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2016-2017 Departmental Results Report
Operating context and key risks

Operating context

At the CFIA, decisions are based on timely, relevant science that informs policy development, program design and program delivery. To keep pace with changing risks, the CFIA strives to streamline and improve its processes, advance its science, harness innovation and embrace technologies to better serve Canadians and build for the future.

Daily operations are driven by both external and internal influences and factors. The CFIA uses both prevention and responsive measures in managing these factors.

Did you know …?

The National Import Service Centre at the CFIA ensures goods imported into Canada meet the necessary requirements for food safety, and plant and animal health.

External Influences

External factors that influenced CFIA's operating environment include:

  • Trade and market access: increases in volume, variety, and diversity of sources for trade;
  • Increased consumer knowledge and expectations;
  • Changing physical and social environment;
  • Advances in science and technology; and
  • Alignment of policy goals with technological advances.

Internal Operating Environment

Internal factors that influenced our operating environment included:

  • More preventive approach to food safety
  • Increased focus on the use of online tools to provide service:
    • My CFIA
    • "Ask CFIA"
  • A single inspection approach
  • Harnessing better risk information to support decision-making and allocation of resources

Internal Influences

Over the last year, the internal operating environment at the CFIA has included modernizing regulations, developing new tools to support integrated risk management, moving towards a single inspection approach, creating digital tools and services as well as supporting international consensus to safeguard food safety, and plant and animal health while supporting market access.

Key risks

Every organization is influenced by risk. Risk is the effect that uncertainty has on the achievement of an organization's objectives and often presents an opportunity the organization can exploit for effectiveness and/or efficiency.

The CFIA continues to use risk analysis to inform decision-making, to respond to change and uncertainty, to optimize its allocation of resources, and, overall, to provide better results for Canadians in the areas of food safety, consumer protection and protecting Canada's plant and animal resources. The CFIA has a strong culture of risk management and is always striving to improve its approach.

As a risk-based organization, the CFIA integrates risk information in its planning and operations to effectively deliver its mandate and to improve how it mobilizes resources in response to new threats. To manage risk effectively, the CFIA promotes risk prevention activities, has risk mitigation measures in place, monitors and responds to risks at various levels and takes advantage of potential opportunities while minimizing the impact of unplanned or unfortunate events.

Prevention activities cannot eliminate all risks. Responding to food safety, and plant and animal health risks is part of the CFIA's mandate and operating context. In addition to the day-to-day response activities, the CFIA focused on the risk areas listed in the following table, in line with its Corporate Risk Profile.

Key Risk Table

Risks Mitigating strategy and effectiveness Link to the department's programs Link to government-wide and departmental priorities

Managing Change: The ability to effectively manage change on an ongoing basis.

The global evolution of economic, social and environmental factors influences the regulatory and business environment within which the Agency operates.

Strengthen risk management through:

  • Implementation of a framework for integrated risk management that provides the policy, structures, and business processes for the organization to better understand the relative nature of risk, and to manage it more effectively.
  • Commenced using risk management tool to identify risks that may impact the public. Plant, animal and food risks are weighed and compared using objective, science-based evidence on their potential to cause health, economic, and environmental harm. Control measures needed to manage the impact of the risks and the associated costs are identified.
  • Began using a new risk assessment approach, called establishment-based risk assessment model, to rank food processing establishments. This approach to risk assessment uses a mathematical tool that ranks food-processing establishments in terms of risk.
  • Commenced the development of profiles for mandate based risks across and within the plant, animal and food programs.
  • Conducted Phase I consultation with industry on service fees.
  • Advanced the use of consistent business approaches such as implementing single access point for technical questions from industry (i.e. "Ask CFIA").
Linked to the CFIA's Strategic Outcome of a safe and accessible food supply and plant and animal resource base. CFIA: Integrated Risk Management and Integrated Business Planning

Scientific Capability: The ability to have the scientific capability to adapt and respond in a timely manner.

Advancements in science and technology have increased the complexity of the commodities the Agency regulates. There is also growing international consensus on the need for common scientific equipment and approaches to support industry oversight and the global agri-food trade.

  • Worked with other regulatory organizations in the global market to share information and gain efficiencies.
    • Continued to work with our United States counterparts, under the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC).
  • Collaborated with trading partners and international organizations, including the following:
    • World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
    • International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)
    • Codex Alimentarius Commission (CODEX)
    • World Health Organization (WHO)
    • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • Continued to build and implement key networks to support sharing of scientific data such as the Canadian Food Safety Information Network and Canadian Animal Health Surveillance Network.
  • Developed a strategic plan for a workforce of the future at CFIA.
Linked to the CFIA's Strategic Outcome of a safe and accessible food supply and plant and animal resource base.

Government of Canada: Security and Opportunity

Government of Canada: Open and transparent government.

CFIA: Integrated Risk Management and Integrated Business Planning

Inspection Effectiveness: The ability to have appropriate inspection effectiveness to expeditiously prevent, detect and respond to threats to food safety, animals and plants.

The Agency continued to move to a more preventative and structured approach to inspection across all three of its business lines – food, plants and animals.

  • The single and consistent inspection approach, called the Integrated Agency Inspection Model, is being implemented across business lines and commodities.
  • The approach was implemented in phases, with continuous testing and improvements as necessary, starting with fish, dairy and fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Once fully implemented, the single inspection approach will ensure consistent inspection across all commodities, feeding into and supporting integrated risk management and business planning.
Linked to the CFIA's Strategic Outcome of a safe and accessible food supply and plant and animal resource base.

Government of Canada: Security and Opportunity

CFIA: Comprehensive Food Strategy

Emergency Management: The ability to respond to multiple simultaneous or large-scale emergencies.

The CFIA has a well-planned emergency preparedness and response capacity. However, threat environments continue to evolve, requiring regular updating of plans and responses to reflect changes and find efficiencies to ensure that the Agency maintains a minimum of essential business functions during emergencies.

  • CFIA's National Emergency Operations Centres responded to avian influenza in Ontario and bovine tuberculosis (bTB) investigation in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
  • To strengthen Canada's ability to respond to emergencies, federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture endorsed the emergency management framework for agriculture in Canada that charts a path forward for collectively addressing evolving risks to plant and animal health, focusing efforts on prevention and increased partner collaboration and coordination.
Linked to the CFIA's Strategic Outcome of a safe and accessible food supply and plant and animal resource base. CFIA: Integrated Risk Management
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