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The Benefits of Working at the CFIA

Compensation and Benefits Package

The CFIA is a leading employer, particularly when you consider our total compensation package. We offer a variety of benefits:

  • A competitive salary
  • Our full commitment to a safe and healthy workplace
  • Excellent medical, dental, and pension benefits for you and your family, including:
  • Flexible vacation and numerous types of leave:
    • All permanent employees begin with three weeks of paid annual vacation leave
    • Leave of absence: Whether it's for personal growth, self-care, or family care, the CFIA gives employees the opportunity to take planned leaves of absence
    • Maternity and parental leave, including allowances which, in conjunction with EI parental benefits, amount to 93% of the employee's weekly rate of pay
    • Flexible working arrangements such as flexible start and end times, leave with income averaging, pre-retirement transition leave and self-funded leave
  • Opportunities for diversified work
  • Access to modern technology
  • Employee reward and recognition programs
  • Numerous opportunities for career advancement, including a wide range of learning and career development opportunities
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP): A voluntary, free, confidential counselling service for all CFIA employees and retirees, their spouses, and their dependants. This is the place to get short-term counselling about career concerns, marital strife, family issues, single parenting, alcohol or drug abuse, gambling, domestic violence, esteem issues, stress and much more.

For more information on Public Service-wide benefits, visit the Treasury Board Secretariat's Getting to Know Your Benefits website.

For more information on Executive Compensation, please visit the Directive on Executive Compensation.

The CFIA is a unionized work environment. Based on employee status, length of service, and job classification, specific entitlements are defined in greater detail in each separate collective agreement.

Bargaining agents within the CFIA include:

Diversity and Equity

image - Diverse employees working For the CFIA, the principles of equity, multiculturalism, and diversity underlie the Agency's approach to business. To serve Canadians effectively and to work cooperatively with Canadian and international stakeholders, the CFIA is committed to having a workforce that represents the public it serves. We provide a work environment where all people are treated with respect and dignity. This commitment is reflected in the actions of individuals at every level of the organization as well as in its formal policies, programs, and practices.

Our attention to diversity enables us to attract and retain a representative workforce. We recognize that our success relies on the quality and ability of our employees and also the sustainability of our workforce. To that end, we encourage women (especially in non-traditional occupational groups), Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and visible minorities to join our workforce. We welcome applications from all individuals who have legal status to work in Canada and we do not give preference to Canadian citizens for purposes of employment. We also accept foreign education credentials, as long as written documentation to substantiate equivalency is provided. More details on how to do this are available at the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials.

At the CFIA, we make a conscious effort to combine our differences and to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of all our people. More specifically, we aim for an environment that, among other things, offers adequate and timely learning opportunities, promotes diversity, and ensures that processes and practices are in place to resolve workplace issues. Embracing diversity is a fundamental principle that underlies the way we do business.

Language Training

The CFIA recognizes that obtaining and maintaining a second official language is beneficial for the employee as well as the organization. The Agency has developed tools to assist and support its employees who are required to use their second official language. Official language training is also available free of charge to all employees through the Canada School of Public Service's Campusdirect website, an e-learning environment which offers a comprehensive set of online courses and resources.

The CFIA Developmental Fund supports employees who wish to maintain or improve their language skills during non-working hours, providing up to $800 per year toward books and language training at a local institution. Funding is provided on a first come first serve basis, and management pre-approval is required.

In addition, the CFIA's intranet site provides reference and self-learning tools that allow employees to improve their language skills and the quality of their bilingual communications.

Linguistic Duality

image - Official Languages Symbol. English first for service points designated as bilingual outside the province of Quebec. The CFIA recognizes English and French as its official languages. It is committed to taking concrete and positive measures to serve the Canadian public in the official language of its choice, to build an exemplary workplace respectful of Canada's linguistic duality, and to actively promote its official languages.

The CFIA ensures that the work environment is conducive to the effective use of both official languages by enabling its employees to use either official language in designated parts of the country. This means that the CFIA respects the right of employees to work and communicate in the official language of their choice, and that the Agency ensures that communications with and services to employees are in both official languages, simultaneously and of equal quality.

Occupational Health & Safety

image - Person wearing safety equipment, holding a checklist The CFIA provides a safe and healthy working environment for all of its employees. Promoting occupational health and safety is an integral part of our corporate culture, as is integrating Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) into our management and business decision-making processes.

There are many good reasons to make health and safety a top priority. The primary reason is to protect workers, but OHS also makes good business sense by dramatically reducing the cost of accidents, injuries, and occupational illness.

Because many of our workplaces bear an inherent level of risk (the laboratory environment is a good example of this) we take extra precautions and have a variety of OHS prevention programs, a network of OHS committees, a commitment to ensuring that safe work practices are included in work procedures, and that we regularly provide OHS program information and training.

Rewards & Recognition

image - Canadian Food Inspection Agency President Carole Swan presenting an award At the CFIA, we honour our people and their accomplishments through several awards programs at the local, organizational and national levels. Our employees have also been recognized externally with awards from other public and private-sector organizations. We are committed to recognizing and rewarding employees, both individually and as team members, for their quality, excellence, innovation, and creativity in performing tasks that are in line with the Agency's business objectives, values, and ethics.

The CFIA Youth Network

image - A group of young professionals gathered around a table, playing or watching a game Created in 2006, the Youth Network is a nation-wide forum that lets members share their ideas and actively contribute to the Agency decision-making process. The aim of the Youth Network is to provide all employees, regardless of their employment status or category, with the opportunity to learn about the Agency, exchange information, develop a network of contacts with colleagues, and enhance their contribution to the Agency. The Youth Network promotes networking opportunities, professional development and learning opportunities, social activities, charitable events, and sports teams.

One of the NCR's Top 25 Employers

image - National Capital Region's Top 25 Employers Logo In 2010-2011, the CFIA was selected as one of the National Capital Region's Top 25 Employers for the third year in a row. This annual competition evaluates organizations who offer the most progressive and forward-thinking workplace and whose head office is in the NCR. The competition recognizes Canada's best places to work based on employee retention and recruitment.

The 2011 winners were announced by the Ottawa Citizen and published in their newspaper on February 1, 2011. To read more about why the CFIA was selected, please visit the NCR's Top 25 Employers website.

Learning and Career Development

image - Two colleagues standing by a Canadian Food Inspection Agency truck and talking CFIA employees have access to a wide range of professional development programs that are available through e-learning and classroom sessions and other methods. Learning topics range from boosting management and leadership skills to honing other specialized and critical skills. Formal training is supported by ongoing opportunities to continually upgrade and diversify your skill set through lateral career moves, on-the-job training, and education assistance programs for formal training at external learning institutions.

Access to Continuous Learning: At the CFIA, you will find experiences and programs that encourage learning and help you to build a successful career. We offer courses in the latest technology, communication, interpersonal skills, management, and English or French as a second language - all aimed at increasing your employability.

Employees are also encouraged to take advantage of self-directed learning opportunities. Campusdirect, a public service-wide e-learning tool with a library of self-directed courses, is available to all employees. Sample courses include negotiation, conflict management, second-language training, and Microsoft Office training.

On-the-Job Training: Regular feedback through coaching and mentoring from your manager, attendance at conferences, and participation in workshops are practices promoted as part of the CFIA learning culture to help support your professional development.

Coaching and Mentoring: The CFIA encourages employees at all levels to build and share their knowledge. In addition to formal courses and learning options, our working environment is designed to make continuous learning, coaching, and mentoring an integral part of the organization.

The Individual Learning Plan (ILP): The ILP is an employee's written plan for developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities that he or she requires to perform in his or her current position, as well as for career development purposes. It is a way to organize and set priorities for learning and development.

The Developmental Fund: The CFIA created the Developmental Fund in 2003. It has invested millions of dollars since then and continues to do so in support of knowledge transfer, management development, developmental second official language training, and to complement regularly budgeted training programs and learning activities.

Performance Feedback and Review (PFR): Performance feedback is an important and effective tool for supporting career development by fostering open and ongoing communication between employees and supervisors. It's an opportunity for all employees to discuss their performance, determine work objectives, identify learning needs, and discuss career goals.

Career Management for Executives

Lifelong learning and the development of the CFIA's leaders is critical in order for the Agency to continue to adapt to change and be innovative in the future. In addition, performance management helps encourage excellent performance now and in the future.

Lifelong Learning

The Agency provides access to various tools that executives may use to support their career management goals. A few of the available tools are:

  • A Leadership Development Framework, which aims to develop and maintain leadership capacity at the Agency, and which is currently being created. The Framework will include a number of mandatory and recommended courses and learning tools, both formal and informal, which leaders can use to maintain and upgrade their skills. The Agency already invests in leadership development; however, the implementation of this framework will improve and formalize the current processes.
  • Action Learning Groups. Action learning is a process of collaborative inquiry among a group of people who are committed to helping each other learn and achieve breakthrough results. Action learning groups come together for a short time to solve a problem, address an issue, explore possibilities, etc.
  • Mentoring, which is a one-to-one relationship based on encouragement, constructive comments, openness, mutual trust, respect, and a willingness to learn and share. It generally exists between a more experienced employee and a less experienced employee. Mentoring provides for a developmental, career focussed partnership through which knowledge, skills and insights may be shared. It may occur informally, however, the Agency is also piloting a National Mentoring Program to facilitate the creation of mentoring relationships. These relationship provide personal and professional growth for the person being mentored and for the mentor.
  • The Canada School of Public Service, which is the common learning service provider for the Public Service of Canada.  It provides both classroom and e-learning opportunities, and offers several resources designed for managers and executives. For instance:
    • Leadership Development courses and programs designed to strengthen leadership and management capacity
    • Required Training courses for all levels including:
    • EX-01: Essentials of Managing in the Public Service for New Executives (E126)
    • EX-02 and EX-03: Essentials of Executive Management (G127)
    • EX-04 and EX-05: Orientation for Assistant Deputy Ministers (G221)
    • Talent Management: Leadership Development at a Glance, which provides information to help executives, and those at the EX-M1 level, with leadership development opportunities
  • EX Talent Management (EX TM). EX TM is about ensuring that all executives' levels (1 - 5) are matched to the right job for their skills, competencies and career plans.
  • APEX, the national association for federal public service executives, which fosters excellence in leadership and focuses on issues such as compensation, the work environment and public service management reform.
  • The Conference Board of Canada builds leadership capacity for a better Canada by creating and sharing research on economic trends, public policy and organizational performance.
  • The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer provides information on federal talent management and leadership development.
  • The Community of Federal Regulators (CFR) is a partnership of federal departments and agencies involved in the development and management of regulations (like the CFIA). The CFR is a professional community of interest that supports the work of regulators working in CFR partner departments and agencies.
  • The CFIA is part of the Federal Science and Technology (S&T) Community and participates in the S&T Integration Board, which includes Assistant Deputy Ministers from the 12 federal departments and agencies that perform S&T.

Performance Management

The Performance Management Program seeks to encourage excellent performance by evaluating and rewarding the achievement of results. To this end, cash compensation for senior personnel includes performance pay, in addition to a base salary.

How the Performance Management Program Works:

  1. The executive and his or her immediate supervisor create a performance agreement outlining the results expected for the performance cycle.
  2. At the mid-point and end of the performance cycle, executives are assessed against the agreed upon commitments and the Key Leadership Competencies demonstrated.
  3. Ratings are assigned based on results achieved (the What), as well as how they were achieved (the How). Demonstration of Key Leadership Competencies in the achievement of results is recognized and rewarded.
  4. Performance pay is awarded. Performance pay has two elements – a variable amount (at-risk pay) which must be re-earned each year and a bonus for performance that surpasses expectations. To be eligible for performance pay, Executives must normally work in their positions for at least three (3) consecutive months in the performance cycle.
  5. Feedback is provided by the immediate supervisor.

For more information on performance management for Executives, please read the Directive on the Performance Management Program (PMP) for Executives.

Work/Life Balance

At the CFIA, we strongly believe that employees must have our genuine support and must have real opportunities to balance their professional and personal lives. A balanced life is healthy, productive, and enjoyable.

As organizational experts suggest, work/life balance is about having a sense that we can control when, where, and how we work. This sense of control comes when our right to live a fulfilled life both inside and outside of paid work is accepted and respected as the norm. This approach to work and life benefits everyone: the individual, the organization, and society at large.

Our commitment to supporting work/life balance is reflected in our benefits package, through the importance we place on working in a collaborative and mutually supportive team environment, and via our support for our employees' involvement in extra-curricular opportunities.

To encourage and achieve a strong work/life balance, the CFIA offers, where operationally feasible, certain possibilities for flexible work arrangements, such as:

  • Compressed work week;
  • Flexible start/end times;
  • Part-time work;
  • Job sharing; and
  • Job rotation

Workplace Wellness

image - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency fitness centre Personal wellness is affected by one's health, work environment, and work/life balance. Our wellness initiatives promote balanced living by helping managers, employees, and their families develop and maintain a superior personal and professional quality of life. We do this in several key ways:

Employee Health Initiatives

  • The Employee Assistance Program;
  • Ergonomics strategies;
  • The CFIA fitness centre (only available in the NCR); and
  • Occupational health evaluations

A Safe, Positive, and Productive Workplace

  • Benefits, insurance, and leave;
  • Flexible working arrangements where operationally feasible;
  • Rewards and recognition programs;
  • Equity and diversity programs;
  • Regular employee surveys;
  • Occupational health and safety policies;
  • Ongoing learning and development; and
  • Regular performance feedback and review

The CFIA monitors wellness indicators in a number of different ways to ensure that the program is effective.