Times, August 4th, 2008
Canada's food safety remains
our top priority: CFIA's Evans
Source of Article: http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/cover_index.php?display=story&full_path=/2008/august/4/letter6/&c=1
Re: "Delegating food inspection to private industry a huge cost to
taxpayers," (The Hill Times, July 28, p. 9). The health and
safety of Canadians is, and will always remain, the Canadian Food Inspection
Agency's highest priority.
In 2007, the CFIA undertook a strategic review to ensure our resources are
allocated to where there is the greatest need to ensure the health and safety
of Canadians and to provide the best value for taxpayers.
There was no five-per-cent reduction in funding for the CFIA as a result of
this exercise. The savings identified in the review were redirected to food
safety to support Canada's
Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan.
The 2008 budget allocated more than $113-million for this action plan which
will result in more inspectors and increased surveillance of domestic and
imported foods. We continue to modernize our system to better protect
Canadians, enhance the safety and reliability of consumer, food, and health
products, and ensure we maintain one of the most stringent safety systems in
We are continually modernizing and improving our inspection systems to meet
the challenges of a changing environment whether it is emerging food safety
risks or changes to technology or the marketplace.
There has been no reduction of inspectors. In fact, the number has risen to
3,020 by March 2008 from 2,820 in 2006. The number of inspectors will
continue to grow under that food and consumer safety action plan.
As always, before any changes are phased in, CFIA will consult with
stakeholders on the implementation of program changes. Any proposal that
would change our regulatory system would be based on international standards
to provide the highest level of trust of Canadians and our trading partners.
Any changes to the federal inspection system will always include strong
enforcement and compliance action by the CFIA to make sure industry meets the
requirement to produce safe food. Food safety is and always will be the CFIA's top priority.
With respect to the employee referred to in the article, public servants sign
a formal declaration that clearly states that if individuals fail to protect
the security of information assets this may constitute a violation of several
laws and policies and can result in disciplinary action. The evidence
gathered as the result of a thorough investigation supported the decisions
It should also be noted that the CFIA has the necessary mechanisms in place
that allow employees to voice their concerns over a variety of issues.
Options include talking to a manager/supervisor, contacting the CFIA's integrity officer or the public sector integrity
commissioner. The CFIA recognizes, respects and
supports such rights and associated processes.
Dr. Brian Evans
Canadian Food Inspection Agency