CFIA now empowered to levy food safety fines of up to $15,000

Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials say they’re already using the agency’s new power to assess “Administrative Monetary Penalties” of up to $15,000 against food businesses for for violations that threaten food safety and market access for Canadian goods.

The government says it is committed to maintaining a strong food safety system, which now includes the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA’s) new power to levy fines in food sectors other than the meat industry, which has been subject to such fines since 2015.

Fines referred to as Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) are an additional option the CFIA can use to address violations of federal law. By expanding the use of AMPs across all food sectors, the CFIA will now have a consistent and comprehensive set of tools to enforce compliance with the requirements for all food in Canada, according to government officials.

Yesterday the Canadian government published amendments to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations (AAAMPR) in Canada Gazette Part II. The amendments are now in force. They apply to businesses and individuals.

The introduction of AMPs for all food sectors follows the January 2019 coming into force of the Safe Food for Canadians Act along with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, which consolidated 14 regulations into a single set of consistent requirements for all food businesses.

In consultations on the amendments to the AMPs regulations, both industry and consumers indicated they want the CFIA to address violations of federal rules that threaten food safety and market access for Canadian goods. A strong food safety system maintains consumer confidence and allows Canadian businesses to compete globally, according to public comments on the amendments.

The government of Canada is committed to openness and transparency, which includes sharing information about companies that do not comply with federal food requirements, according to a statement on the broader use of fines. As part of that ongoing commitment, information about AMPs issued will be published in the near future on the CFIA’s website.

Quick facts

  • The CFIA began posting data on its enforcement and compliance activities since 2011.

  • AMPs can range from a “Notice of Violation” with no monetary penalty to a maximum amount of $15,000 for serious offenses or repeat violators.

  • AMPs can also be issued to individuals with amounts ranging from $500 to $1,300.

  • AMPs have been used in the meat sector since 2015.

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