‘This increase in competencies will ensure that the CFIA can remain agile and responsive despite challenges’
The federal government is investing $20 million to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) hire, train and equip staff who will conduct critical inspection activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding will help the CFIA reassign staff from within the agency to focus on critical services, and to work closer with industry and trading partners to minimize supply disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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 Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food. “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 funding will also support the CFIA in developing flexible ways to carry out inspections, including through the expanded use of electronic tools and access to the CFIA's remote service delivery network, and the training of provincial food inspectors so they can assist the CFIA as needed. In some provinces, it may entail training CFIA inspectors to support provincial food inspection activities.
“This increase in competencies will ensure that the CFIA can remain agile and responsive despite the challenges posed by COVID-19,” said the government.
In trying to provide safe food for Canadians and to support businesses, the CFIA is also making packaged food intended for use by restaurants and hotels more easily available for sale at retail outlets and grocery stores. To help redirect food destined for the food service industry to retail outlets and grocery stores, the CFIA created flexibility in the standard packaging and labelling requirements that are not related to food safety for 90 days.