Earlier this year, the government announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) would join Health Canada in reporting to the Minister of Health. This represents a fundamental shift in the CFIA’s reporting structure, as since its inception, the CFIA has reported to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. The government indicated that the intent of the reorganization was to strengthen Canada’s food safety system by consolidating the authorities responsible for food safety under one Minister.
It is likely not a coincidence that this reorganization comes at a time when the CFIA and Health Canada have been tasked with collaborating on an ambitious food regulatory modernization initiative, spearheaded by the government’s Safe Food for Canadians Action Plan. It is hoped that the reorganization will foster easier collaboration and timely communication between CFIA and Health Canada, with the aim of improving the government’s ability to communicate with Canadians about food safety issues.
The CFIA will continue to report to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food with respect to non-food safety agricultural activities, including economic and trade issues, animal health and plant protection.