Operational Procedure: Issuing a letter of non-compliance
On this page
- 1. Purpose
- 2. Authorities
- 3. Reference documents
- 4. Definitions
- 5. Acronyms
- 6. Operational procedure
- 7. Appendices
The purpose of this document is to provide Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspection staff with a standardized procedure for issuing a letter of non-compliance (LoNC).
This document is intended to be used in conjunction with CFIA guidance documents as referenced in Section 3.0.
The procedure outlined below should be used when inspection staff have determined that issuing LoNC is an appropriate response to a non-compliance observed, as per the Standard Regulatory Response Process.
The issuance of a LoNC may not apply to all CFIA inspection programs and the inspectorate should refer to program-related enforcement guidance or procedures.
A LoNC is an administrative enforcement action established under policy that is not enabled by legislation enforced by the CFIA.
3. Reference documents
- Standard regulatory response process
- Compliance and enforcement policy
- Standard inspection process
- Operational guideline: Food regulatory response guidelines
- Operational guideline: Agricultural inputs enforcement guidelines (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 3621130)
- Operational guideline: Animal and plant health enforcement guidelines (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 3622264)
- Fertilizer control & enforcement guidelines (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 1526075)
- DSDP SOP Managing a non-compliance record (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 9906406)
Unless specified below, definitions are located in either the:
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency
- Letter of non-compliance
- Digital Service Delivery Platform
6. Operational procedure
CFIA inspection staff should follow this procedure when they have made the decision to issue a LoNC as referenced in the Standard regulatory response process (SRRP) and commodity specific guidance.
The LoNC is an administrative enforcement action used to document a contravention of legislation. It serves as a notice to the regulated party that a contravention of the relevant act or regulation has occurred and becomes part of the regulated party's compliance history. This information is documented to support enforcement actions if they are required in the future, as per the SRRP.
Use of a LoNC may be appropriate in situations where the following statements apply:
- the non-compliance has not resulted, or is not likely to result, in serious or very serious harm (such as health or safety risks to humans, plants, or animals or marketplace deception)
- the non-compliance is not intentional
- the inspector believes that a LoNC will have the appropriate deterrent effect
- the regulated party has an otherwise good compliance history
The enforcement decision process in the SRRP helps determine if a LoNC is an appropriate response to the non-compliance.
6.1 Preparing the LoNC
Inspectors should refer to Appendix 1 when drafting the LoNC. This LoNC should include the following information:
- date of issuance of the LoNC
- the date and location of the non-compliance
- regulated party name and address
- subject line
- the section(s) of the act or regulations that pertain to the non-compliance
- a summary of the facts and a short description of the non-compliance, where applicable, the date(s) that effective corrective actions must be in place to avoid further enforcement action
- refer to the Standard inspection procedure as a source of timelines and due dates based on the severity of the non-compliance
- the name and telephone number of the CFIA contact person
The information above may be adjusted to appropriately address the circumstances of each instance of non-compliance. However, it is recommended that all information noted above be included and worded as closely as possible to the recommended template, as per Appendix 1.
The LoNC should be signed by the inspector, supervisor or inspection manager as per the SRRP. Should the regulated party wish to question the content of the LoNC, the CFIA official who signs the document would be the point of contact to discuss issues outlined in the LoNC.
6.2 Sending the LoNC to the regulated party
Send the original LoNC signed by the inspector, supervisor or inspection manager who made the decision to the regulated party by email, registered mail, courier or hand deliver. If sent by email, it may be digitally signed.
Follow up with the regulated party by email, telephone or in person, as applicable, to ensure they received and understand the LoNC.
The LoNC should be delivered to the regulated party with a copy of the associated inspection report(s) or supporting document that resulted in its issuance as applicable.
The best practice is hand delivering the LoNC and copies of associated inspection reports to the regulated party, preferably by the inspector who conducted the inspection. Upon delivery to the regulated party, the inspector should clearly explain:
- the content of the LoNC
- the regulatory authorities of inspectors
- regulatory requirements that regulated parties are obligated to comply with
- the potential consequence(s) of further non-compliance
6.3 Documenting the delivery of the LoNC
The LoNC delivery process and interaction with the regulated party must be documented in the inspector notes. The notes, along with a copy (photocopy, scanned or digitally signed copy) of the LoNC should be kept on file for future reference. If the LoNC was sent by registered mail or courier, a copy of the delivery notice should be included in the file. A best practice is to file a copy of the original signed correspondence with the following information recorded on the back of it:
- time and date
- method and destination of LoNC delivery
- inspector(s) initials
- name of regulated party or company representative receiving the LoNC (if the LoNC was hand-delivered)
- pertinent information which can be cross referenced to the inspector's notes
If the LoNC was digitally signed and sent by email, copies of the email and signed LoNC should be saved in RDIMS.
6.4 Tracking the recommendation and issuance of a LoNC
Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP) users:
Enter the details of the enforcement action in the DSDP. To do this, refer to Standard inspection process section A.5.5.2 Capture regulatory response actions and DSDP Standard operating procedure Managing a non-compliance record (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 9906406). In the Non-compliance response details tab add a new Regulatory response and select the Regulatory response type: Letter of non-compliance. The enforcement details are being entered after the decision to issue a LoNC has been made, therefore select the Response status: Issued. At a minimum, add a copy of the LoNC to the Documents sub-grid within the new regulatory response record.
For inspection programs that have yet to be incorporated into DSDP:
Enter the details of the enforcement action using established procedures.
Logging this information is required to document a regulated party's compliance history and ensure that non-compliance is documented as part of the compliance and enforcement continuum.
Appendix 1 – Forms and templates
- Template letter – Letter of non-compliance (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 16075788)
For general inquiries related to this operational procedure, please follow established communication channels, including submitting an electronic Request for Action Form (e-RAF) (accessible only on the Government of Canada network).
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