National | Media Release

Croplife involvement in regulation means CFIA President must be replaced, say groups

In September, Radio Canada revealed that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) had circulated a summary of an important regulatory proposal via a document that was produced on a computer owned by CropLife Canada. This indication of improper collaboration between the CFIA and CropLife has shaken confidence in the CFIA’s ability to protect the public interest. Public confidence in our food and agriculture sector depends on regulatory oversight that operates transparently and in the public interest at all times. Friday, October 14th the National Farmers Union and Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Council of Canadians, Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, Environmental Defence, FarmFolk CityFolk, Friends of the Earth Canada, Greenpeace Canada, Organic BC, Safe Food Matters, Sierra Club BC, UFCW, Union Paysanne, Vigilance OGM, and Young Agrarians wrote to Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Bibeau requesting that she replace the President of the CFIA in order to restore the CFIA’s reputation and credibility.

The Radio Canada article,  OGM : Ottawa présente sa réforme en utilisant les fichiers d’un lobby agrochimique, provided alarming evidence of inappropriate collaboration between our public regulator and the private corporations whose products it regulates, to the point that it appears CropLife is effectively directing the CFIA. The document sets out CFIA proposals for how regulations governing many gene-edited seeds are to be interpreted, and puts forward a system that would benefit the multinational seed corporations by allowing them to release many new gene-edited seed varieties without independent government safety assessments or other government oversight, and without disclosing they are gene-edited to government or the public, including farmers and our customers. 

“The proposed system would harm Canadian farmers who need to know what they are planting in order to manage their farms and maintain access to sensitive markets,” said NFU President, Katie Ward. “The proposed regulatory guidance would also weaken public trust in our food regulatory system by preventing independent scientific evaluation by government regulators before these products are sold, and allowing them to be released with no reporting to government or the public.“ 

“As a public regulator, empowered by laws and regulations passed by democratically elected Members of Parliament, the CFIA is accountable to the public, not to the companies it regulates,” added NFU member and former President, Terry Boehm. “The CFIA is formally committed to maintain regulatory independence from all external stakeholders. We need the agency to be led by a new President who we can count on to put this value into practice at all times.” 

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For more information:

Katie Ward, NFU President – phone: 613-797-0601

Terry Boehm – phone: 306-255-7638

Read the letter sent to Minister Bibeau

Read Radio Canada story

Read NFU submission to CFIA consultation