|Candace Sider, Director Regulatory Affairs, Canada||One aspect of the 2014 Federal budget that caught my eye was the attention paid to the food sector. I suspect these directives didn’t resonate much with most Canadians, as it wasn’t entirely clear from the budget what their impact could be on Canadians’ day-to-day lives. But I think the importance of these food-related directives is significant.
Essentially, these directives stem from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) aggressive food modernization program. If you’re involved in trade in Canada, you may have heard some rumbling about this, and the Safe Food for Canadians Act. The bottom line is that the CFIA is looking to use better, more modern techniques to inspect and license food in Canada, in order to further strengthen our overall food safety system. If you’ve heard the news about the various food recalls in the past couple of years – and frantically checked your fridge to make sure your cheese and sandwich meats were OK, like I have – you can certainly understand the importance of these initiatives.
What does this have to do with the Federal budget? Well, these initiatives cost money, and that’s where the budget comes in!
The budget highlights some specifics attributed to CFIA:
It’s clear from the money being earmarked to the modernization plan that this is an important issue for the Canadian government. What’s not clear right now is whether or not Canadian food importers and exporters are ready for this modernization shift. Are they prepared for the new licensing and inspection commitments?
At Livingston, we’ve been ramping up awareness with client communications, webinars, and resources, and we’ll continue to do so throughout the year. The Safe Food for Canadians Act is currently scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2015. As we get closer to that date I’ll be sharing more about the impact of these regulatory changes on importer and exporters right here, so check back soon to see the latest!