CFIA at 25 remains unique in the world and at the top of its game

Twenty-five years ago, by an Act of Parlament, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) was created by amalgamating all federally mandated food inspection and animal and plant health activities into one organization. 

By doing so, Canada gave both consumers and the food industry a single point of contact: And it remains unique in the world for doing food safety with a single regulatory agency.  Some numbers marketing CFIA at 25 include:

  • With over 6,000 employees and 13 laboratories across Canada, the CFIA is also Canada’s largest science-based regulatory agency.
  • In 2020-2021, the CFIA supported the following activities with staff and laboratories across Canada:
    • 1.1 million inspections completed for the plant, food, and animal products;
    • $74 billion in agricultural exports;
    • 223 food recall warnings and allergy alerts; and
    • 8,082 electronic export certificates were issued.

“This year, the CFIA celebrates 25 years of scientific, inspection, enforcement innovations, operational and regulatory excellence,” said CFIA President Siddika Mithani. “Safeguarding food safety and plant and animal health and supporting market access is a mandate of critical importance to all of us here at the CFIA and to Canadians.” 

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada’s Minister of Health, said: “I would like to recognize the thousands of CFIA staff who have achieved so many important milestones to protect and safeguard our food supply over the past quarter-century. Thanks to their efforts, the food we eat in Canada is among the safest globally. As we recover from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and respond to ongoing economic, environmental, and global changes, the CFIA will continue to be there for Canadians as a trusted science-based regulator.”

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, also commented: “With production methods that meet the highest standards and the scientific rigor that forms the basis of its trade, Canada enjoys an excellent international reputation as a supplier of high-quality food.”

“The CFIA helps maintain this reputation, making exporting easier for all Canadian agri-food producers and processors,” he added. “On the agency’s 25th anniversary, I would like to thank all of the employees who work every day to ensure the safety of our food and enable our agri-food industry to be an important economic driver.”

In marking its 25 years of safeguarding Canada’s food supply, Canada noted that it remains the only jurisdiction globally, bringing all food regulations under one roof. And CFIA is not just about food.

It says safe food starts with healthy plants and animals. That’s why the CFIA also works to prevent the spread of invasive plants, plant pests, and animal diseases.

It adds that CFIA’s work touches all Canadians, whether it is a potato farmer who wants to sell products in Canada and abroad, seed producers who want to develop new ways to breed plants, a cattle rancher, a person transporting livestock in their truck, a consumer at the grocery store, a gardener at the garden center, or a traveler coming into Canada.

The CFIA says it is powered by its people — including inspectors, veterinarians, and scientists—who work tirelessly to make sure Canadians can trust that the food on their plates is safe, protect Canada’s plant and animal resource base from diseases and pests, facilitate trade and market access for Canadian-made products, and conduct innovative research.

Inspect. Protect. Connect. Everyone in Canada is invited to join the CFIA in celebrating its 25th anniversary by learning more about the agency’s role, diverse workforce, and the actions we can all take to help protect our precious food, plant, and animal resources.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)