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Alternative Service Delivery Policy

Table of Contents

1. Background

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (the CFIA, or the Agency) is responsible for the delivery of federally mandated programs that contribute to the safety of Canada's food supply, the sustainability of the plant and animal resource base, and related consumer protection.

The Agency delivers programs and services but may also enter into alternative service delivery (ASD) arrangements to help deliver its mandate. ASD arrangements can be a useful mechanism for both industry and the CFIA, offering efficiencies and innovation in program design, flexibility, access to specialized expertise and cost-effectiveness.

In 2009, the CFIA's Government Accountability Office (GAO) became a centre of expertise for arrangements including those related to ASD, however a centralized review and approval process has been in place since 2003.

As processes for the establishment and oversight of ASD arrangements have varied over the years, this policy promotes a consistent approach for these arrangements within the Agency.

This policy is supported by a guidance document; additional directives or guidelines may also be developed by those with responsibilities related to this policy, as outlined in section nine of this document.

2. Policy Statement

The CFIA establishes ASD arrangements, when they are feasible and merited, to deliver new programs and services or to transform the delivery of existing programs and services. The CFIA oversees and maintains arrangements to verify desired outcomes are achieved effectively and that risks are managed appropriately.

3. Objectives

The objectives of the policy are to promote:

4. Definitions

ASD arrangement: an arrangement under which an external party delivers a program or service that directly pertains to the CFIA's mandate and would otherwise be delivered by the CFIA.

External parties may include:

ASD arrangements include arrangements in which:

5. Scope

This policy applies to ASD arrangements established by the CFIA.

The following are not considered to be ASD arrangements and, therefore, this policy does not apply to them:

6. Authorities

The authority for the Agency to enter into ASD arrangements is derived from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act. ASD arrangements must be consistent with the authorities provided in this Act, specifically in section 11 (Responsibilities of the Agency) and subsections 13(3) (Enforcement Officers) and 14(1) (Contracts and agreements).

7. Guiding Principles

The guiding principles for CFIA ASD arrangements are:

Maintain CFIA's Reputation

7.1 The CFIA's reputation, credibility and regulatory independence to take necessary actions to safeguard Canada's food supply, protect the environment and its plant and animal resource base, are maintained.

Merit-based Assessments

7.2 Decisions to establish ASD arrangements are based on individual assessments of their merit.

Effective use of Resources

7.3 ASD arrangements are developed and maintained in such a way as to efficiently and effectively use government and stakeholder resources.

Consistent with Government Legislation and Policies

7.4 ASD arrangements are consistent with CFIA and Government of Canada legislation and policies, including those for public sector values and ethics, conflict of interest, official languages, and human resources.

Maintain or Improve Accessibility to Services and Programs

7.5 ASD arrangements strive to provide the same or higher levels of accessibility to the delivery of services and programs for stakeholders as those previously delivered through government.


7.6 ASD arrangements are developed and maintained collaboratively, with an emphasis on effective communication, consultation and information sharing, between government and external parties.

Measureable Performance and Improvement

7.7 ASD arrangements have documented performance, accountability, training, data gathering/ sharing and monitoring regimes to promote knowledge exchange, continuous improvement and innovation.

8. Requirements

Initial Provisions, Consultation and Supporting Documentation:

8.1 Agriculture and Food Inspection Legal Services, the CFIA's Governance and Accountability Office, affected collective bargaining units, and Human Resources Branch– Labour Relations must all be consulted in the development of ASD arrangements.

8.2 ASD arrangements must be developed in consultation with affected stakeholders.

8.3 ASD arrangements must be supported by a robust business case and appropriate risk management approaches detailing the benefits and competitiveness of their program or service, as well as how potential program and corporate risks are addressed.

8.4 ASD arrangements must be supported by adequate documentation, reporting structures and data collection capacity, including performance metrics, to facilitate sound management, effective administration and information sharing between CFIA and external parties.

8.5 ASD arrangements must have established processes to resolve non-conformance and complaint and recourse issues.

8.6 ASD arrangements must support appropriate ministerial accountability and authority, including appropriate reporting requirements.

8.7 ASD arrangements must include procedures and strategies for cancellation and reinstatement of the arrangement.

8.8 ASD arrangements must be supported by an implementation plan.

Other Developmental and Ongoing Provisions:

8.9 The CFIA must maintain strategies to address continuity of service.

8.10 Subject to applicable legislation, the CFIA must disclose information regarding its ASD arrangements and the compliance of external parties with conditions specified in the ASD arrangement.

8.11 The CFIA must retain and maintain sufficient resources, as well as expertise and training capabilities, to effectively administer, oversee and evaluate ASD arrangements for the life of each arrangement.

8.12 ASD arrangements must be approved by the applicable Branch Vice-President of the CFIA, following the required ASD Development and Approval Process for ASD arrangements.

8.13 External parties must meet qualifying criteria and continue to be qualified to deliver CFIA programs and services based on clear, transparent criteria.

8.14 ASD arrangements must respect Canada's international responsibilities and obligations.

8.15 ASD arrangements must be overseen to verify compliance with conditions specified in the arrangement and, when applicable, in legislation.

8.16 ASD arrangements must be reviewed regularly, with periodic renewal, to measure their performance against performance indicators and updated as necessary to support program delivery objectives.

9. Roles and Responsibilities

The CFIA's Vice-Presidents of Policy and Programs, Science and Operations Branches are responsible for ensuring that ASD arrangements within their respective areas of responsibility comply with this policy.

The CFIA's Vice-President of Policy and Programs is responsible for reviewing and maintaining this policy.

10. References

Alternative Service Delivery Policy Guide, Treasury Board, 2002.

A companion document to the Treasury Board's rescinded and archived Policy on Alternative Service Delivery (2002) which provides background information and greater clarity on elements mentioned in the policy.

Policy on Alternative Service Delivery, Treasury Board, 2002.

The Treasury Board's rescinded and archived Policy on Alternative Service Delivery may be still used as a resource to help shape ASD arrangements.

11. Monitoring and Reporting

The Alternative Service Delivery Policy will be assessed at least once every five years, or as needed. The next date for assessment of the policy is July 13, 2021. The assessment will be measured against the policy's stated objectives and whether updates are needed to reflect changes in the CFIA operating environment.

The findings and intended actions from the assessment will be reported to the Vice-President of Policy and Programs Branch and the relevant Branches and appropriate governance committees.

12. Inquiries

Questions about this policy and related matters should be directed to the:

Program Policy Integration Division
Program, Regulatory and Trade Policy Directorate
Policy and Programs Branch

13. Effective date

This policy is effective July 13, 2016.

Date modified: