Ask CFIA, a new online service, aims to streamline industry access to answers
Toronto, January 27, 2017 – On the final day of Red Tape Awareness Week®, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is pleased to award an Honourable Mention for the coveted Golden Scissors Award to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in recognition of its efforts to cut through a labyrinth of regulations for agri-businesses, and improve customer service, with the introduction of Ask CFIA.
Launched June 30, 2016, Ask CFIA is a one-stop online service for agri-business owners to ask regulatory or technical questions and get accurate, consistent, and timely written answers. Currently, it is available for fish and seafood, fresh fruit and vegetable, dairy sectors, egg and egg products, maple products, honey, and processed products (fruit and vegetables) with plans to expand to all sectors.
“Ask CFIA is raising the bar on client service. We commend the CFIA for taking another important step forward to improving their client service,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB Vice-President, Agri-business. “For years, business owners often found themselves lost in a bureaucratic maze when they tried to understand confusing and unclear CFIA regulations. Agri-business owners can now spend more time on their business, while feeling confident that they clearly understand how to meet regulatory requirements.
CFIB previously released two CFIA Report Cards, in 2007 and 2014, which showed that agri-business owners were frustrated and saw a need for CFIA to hone in on customer service, consistency of rulings, unclear regulations and excessive paperwork.
“We thank CFIB for recognizing Ask CFIA as an important step towards improving our Agency’s overall client service,” said Paul Glover, CFIA President. “Initial feedback has been positive, and still we are striving to do even better as we move to further expand this service.”
“Improving customer service is a terrific way to cut through some of the more convoluted aspects of red tape for agri-business owners,” added Mandy D’Autremont, CFIB Director, Agri-Business. “With thousands of agri-businesses dealing with the CFIA on daily basis, Ask CFIA will save these entrepreneurs valuable time and give them the assurance that they are receiving accurate, consistent answers to their regulatory questions.”
Government red tape is a hidden tax, affecting Canada’s small businesses much more than larger firms. Between Jan 23-27, CFIB presents the 8th edition of Red Tape Awareness Week to look at which governments are making progress and which are lagging when it comes to cutting through unnecessary rules and paperwork for entrepreneurs. The annual cost of all regulations on businesses in Canada is pegged at $37 billion per year, with one-third ($11 billion) considered red tape, according to a 2015 CFIB report.
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 7,200 agri-business members.
*On the picture from left to right:
Tony Ritchie CFIA - Executive Director, Inspection Support ACIA
Paul Glover CFIA - President ACIA
Matthew Scoppa CFIA - Director, Ask CFIA Implementation
Monique Moreau CFIB - Vice-President, National Affaires
Carolina Giliberti CFIA - Executive Vice-President ACIA
Michelle Yakimchuk CFIA - Director, Ask CFIA Development