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2020 Progress Report: Openness and Transparency

March 2021

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Report overview

Since 2018, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been gradually developing its approach to the next phase of its transparency agenda. In 2019 it officially launched its final Open and Transparent Agency Framework 2019 to 2022, which promotes the proactive and ongoing release of information to the public as required under the Government of Canada's Directive on Open Government.

Developed taking into account feedback from Canadians, industry and other stakeholders, the framework underpins our commitment to be open by design by releasing relevant, accurate and timely information to stakeholders about our regulatory and scientific activities, decisions, programs and services.

Progress implementing the framework was slowed in 2020 given the need to respond to and support recovery efforts for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This report demonstrates CFIA's continued commitment to openness, transparency and to keeping stakeholders informed about its progress.

Progress to date

This report highlights achievements in the following 3 themes as defined in the framework, with the objectives that CFIA will:

Empower Canadians to make informed decisions by releasing relevant, accurate and timely information and providing more opportunities to engage with the Agency

Equip all stakeholders with information that will help them navigate the regulatory system and in turn comply with regulations

Respond to the right of Canadians to know how CFIA addresses incidents of non-compliance and how it makes regulatory decisions as part of its compliance, enforcement and scientific activities

Theme 1: empower

Expected outcome: Canadians have more information about food safety, animal health and plant protection to help them make informed decisions, and increased opportunities to engage with CFIA.

Under this theme, the CFIA committed to:

  1. describe the agency's role and educate the public about how it delivers its mandate
  2. release science-based information, including results from CFIA science activities and research that will assist Canadians to make informed decisions about the food, animal and plant products they purchase and consume
  3. increase access to and transparency of consultation and engagement activities on CFIA's regulatory, service and strategic initiatives

Actions taken to get there

Theme 2: equip

Expected outcome: Stakeholders have the information and tools they need to achieve compliance with regulatory requirements.

Under this theme, the CFIA committed to:

  1. provide up-to-date guidance to support compliance with regulatory requirements
  2. release scientific information and tools that can be used to influence compliance and regulatory decisions
  3. release more information about CFIA's international and market access activities

Actions taken by CFIA to get there

Theme 3: respond

Expected outcome: Canadians can see how and why CFIA takes action to safeguard their interests as part of enhancing their well-being, and that of the environment and the economy.

Under this theme, the CFIA committed to:

  1. release more complete information about regulatory processes, actions and decisions
  2. communicate outcomes of compliance and enforcement actions across all three areas regulated by CFIA – food, animals and plants
  3. demonstrate how CFIA applies a risk-informed approach to protect the well-being of Canadians

Actions taken by CFIA to get there

What's next

The CFIA has had a longstanding commitment to openness and transparency, which we count among our key values. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CFIA is committed to delivering critical services that serve to preserve the integrity of Canada's food safety system while safeguarding its animal and plant resource base.

Over the near term, our focus is on diligently working to address the challenges and concerns raised by industry and consumers regarding COVID-19 as part of an open and transparent recovery and response.

Through this lens, CFIA will continue to provide more information to help industry to comply with requirements and maintain market access, and to support the health and well-being of Canadians. Going forward, the agency's plans to implement the framework will:

Who can I contact

If you have ideas or suggestions as to where CFIA can increase openness and transparency, send us an email at

For information about openness and transparency at CFIA, please visit our Transparency webpage.

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