Inspection Verification Office (IVO) Annual Report – 2016-2017

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction

Inspection Verification Office (IVO) Background

Reporting to the Inspector General, the IVO assesses and measures inspection activities at the field level to identify overall best practices and areas for improvement in our inspection system. The IVO is comprised of verification officers, analysts, administrators and a management team.

Verification officers are Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) employees selected for their expertise in CFIA inspection programs and auditing. They conduct unannounced verifications at inspection delivery points across Canada using standardized assessment criteria to assess a wide range of inspection activities and related functions. The inspection delivery points are selected based on pre-determined criteria.

IVO Verification Process

The main objectives are to validate that inspection activities are delivered as intended and program objectives are met consistently across the CFIA. The inspection verification process consists of inspection record review, on-site visit, interview with staff, and a meeting with regional management.

Once the verification is completed, an Inspection Verification Report (IVR) summarizing the observations is provided to the Regional Chief Inspector (RCI). The RCI is responsible for determining the underlying root cause(s) and developing a Management Review Action Plan (MRAP) to address each observation at the regional level. The Area Chief Inspector (ACI) is responsible for the monitoring, verification and closure of MRAPs within their operational Area.

The IVO analyzes IVRs and MRAPs to identify potential improvement opportunities within the inspection system. These systemic trends, root-cause analyses and recommendations are presented semi-annually to senior management to be addressed at the national level.

The inspection verification process has facilitated the following outcomes for the CFIA:

  • timely improvements from verification observations and resulting actions;
  • increased consistency in the delivery of inspection activities; and
  • senior management awareness of national trends and opportunities for improvement.

2.0 Purpose of this Report

This report shows the results of the IVO's second annual business cycle. It presents verification delivery statistics, summarizes the most common observations, and describes actions taken to improve the inspection system.

3.0 Inspection Verification Delivery

A total of 130 unannounced verifications were delivered between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2017 in the food (128) and animal (2) business lines.

Chart 1: Total per Area 2016-2017. Description follows.
Description for Chart 1: IVO – Total per Area and Region 2016-2017

The total number of inspection verifications conducted per area and region is as follows:

Atlantic (22)

  • New Brunswick (5),
  • Nova Scotia (7),
  • Prince Edward Island (6), and
  • Newfoundland and Labrador (4).

Ontario (31)

  • Central (6),
  • North East (10),
  • South-West (10), and
  • Toronto (5).

Quebec (31)

  • Montreal (20*),
  • Quebec (6), and
  • St-Hyacinthe (5).

West (46)

  • Alberta North (8),
  • Alberta South (7),
  • BC Coastal (6),
  • BC Mainland/Interior (8),
  • Manitoba (10), and
  • Saskatchewan (7).

*Note: "Montreal East" and "Montreal West" regions merged in 2016-2017, so the verification data were combined under the name "Montreal".

Chart 2: Total per Region 2016-2017. Description follows.
Description for Chart 2: IVO - Total per Commodity 2016-2017

The total number of inspection verifications conducted per commodity is as follows:

  • Meat and Poultry Products (46),
  • Fish and Seafood (14),
  • Dairy (15),
  • Egg and Egg Products (22),
  • Maple Products (11),
  • Honey (15),
  • Processed Products (5), and
  • Terrestrial Animal (2).

4.0 Most Common Observations

For this reporting period, IVO did not observe a situation that would have had a negative impact on food safety or animal health. A summary of the most common observations identified opportunities for improvement in the following areas:

  • more accurate and complete documentation of inspection activities;
  • stronger adherence to written inspection procedures;
  • assignment of the appropriate level of compliance to all inspection tasks;
  • availability and readiness of all equipment (including IT tools) necessary to conduct inspection activities.

These observations are analyzed and the opportunities for improvement identified are prioritized for resolution across the inspectorate. This supports the CFIA in further developing and maintaining a culture of continuous improvement.

5.0 Actions Taken

The regional observations are addressed locally by the Regions and Areas via MRAPs, which provide a root cause analysis and action items for each observation. At the time of this report, 70% of the action items for this fiscal year have been fully implemented. The remainder are in progress and/or have longer timelines for implementation.

To address systemic observations made in this fiscal year, the following actions have been or are being implemented:

  • the issuance of guidelines for common equipment used by CFIA Inspectorate and program clarification;
  • the transition to a consolidated manual, keeping individual guidance for unique situations;
  • the expansion of supervisory oversight activities to all CFIA business lines (food, animal and plant); and
  • working group and survey of CFIA staff to investigate and resolve Information Technology (IT) equipment issues in the field.

6.0 Additional Information

In fiscal year 2016/2017, the IVO delivered its second business cycle. Over the course of the year, the IVO accomplished and delivered several activities to achieve its strategic plan objectives and targets:

  • Two inaugural verifications were conducted in the terrestrial animal health using the same approach established for the food business line.
  • The expansion of verifications to all food commodities and animal health has led to lessons learned and improvements to our verification process. For example, the inspection verification assessment criteria were adjusted in order to better align with the Integrated Agency Inspection Model (iAIM) and ensure compatibility between the three business lines: food, animal and plant.
  • IVO observations have resulted in the clarification of inspection guidelines as issued by the CFIA Operational Guidance and Expertise Units.

The IVO is constantly making refinements to the verification processes in response to changes in policies, procedures, and business priorities. As the CFIA implements the iAIM, the IVO will continue to evolve.

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