The federal government is providing $20 million to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to support critical food inspection. As part of CFIA's measures to secure food safety, it is also looking at ways to introduce flexibility where possible, including making packaged food intended for use by restaurants and hotels more easily available for sale at grocery stores and retail outlets.
This investment will allow the CFIA to hire, train and equip additional staff (including recently retired CFIA inspectors and veterinarians) to conduct critical inspection activities, reassign staff from within the Agency to focus on critical services, and work closer with industry and trading partners to minimize supply disruptions during the crisis.
The funding will also support the CFIA in developing flexible ways to carry out inspections, including through the expanded use of electronic tools such as tablets and access to the CFIA's remote service delivery network. This increase in competencies will ensure that the CFIA can remain agile and responsive despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.
The CFIA and the provinces and territories are already working together to safeguard the Canadian food supply during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will also support the training of provincial food inspectors so they can provide assistance to the CFIA as needed. In some provinces, it may entail training CFIA inspectors to support provincial food inspection activities.