Government of Canada Provides $ 20M to Safeguard Canada’s Food Supply by Supporting Critical Food Inspection Services

The Government of Canada is providing $20 million to the CFIA to support critical food inspection that help to ensure that Canadians will have continued access to safe, high-quality food to feed their families.

The funding was announced by the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. This investment will allow the CFIA to hire, train and equip additional staff (including recently retired CFIA inspectors and veterinarians) to conduct critical inspection activities, reassign staff from within the Agency to focus on critical services, and work closer with industry and trading partners to minimize supply disruptions during this crisis.

The funding will also support the CFIA in developing flexible ways to carry out inspections, including through the expanded use of electronic tools such as tablets and access to the CFIA’s remote service delivery network. This increase in competencies will ensure that the CFIA can remain agile and responsive despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.

The CFIA and the provinces and territories are already working together to safeguard the Canadian food supply during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will also support the training of provincial food inspectors so they can provide assistance to the CFIA as needed. In some provinces, it may entail training CFIA inspectors to support provincial food inspection activities.

While the CFIA works to keep food safe and protect the health of animals and plants during this pandemic, it is also looking at ways to introduce flexibility where possible. For example, the CFIA is making packaged food intended for use by restaurants and hotels more easily available for sale at retail outlets and grocery stores. This will help to make more food products available to Canadians while reducing food waste and supporting businesses without compromising food safety.