April 15, 2020, Ottawa, Ont. – The federal government is providing $20 million to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to support critical food inspection that helps to ensure Canadians will have continued access to safe, high-quality food to feed their families.
The funding was announced by Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Health Minister Patty Hajdu.
The investment will allow the CFIA to hire, train and equip additional staff (including recently retired CFIA inspectors and veterinarians) to conduct critical inspection activities, reassign staff from within the agency to focus on critical services, and work closer with industry and trading partners to minimize supply disruptions during this crisis.
The funding will also support the CFIA in developing flexible ways to carry out inspections, including through the expanded use of electronic tools such as tablets and access to the CFIA’s remote service delivery network. This increase in competencies will ensure that the CFIA can remain agile and responsive despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.
The funding will also support the training of provincial food inspectors so they can provide assistance to the CFIA as needed. In some provinces, it may entail training CFIA inspectors to support provincial food inspection activities.
While the CFIA works to keep food safe and protect the health of animals and plants during this pandemic, it is also looking at ways to introduce flexibility where possible. For example, the CFIA is making packaged food intended for use by restaurants and hotels more easily available for sale at retail outlets and grocery stores.
“I thank the whole team at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency who are adjusting rapidly in spite of all the challenges presented by COVID-19,” said Bibeau. “With these additional resources, and thanks to the valued collaboration between inspectors, business leaders and the provinces, CFIA is ensuring their critical services are available to the food sector.”
“The health and safety of Canadians are at the forefront of the government’s work during this unprecedented health crisis,” said Hajdu. “This investment supports the Government of Canada’s goal to ensure Canadians continue to have healthy, high-quality food.”
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