Budget 2014 contained a number of provisions related to food and food safety, most of which appear to be the continuation of existing commitments.
It committed to invest an additional $390 million over five years to strengthen Canada’s food safety system. This amount is comparable if slightly higher to investments made under the Conservative Government since 2006.
- Support the hiring of over 200 additional inspectors and other staff, the development of programs to minimize food safety risks and an enhanced capacity to prevent unsafe food imports from entering Canada (153.6M);
- Establish a national information system to link federal and provincial food safety authorities and private food testing laboratories across Canada. The network will allow real-time food safety data to be compiled, analyzed and shared centrally. RCC will work with the Government to ensure that all stakeholders across the food continuum benefit from the system and have the opportunity to provide input (30.7M); and
- Continue core bovine spongiform encephalopathy-related programming aimed at safeguarding human and animal health. While primarily an initiative that will impact producers, RCC will work with Government on aspects related to product handling and consumer education (205.5M).
- The Government also committed to continue to pursue legislative amendments to facilitate the implementation of food safety program improvements. This represents a continuation of the work under CFIA’s Regulatory Modernization and Labelling Modernization initiatives and the coming into force of the Safe Food for Canadians Act.
In addition to this, the Budget committed to a regulatory review of the Food and Drugs Regulations. The Government recognized that some provisions under the Regulations are not keeping pace with industry innovation and changing markets, and committed to develop a plan to address these issues through regulatory modernization initiatives. RCC will work with Health Canada on this to identify current regulatory irritants and ensure that amendments to the Food and Drugs Regulations are pursued in tandem with CFIA’s modernization initiatives.
For any questions on the measures noted above or on Federal Budget 2014 more generally, please contact: Jason McLinton, Senior Director, Federal Government Relations.