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Enforcement and Compliance Activities

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency uses a risk-based approach to verify that domestically produced and imported products meet Canadian standards and regulations. CFIA compliance and enforcement actions occur all along the supply chain and they involve numerous stakeholders and jurisdictions.

CFIA compliance and enforcement activities can occur:

  • within the countries of Canada’s trading partners,
  • at or near the Canadian border,
  • domestically in food, animal and plant product processing facilities,
  • at points of distribution and retail sale, or
  • at food service locations.

Enforcement Tools

Regulated parties are responsible for complying with all acts and regulations that apply to them, including those administered and enforced by the CFIA.

When it comes to enforcement, the CFIA takes a risk-based approach to compliance management. When the CFIA identifies non-compliance with the legislation it administers and enforces, it has a number of tools it can use to respond.

The CFIA clearly identifies likely consequences for the regulated parties, and applies predictable, consistent enforcement. Regulated parties can expect that the CFIA will take any non-compliance seriously and will deal with it in a professional manner.

Applying one or more of the tools, the CFIA can do the following:

The CFIA began posting information about its enforcement and compliance activities in March 2011 and will continue to update and expand this data quarterly. However, each quarterly posting will reflect the data collected during the previous quarter. For example, data posted in September of a given year will reflect data collected between April 1 and June 30 of that year.

Operational Policy

The CFIA’s Compliance and Enforcement Operational Policy presents our approach to compliance and enforcement. The approach contains the following elements:

  • doing outreach to regulated parties,
  • assessing compliance through inspection, and
  • responding to non-compliance with enforcement action.

The Policy also details the roles and responsibilities of regulated parties and CFIA officials.

The Policy was updated in 2010. It now places greater emphasis on transparency by providing consumers and other stakeholders with more detailed information on enforcement activities, and recourse mechanisms available to regulated parties.