Food Safety Auditor Qualifications & Competencies Project – Phase 2
On 18 December 2013, the Hon. Pierre Lemieux, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada announced that the Coalition had received funding for a Phase 2 of its Food Safety Auditor Qualifications & Competencies Project. This phase of the project has three (3) objectives:
Objective 1: To develop a publicly available set of Canadian requirements (based on international requirements) for the qualifications and competencies of food safety auditors and other personnel involved in the audit and certification of food safety management /assurance systems for use by interested parties (e.g. FPT governments, Canadian food safety scheme owners, personnel certification bodies, training institutions, including academic institutions, etc).
Objective 2: To develop recommendations/proposals concerning future infrastructure and other adaptations required to implement these new requirements and to ensure a future supply of qualified and competent food safety audit and certification personnel.
Objective 3: To harmonize to the extent practical the above requirements with those for FPT government food safety auditors/inspectors, promote the utilization of common infrastructure for training, etc. in the future, and create opportunities for professional development and career paths across the private and public sectors.
Safe Food for Canadians Act – Regulations
On 4 June 2013, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) held a Food Safety Regulatory Forum. Just prior to the Forum, the Agency released a number of presentations and discussion papers. Not all of these have been published on the CFIA website. Those related to food safety are published or republished here as a service to industry stakeholders.
Regulatory Framework for Federal Food Inspection
Outcome-based regulatory modernization
Bill S-11, Safe Food for Canadians Act
On 7 June 2012, Bill S-11, Safe Foods for Canadians Act was given 1st reading in the Senate. The Coalition will be actively involved in the parliamentary hearings on this initiative to modernize Canada’s food safety legislation.
Food Safety Auditor Qualifications & Competencies Project – Phase 1
In November 2011, the Coalition with funding assistance from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Growing Forward program, the Canadian Integrated Food Safety Initiative, embarked on a project to engage its members and other stakeholders, including the federal, provincial and territorial governments, other industry associations, academic institutions, participants in the national standards system, etc. in a dialogue on food safety auditor qualifications and competencies in Canada. The objective of this dialogue is twofold:
- First, is will provide an opportunity to share information and to identify issues with respect to private and public sector requirements, international standards and developments globally in the field of food safety auditor qualifications and competencies; and,
- Second, it will determine if there is a consensus as to whether or not a Canadian approach to food safety auditor qualifications and competencies is required and if so, how it can be achieved and what infrastructure needs there might be to implement and sustain it.
To date, the project has involved two (2) workshops and an electronic validation process conducted amongst a broad stakeholder group. The workshop reports and the project’s final report follow:
Food Safety Policy Harmonization and Integration
The Coalition actively promotes the development of a hamonized and integrated food safety framework for food safety policy and regulation. It has an on-going relationship with the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Food Safety Committee and works closely with key federal departments and agencies including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Over the past year it has participated in the FPT consultations on the Growing Forward Initiative, the successor agreement to the Agriculture Policy Framework (APF).
- Consultations Submission – Round 1 – December 2006
- Consultation Submission – Round 2 – March 2007
- Letter to Ministers – October 2007
Canada’s Food & Consumer Safety Action Plan
In the October 2007 Speech from the Throne, the federal government announced that it would be introducing new measures concerning the safety of food, health products and consumer products. These initiatives would respond to concerns about imported products but also cover products produced in Canada. In December 2007, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food announced additional details and on 15 January 2008, the ministers released a discussion paper on the Action Plan. The Coalition and its members will be participating in technical consultations with the government starting in late January.
In late October 2007, the Coalition obtained funding under the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Food Safety and Quality Program to undertake a gap analysis and develop a national strategy for the post-farm segments of the supply and to integrate this strategy with the work undertaken by the on-farm segments of the chain. This project funding will also permit the Coalition to establish a task group of interested national associations to engage in discussions with the federal, provincial and territorial governments on the establishment of a recognition program for national industry-led food safety systems in the post-farm sector. An on-farm food safety recognition program is already under development and is close to being completed.
The gap analysis and national strategy project was launched in December 2007 and completed on 31 March 2009.
Emergency/Pandemic Preparedness Planning
The Coalition, at the request of its members, organized a workshop on pandemic preparedness planning in the agri-food industry in February 2006. Following that meeting, the membership agreed that the Coalition should take a leading role on behalf of the agri-food industry in developing an industry/government approach to pandemic planning. This lead to the formation of an agri-food subcommittee under the auspices of the federal government’s Private Sector Working Group with representatives from key federal government departments and a cross-section of industry associations. The subcommittee is co-chaired by the Coalition’s chair and a senior official from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the department identified by the federal government as the lead agency for the agri-food aspects of pandemic preparedness planning.
During 2006, the Industry/Government Subcommittee on Pandemic Preparedness Planning for the Agri-Food Industry held regular meetings and developed an issues list and a workplan. It also initiated planning for a major industry/government workshop to be held in early 2007.
Co-sponsored by the Coalition and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – the Global Grippe Workshop was held on 26th and 27th March 2007 in Gatineau, Quebec. Attended by 100 participants this session involved a high level exercise in pandemic planning with significant interaction amongst the segments of the food chain and government officials from the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal jurisdictions. For further details see the report.
In 2009, AAFC and the Coalition established the Emergency Planning – Agri-Food Sector Network with a mandate to deal with a broad range of emergency planning issues related to the agri-food sector. The Agri-Food Sector Network meets quarterly. During the 2009 pandemic, it provided a forum for communications between government and the agri-food industry.