FHCP is working to ensure modernized regulations will reduce unnecessary regulatory burden; provide clarity and flexibility in regulations; and support innovation and changes in science and technology.
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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is undertaking a review of its regulations for food safety, plant and animal health. These changes impact the way food companies manage their relationships with their suppliers, customers and consumers. In Canada, regulations supporting the Safe Food for Canadians Act are expected to be finalized in spring 2018, with requirements coming into force in a staggered manner by food sector.
Food that is already created in registered establishments such as meat and dairy will be impacted first, while products and facilities that are not currently registered will be given a few years to create robust written food safety programs called Preventive Control Programs (PCPs). CFIA is in the process of developing resources to help businesses who currently do not have PCPs create ones to meet the new regulatory requirements. These include programs such as recall, traceability, incident tracking and reporting, and consumer feedback.
Canada and the U.S. consider each other’s food safety systems as comparable, giving Canadian manufacturers the same status as domestic facilities. This status eases a significant paperwork burden, especially for importers.
FHCP meets with its members regularly to discuss the important developments in regulations that impact food, ensuring they are aware of any new requirements they may face, as well as advice on how to achieve compliance.
Significant regulatory, guidance and policy activity is currently underway at Health Canada that directly impacts product development, review, approval, labelling and incident reporting. In particular, Health Canada has undertaken a major review of how it regulates and manages cosmetics, natural health products, homeopathic and other traditional medicines, and non-prescription drugs under the self-care framework proposals. This review was prompted by industry stakeholders, including FHCP and its members, requesting that regulation be based on risk and founded in science. While Health Canada has agreed to this in principle, FHCP is concerned that certain proposed activities such as a highly prescriptive label format for natural health products could add significant cost and complexity without enhancing safety. FHCP is working closely with Health Canada to ensure changes are appropriate.
Health Canada is also reviewing how it charges industry for services Health Canada provides, such as reviewing new product submissions. Currently, a significant portion of these costs are supported by consumers through tax dollars because of the benefits enjoyed from the introduction of these new products. Health Canada is proposing to significantly amend this so that industry would face 100% cost recovery without a transparent process in place to identify how those costs were derived.