The recently tabled Canadian federal budget includes approximately $390 million in funding over five years earmarked to strengthen Canada’s food safety system. The new funding is proposed to include:
- $153.6 million for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (“CFIA”) to enhance food safety programs that target high-risk foods, and to support the hiring of over 200 new inspectors and staff, the development of programs to minimize food safety risks, and the enhancement of the CFIA’s capacity to prevent unsafe food imports from entering Canada;
- $30.7 million over five years to establish a Food Safety Information Network, to link federal and provincial food safety authorities and private food testing laboratories across Canada; the network is intended to allow food safety data to be compiled, analyzed and shared in real time, allowing for more rapid detection of and response to food safety hazards; and
- $205.5 million over five years to the CFIA, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, to continue routine programming related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (“BSE”) within the cattle population. The new funding is aimed at safeguarding human and animal health, maintaining consumer confidence in Canadian products and enhancing market access.
The Government also announed that it would pursue legislative amendments as needed to facilitate the implementation of food safety program improvements.
In announcing these commitments, the government highlighted over $500 million in investments in food safety initiatives since 2006, including funding to augment the capacity of the CFIA to hire new inspectors, improve inspection practices, increase training for front-line inspectors, and to increase scientific capacity.