Terms of reference - MAB

1. Introduction

The Ministerial Advisory Board ("MAB") is established under Section 10 of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act.

2. Mandate

The MAB shall advise the Minister of Health and where applicable the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food on issues relevant to Canadian Food Inspection Agency ("CFIA") activities and consistent with the Ministers' responsibilities for the CFIA.

3. Responsibility

It is proposed that the MAB focus on discussing a variety of topics, such as, but not limited to:

  • the strategic direction and priorities of the CFIA as reflected in its key planning documents
  • the policy and program frameworks that govern its operations
  • the downstream impacts of developments in science and testing methods
  • the systems for communications and consultations with stakeholders

The MAB will consider issues requested by the Minister and the Minister may direct the MAB to consider and provide advice on any issue consistent with the mandate of the MAB. That advice may be provided in writing or verbally depending on the preference of the Minister.

Members can request briefings and information from the CFIA in relation to any issue within the mandate of the MAB.

4. Responsibilities of the Chairperson and Minister

The Chairperson will prepare a work plan for the MAB to respond to the Minister's request for advice.

The Chairperson and Minister will meet, when there is mutual agreement that a meeting is required. The Chairperson will ensure that the Minister has the opportunity to meet with the MAB annually.

5. Membership

The Minister shall appoint an advisory board of not more than twelve (12) members, including ex-officio members.

The Minister shall appoint one member of the MAB as Chairperson and a second member of the MAB as the Vice-Chairperson.

Members shall each hold office during pleasure, for a term not exceeding three (3) years.

All appointments to the MAB are at the pleasure of the Minister which provides the flexibility to ensure appointments achieve gender parity and reflect Canada's diversity, in terms of linguistic, regional and employment equity representation.

A roster of pre-qualified candidates to serve on MAB will be established, should a vacancy arise.

To provide technical advice and to facilitate coordination between CFIA and the MAB, one or more officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency may hold ex officio positions.

6. Meetings

It is expected that the MAB will meet in person, at least two times a year in Ottawa at CFIA HQ. The Minister and Chairperson may request teleconference to address pressing matters.

Meeting agendas will be determined by the Chairperson in consultation with the Minister.

The MAB will establish rules and procedures under which meetings will be conducted. To the extent possible, the MAB shall operate on a consensus basis.

A quorum of 50% of members is required for a MAB meeting to proceed and the Chairperson will preside at all meetings.

In the event of the absence or incapacity of the Chairperson, or if the position of Chairperson is vacant, the Vice-Chairperson shall assume the duties assigned to the Chairperson until such time as the Chairperson resumes his/her position or a new Chairperson is appointed.

7. Conflict of interest

Members will perform their duties and arrange their affairs in such a manner that public confidence in the integrity, objectivity, and impartiality of the MAB are conserved.

Members will be expected to observe the Ethical Guidelines for Public Office Holders and Guidelines for Political Activities of Public Office Holders.

Any conflict of interest shall be reported in writing to the Chairperson who shall cause them to be kept in a registry to be maintained for this purpose by the Secretariat.

The Chairperson shall also disclose any conflict of interest and cause them to be recorded by the MAB secretariat

8. Confidentiality

Any privileged information divulged or obtained during meetings or provided in support of such meetings, including privileged information obtained from committees established by the CFIA or during meetings with CFIA management, shall be protected and maintained as confidential and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, shall not be discussed in media interviews, external meetings or other public fora until such time as this information has been officially released by the Minister for public use.

Members must obtain a secret-level security clearance prior to their appointment to the MAB or be in the process of obtaining such a clearance.

9. Transparency

To support transparency with respect to discussions and decisions by MAB the CFIA will:

  • publish member biographies, including any affiliations/conflict of interest declarations
  • make public the process for determining appropriate MAB membership and filling vacancies with members of the public/academia/scientific community/industry as required
  • post meeting documents such as agendas, presentations and meeting summaries

10. Fees and expenses

Each member will be paid such fees for his or her services as are fixed by the Minister.

Each member shall be reimbursed, consistent with guidelines set forth by the National Joint Council Travel Directive, for reasonable travel and living expenses incurred while performing MAB duties while absent from his or her ordinary place of residence.

11. Secretariat support

A Secretariat within CFIA will be responsible for providing secretariat support to enable the effective functioning of the MAB.

The Secretariat shall be responsible for administrative support on matters such as coordination of MAB meetings, the processing of MAB fees as well as the handling of travel arrangements.

Effective as of: November 1, 2018