy on Dispute Resolution


Dispute Resolution (DR) includes all possible processes for preventing and resolving conflict, from consensual to adjudicative, from negotiation to litigation.

The most appropriate method to resolve any given dispute can only be chosen after a careful assessment of the facts and circumstances of the case. In making this evaluation, one must consider the interests of the parties, the nature of the dispute and any statutory or policy restrictions governing the use of a particular DR process.

The consensual nature of most DR methods requires that the choice of process be made jointly by all parties. It is the ability of the parties to choose which DR process best fits the case at hand that will improve the quality of and access to justice. Acceptable settlements, which may not be available through the litigation process, can be developed by the parties.

Policy Objective

It is the goal of the Agency to prevent or resolve all conflicts in a fair, timely, and reasonable manner.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) affirms the responsibility of all its employees to make every effort to prevent disputes from arising and, where they do arise, to address them as early and effectively as possible, in order to avoid the courts becoming the only avenue of recourse.

The spectrum of dispute resolution processes is not limited to civil matters, but rather is potentially applicable across the mandate of the CFIA.

In accordance with government policy, the Agency encourages the use of the various DR processes in all appropriate circumstances. The use of DR affirms the commitment made by CFIA in its Corporate Business Plan to "communicate decisions and practices in an open manner, with appropriate means for discussion, review and redress, using effective communication approaches and dispute resolution tools".

Commitments to Achieve Our Objectives


  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will strive to be a leader in promoting the use of DR.


  • CFIA employees will be informed of the purpose and accessibility of DR.
  • CFIA employees will be trained in the effective use of DR processes.

Dispute Prevention

  • CFIA employees will use best efforts to prevent disputes from arising and will consider the use of DR processes at the earliest possible stage of any conflict, or potential conflict.


  • CFIA employees and Legal counsel, in collaboration with the appropriate procurement authorities, will endeavor to include DR clauses into contracts involving the Agency.

Dispute Resolution Services (DRS)

  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will inform its regulated parties of the purpose and utility of DR.
  • CFIA Dispute Resolution Services will advise Agency managers of the merits and weaknesses of each relevant DR process.
  • CFIA Dispute Resolution Services, in conjunction with Legal Services, will help the Agency managers select the DR process that offers efficient and effective resolution, given the nature of the dispute, the interests of the Agency and the consent of the other party or parties involved.


All inquiries regarding this policy should be routed through:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Dispute Resolution Services, Legal Services
1400 Merivale Road
Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9
Telephone: 613-773-6024
Facsimile: 613-773-6093