Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

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Business organization’s report on CFIA shows ‘room for improvement’


April 17, 2008
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

The Canadian Federation of
Independent Business (CFIB) recently released a report card assessing
the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the results are not
flattering.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) recently released a report card assessing the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the results are not flattering.

According to the organization’s findings – released as CFIA Report Card: A Small Business Assessment of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency – the regulatory burden imposed by the CFIA has risen over the past three years with the average small business in the agriculture and agri-food sector spending roughly a month out of each year complying with CFIA regulations.

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“The average business that deals with CFIA commits more than 29 days per year and spends in excess of $19,000 annually to comply with its regulations,” says CFIB’s vice-president for agri-business, Marilyn Braun-Pollon. Sixty-six per cent of respondents reported an increase in regulations over the past three years while 42 per cent did not feel the CFIA is aware of how regulations impact their business.

“While small business owners understand that a certain amount of regulation is important for food safety, excessive red tape decreases the overall productivity of this sector,” says Braun-Pollon. “ The challenge for businesses rests in maintaining the safety of the food products produced and dealing with government red tape without hindering their performance.”

Other results showed that 41 per cent of respondents believe CFIA regulations “significantly reduce” their productivity while another 40 per cent say CFIA regulations impede their ability to compete with larger firms. About 58 per cent of businesses believe CFIA regulations “add significant stress” to their lives. Only five per cent of the respondents rated the CFIA’s service quality as “good” and only 20 per cent were satisfied with the availability of information.

The CFIB have briefed Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl on the report’s findings. During the study, CFIB surveyed independently owned businesses across the country that interact with the CFIA, including those involved in primary production, food processing, and fishing. 

The federal government has committed to a 20-per-cent decrease in the overall regulatory burden facing small business by the end of 2008.

The full report is available on the CFIB website at: www.cfib.ca/research/reports/rr3032.pdf .


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