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CFIA employees asked to self-regulate their health status


March 25, 2020 – In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is asking its employees to conduct a self assessment of their health status prior to each shift.

The agency released a notice to inform regulated parties of some of the measures that the CFIA has put in place in light of the pandemic.

In recent days, the CFIA has received many requests from industry to have its inspectors and officials sign various documents, such as visitor request forms and COVID-19 screening forms, before entering facilities, the notice states. Inspectors have also received requests from industry to follow specific directives before entering a place for inspection.

The notice says that CFIA officials are not present at establishments as “visitors” but as inspectors under CFIA legislation that allows them to enter any place in which they have reasonable grounds to believe that an activity regulated by CFIA legislation is conducted, for the purpose of verifying compliance and/or preventing non-compliance.

To ensure that inspectors continue to meet the health and safety requirements stemming from the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) and Health Canada’s guidelines regarding the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, CFIA employees have been asked to conduct a self-assessment of their daily health status for potential symptoms of the virus prior to each shift, the notice states.

The employees have also been asked to follow COVID-19 protocols put in place by the establishments in which they work, such as the monitoring of temperature upon arrival on or at an establishment.

The notice states that CFIA employees have been advised not to sign documents such as a company’s COVID-19 form as they are required to abide by the policies, procedures and terms of employment established by their employer, the CFIA.

As a reminder, the notice states CFIA inspectors are not obligated to share personal information with regulated parties regarding their personal travels or health conditions, as this is protected personal information under the federal Privacy Act.

“The CFIA understands the concerns of industry with respect to COVID-19 and the exceptional circumstances that currently exist,” the notice states.

Regarding the COVID-19 situation, the CFIA is also taking into consideration the advice and recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada and Treasury Board, the notice states:

  • The CFIA states that it takes its obligations regarding the health and safety of its employees very seriously and, as a result, it has advised its employees of the following based on the current advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada:
  • If they have travelled outside of Canada, upon their return CFIA employees should self-isolate for 14 days;
  • Employees who have COVID-19 symptoms must advise their manager immediately, contact their local public health authority or medical practitioner and leave the workplace;
  • Employees who are at home and who may have COVID-19 are to follow the advice of their local public health authority regarding self-isolation.

The CFIA notice states that it expects regulated parties to take similar measures.


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