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Standard Inspection Procedure (SIP) overview


The purpose of this overview is to showcase this Standard Inspection Procedure (SIP) foundational operational guidance document. The SIP is intended for Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) staff and was developed as guidance that describes a consistent approach across CFIA business lines, when determining regulatory compliance. CFIA is sharing this overview externally in the interest of transparency and CFIA's Openness by Design. For terminology and references that may be new to some readers, a glossary of terms, acronyms and definitions will be in the full version of the SIP, which is being prepared for posting on the CFIA website. Further information on inspection and regulatory compliance can be found on the Regulatory Compliance page under Compliance Verification.

Standard Inspection Procedure (SIP)

The SIP is the common system-based inspection approach for conducting inspections of regulated parties. The SIP applies a consistent method of verification processes across the 3 business lines (food, animal health and plant health) in accordance with the integrated Agency Inspection Model (iAIM).

CFIA inspectors conduct inspections to verify compliance with regulatory requirements, and permission conditions, if applicable. The purpose of the inspection process is to assess whether the regulated party has an effective system which will enable them to meet regulatory requirements.

The SIP describes the procedural guidance for conducting inspections, based on the 4 basic inspection steps: preparing for the inspection, conducting the inspection, communicating the inspection results, and conducting the follow-up inspection.

What is contained in the SIP

The 4 basic inspection steps

Step 1: Preparing for the inspection

A team is established, the applicable information is reviewed and the scope of the inspection is determined. The regulated party is then contacted to confirm a date and time for inspection.

Step 2: Conducting the inspection

The inspection process is discussed at the opening meeting and the scope is confirmed.

The inspection is conducted (preventative control plan inspections, commodity inspections, and/or sample and test inspections). Any non-compliance is categorized and timeframes for corrective action(s) is/are identified. Enforcement occurs where appropriate, and further information is provided in the Standard Regulatory Response Procedure (SRRP)

Step 3: Communication of inspection results

The results are communicated during the closing meeting and within the issued inspection report.

Step 4: Follow-up inspections (as required)

The follow-up inspection is scheduled, the scope is determined, the follow-up inspection is conducted and the results are assessed.

Preventative Control Plan

A preventive control plan (PCP) is a combination of control measures that, when taken as a whole, provide for a science-based approach to managing risks posed by hazards and contribute to achieving compliance with regulatory requirements. PCPs may need to be documented to demonstrate how hazards and risks to food, plants and animals are eliminated or are being effectively controlled.

Preventive Control Plan (PCP) elements

The SIP describes 7 preventive control plan (PCP) elements and the related sub-elements that must be taken into consideration in the development of a facilities' preventive control plan.

These elements are:

  1. process and product controls
  2. sanitation/ biosecurity/ biocontainment, pest control and chemicals
  3. hygiene, biosecurity and employee training
  4. equipment design and maintenance
  5. physical structure, surroundings and maintenance
  6. receiving, transportation and storage and
  7. traceability, control and complaints

Depending on the nature of the operation, PCPs will include some or all of the above elements. Each element of a PCP has associated outcomes to achieve regulatory compliance.


This SIP appendix outlines biosecurity principles and measures that are required in the delivery of CFIA inspection activities within all 3 business lines (food, animal health and plant health). It provides a framework and references for inspectors to make decisions with respect to biosecurity measures in daily inspection activities. Specifically, the protocols used to reduce the risk of biosecurity hazards entering, spreading or being released from a premises.

Commodity specific reference documents

The SIP provides references for Commodity Specific Reference documents which align the current regulatory sections and permission conditions with the specific PCP sub-elements. These documents provide guidance for inspection staff in the verification of each PCP sub-element.

Categorization of non-compliance

The three categories of non-compliance are minimal, moderate and severe. Non-compliance(s), when identified, must be categorized in order to inform: timeframes for regulated parties to complete permanent corrective actions, timeframes for CFIA follow-up inspections, whether the level of oversight needs adjustment, and continual program improvement. Regulated parties must address non-compliance.

Digital Service Delivery Platform

The Digital Service Delivery Platform (DSDP) will support CFIA staff recording of inspection information in an online system, which will facilitate communication by profile users. As the CFIA continues to enhance the DSDP, it will become the preferred channel for permission requests. Further information is provided in the Standard Permissions Procedure.

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