Language selection


An Exporter's Guide to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Inspections

Rights and responsibilities

What can I expect from a CFIA inspection?

A Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspector is a federal employee who has the legal authority to enter your property or place of business to conduct an inspection. This person is authorized to do so by Canada's food, plant and/or animal legislation.

Inspections are done for a specific purpose: to verify compliance with the requirements of legislation.

There are various types of inspection. These include the following:

CFIA inspectors abide by the CFIA values and ethics principles found in The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Its Regulated Parties, Stakeholders and Partners: An Ethical Relationship and Statement of Rights and Service.

When CFIA inspectors are on your property, at your place of business or conducting an inspection, they will

When arriving for the first time, the inspector will present photo identification. This may be supplemented with a metal badge.

The inspector will ask to speak with the person in charge or the pre-identified contact, and explain the purpose of the inspection and any areas that may be of specific concern.

Please ensure the inspector is aware of any safety concerns or procedures and any biocontainment controls while on your property.

While on-site, the inspector will collect information to verify compliance with the legislative requirements and make notes to record details of the inspection. The inspector may, for example

You are legally required to provide information to, and assist, an inspector, when requested.

TIP: If you have questions or need clarification on any aspect of your inspection, please ask your inspector at any time.

How should I prepare for an inspection?

Like any business, you must know your legal obligations and comply with those laws. The CFIA is committed to providing consistent and professional service in fulfilling our legislative mandate. In return, we ask that you do the following.

If you have any questions about your inspection, speak with your local inspector or CFIA office. We can provide you with complete, accurate, and timely information that explains the laws and policies that apply to you.

Also, keep your records and supporting documents organized, readily accessible and available. Providing the inspector with complete, accurate and timely information will assist in completing the inspection more quickly and effectively. It is your responsibility to ensure that the products you are exporting from Canada meet the legal requirements.

What will be looked at during an inspection?

Depending on the purpose of the inspection, the CFIA inspector will look at some or all of the following:

In addition to inspecting the product, and interviewing you and other individuals involved, the inspector has the authority to access and copy relevant records such as

TIP: It is important to supply the inspector with accurate information and answers, when requested. If you do not have the information or know the answer at that time, you should tell the inspector when and how you will supply the information at a later date. Delays in providing information can delay finalizing the inspection.

What are my rights during an inspection?

When dealing with us, you will be treated with respect, professionalism, fairness, and impartiality. You have the right to

What happens after an inspection?

When the inspection is done, the inspector will review notes and observations made. If necessary, further information may be requested.

The inspector will inform you of any issues, such as non-compliance with the law and explain the next steps to be taken, such as corrective action required.

You may receive an inspection report immediately following the inspection or you may be provided with one at a later date, once the inspection is finalized. The time required to finalize inspection results can vary. For example, if the inspector needs to wait for laboratory test results or do further record analysis, the inspection will take longer to finalize.

What happens if the inspector identifies non-compliance?

You may be faced with a situation where the inspector identifies that something is not complying with the law. In these instances, the inspector has a range of tools available. Depending on the legislation being applied, an inspector may

More serious actions could also be taken, depending on the circumstances. The inspector may

What are my rights after an inspection has taken place?

After an inspection, you have the right to

Where do I go for more information?

For more information about the CFIA, visit our website.

If you need information about the legal requirements that apply to your operation or business, visit

To learn more about the CFIA's Statement of Rights and Service, visit our website.

If you have specific questions regarding the inspection, talk to your inspector or one of our Area offices.

Atlantic Area Office
1081 Main Street
P.O. Box 6088
Moncton, New Brunswick
E1C 8R2
Telephone: 506-777-3939
Fax: 506-777-3942

Quebec Area Office
2001 Robert-Bourassa Boulevard
Room 746-C
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 3N2
Telephone: 514-283-8888
Fax: 514-283-3143

Ontario Area Office
174 Stone Road West
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 4S9
Telephone: 519-837-9400
Fax: 519-837-9766

Western Area Office
1115-57 Avenue NE
Calgary, Alberta
T2E 9B2
Telephone: 403-292-4301
Fax: 403-292-4551

Date modified: