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Feds further strengthen Canada’s food safety system

The federal government makes an announcement that fulfils another recommendation from the Weatherill Report


The government of Canada says it has taken another step toward strengthening the country’s food safety system.

On Nov. 18, the federal government announced that it had appointed seven “highly qualified” advisors to its Ministerial Advisory Board (MAB) of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

The MAB includes a diverse range of experts from the food, animal and plant health sectors who will advise the minister on food safety and other issues related to the CFIA’s mandate.

The announcement fulfils another recommendation from the Report of the Independent Investigator into the 2008 Listeriosis Outbreak.

The report is also known as the Weatherill Report after Sheila Weatherill, the federal government’s lead independent investigator into the August 2008 Listeriosis outbreak. She released her report to the public in 2009.

The CFIA says the advisory board will be an active forum and will meet regularly and be required to report annually.

Who’s on the board

The advisory board members are:

Chair: Ronald Doering
Doering was the president of the CFIA from 1998 to 2002. He has 35 years of experience in law and public policy/administration, and experience in all aspects of food and agricultural law.

Vice-Chair: Dr. David Chalack
Chalack is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan. His numerous accreditations include being the Second Vice-Chairman of the Calgary Stampede from 1978 to the present; Director of the Canadian Livestock Genetics Exporters Association, 2000 to 2008; and Member of the University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine Deans Advisory Council from 2008 to the present.

Dr. Rob McLaughlin
McLaughlin holds a doctorate degree in plant breeding and genetics from the University of Guelph. He has led many different academic and government organizations and has held executive memberships on many boards.

Brooke Taylor
Taylor held the position of Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal in the Executive Council of Nova Scotia. Mr. Taylor retired from politics in 2009.

Dr. Harold Bjarnason
Bjarnason is a past Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Manitoba. He was also Associate Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada during the period 1987–1997.

Dr. Keith Downey
Downey obtained his PhD from Cornell University in 1981, majoring in plant breeding genetics. In 2002, he earned a spot in the Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame and is a Senior Research Scientist Emeritus with Agriculture Canada.

Marcel Groleau
For more than two decades, Groleau has been co-owner of the D.M. Groleau Inc. dairy farm and has been a member of the Dairy Farmers of Canada executive since May 2004 and President of the Syndicat des producteurs de lait de Québec since March 1992.

Ex-Officio Member: Dr. Brian Evans
Effective June 28, 2010, Evans was appointed Canada’s first Chief Food Safety Officer. He has been the Chief Veterinary Officer of Canada since the inception of the CFIA in 1997 and the delegate of the Government of Canada to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) since 1999. For the past three years, Evans served as Executive Vice-President of the CFIA.