Ron Wasik discusses this new not-for-profit organization
Food safety learning in Canada is fragmented and there is much duplication of effort and expense. Today, every organization develops its own employee training program, in-house courses, and/or purchases courses from a variety of outside sources. Yet the foundational elements of science, technology, practices and outcomes are common across the food sector.
The need for a national, co-ordinated food safety training model that would better align industry, academic institutions and governments has emerged as a common theme across the food safety value chain. In response to this need, for over 18 months various food safety stakeholders have been discussing the joint development of a not-for-profit organization called Safe Food Canada – The Learning Partnership (SFC-TLP).
Consultations on a concept paper produced in June 2014 for SFC-TLP indicated strong cross-sector support for this initiative, and in August 2014 the entity was incorporated with initial funding from both academic and industry partners.
The Board of Directors will consist of 12 members and two observers from the federal and provincial governments. To date these are:
A further three nominations are being sought. The overriding consideration for the appointment of members to the Board is their ability to devote time and energy to their role, and their commitment to the mission of SFC-TLP. Members are appointed for their knowledge of and commitment to food safety education and training, and not because they are representing a particular sector or faction. A wide range of backgrounds and expertise must be represented on the Board. The SFC-TLP is also actively seeking members to join its Advisory Council, and is working at identifying a CEO.
SFC-TLP is actively collaborating with its U.S. counterpart, the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI), to obtain feedback, evaluate ideas, share lessons learned, develop quality standards for training, and build on their experience with competency-based curriculum frameworks. This collaboration will guide the SFC-TLP toward a global approach to food safety learning, leading to programs that will:
With SFC-TLP in place, the entire food safety value chain will have the same understanding of food safety training requirements. Food safety workers across Canada will be trained on the basis of a common learning foundation and against a consistent set of competencies. Workers and managers in industry, and regulators, policy makers, and auditors will, in time, come to speak the same language of food safety with common understanding.
SFC-TLP plans to officially launch this spring. Anyone interested in learning more about the organization is encouraged contact Dr. Trevan, interim chairman, at [email protected].