25 Years of Food Safety: A Brief History of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
April 2022 marks the 25th year since the establishment of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
Protecting Canada’s food supply is only one of the many responsibilities of the CFIA; in particular, the agency employs the expertise of its workers to promote food safety, 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. With these diverse responsibilities, Canada is the only jurisdiction in the world that brings all sectors of the food chain together under one roof.
As the largest science-based regulation agency in Canada, the CFIA is also home to more than 6000 employees and 13 laboratories. It is clear that their employees are the driving force of their success – a sentiment shared by Canada’s Minister of Health, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos:
“I would like to recognize the thousands of CFIA staff who have achieved so many important milestones over the past quarter century to protect and safeguard our food supply. Thanks to their efforts, the food we eat in Canada is among the safest in the world. 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.”
Canadians can trust that the food they consume is safe thanks to the CFIA’s consistent efforts. In 2020-2021 alone, 1.1 million inspections were conducted for plant, food and animal products, 223 food recall warnings and allergy alerts were posted, $74 billion was supported for agricultural exports, and 8082 electronic export certificates were issued out.
In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CFIA has also enabled Canada to keep international markets open to Canadian agricultural products. The Agency uses scientific methods and evidence-based decision-making to innovate in a world of ever-changing challenges, including global food supply, climate change and emerging diseases.
“With production methods that meet the highest standards and the scientific rigour 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, which makes exporting easier for all Canadian agri-food producers and processors. On the occasion of 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,” added the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
Established by an Act of Parliament, the CFIA opened its doors in April 1997. This centralized all federally mandated food inspection and health activities of animals and plants into one key organization.
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency invites everyone in Canada to learn more about their mission, diverse workforce, and take part in helping protect our country’s food, plant and animal resources.
Learn more about the CFIA through the following links: