On Farm Food Safety - Canada   Canada

Terms of Reference Approved 24 June 2004

1.0 Vision:
That farmers will have available to them a Canadian approach to on-farm food safety that is composed of officially recognized, national, commodity-specific, auditable, HACCP-based on-farm food safety programs that are consistent, affordable and meet the requirements of both the Canadian and international marketplaces and such other supportive elements as are required to ensure its credibility and sustainability.

2.0 Mandate:
The Canadian On-Farm Food Safety (COFFS) Working Group has been established by the national commodity groups and general farm organizations as a forum for research into and the collaborative development of initiatives related to the national commodity-specific on farm food safety programs and the Canadian approach to onfarm food safety.

3.0 Roles and Responsibilities:
To fulfill its mandate, the COFFS Working Group:

— meets regularly and conducts conference calls as necessary;

— provides advice to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and its agents on the administration of federal funding for food safety programs;

— liaises with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Agri-food Inspection Committee and its’ subcommittee on on-farm food safety, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada and other government bodies on policy, research and other matters related to on-farm food safety;

— monitors and reports upon emerging issues related to on-farm food safety;

— monitors and reports upon emerging international trends in on-farm food safety;

— provides input into Canada’s international positions related to on-farm food safety (e.g. Codex Alimentarius Commission, Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, International Organization of Standardization, etc);

— promotes Canadian understanding of the Canadian approach to on-farm food safety; and,

— promotes the international acceptance of the Canadian approach to on-farm food safety.

In addition, the COFFS Working Group undertakes specific projects that facilitate the development of the national commodity specific initiatives and foster the Canadian approach to on-farm food safety. These include, inter alia:

— research related to the sustainability of the national programs and the Canadian approach;

— negotiations with governments on specific matters, such as official recognition, regulatory reform, funding, etc;

— commissioning the development of or research on common elements or infrastructure for use by, inclusion in or support of the national commodity specific initiatives (such as a national auditor training module, common GPP’s for medicated feeds, management manual templates, etc) and the Canadian approach;

— providing common training opportunities for members on matters related to the development and sustainability of on-farm food safety initiatives; and,

— holding national and international conferences or participating in other events related to on-farm food safety in order to promote Canadian understanding or international acceptance.

4.0 Membership:
The COFFS Working Group membership is open to:

— national commodity groups developing or interested in the development of national on-farm (terrestrial and aquatic) food safety programs;

— the national and provincial general farm organizations; and,

— other stakeholder groups by invitation.

The COFFS Working Group has also extended an invitation to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Federal/Provincial/ Territorial Subcommittee on On-Farm Food Safety to participate in its meetings as observers.

5.0 Governance:
The COFFS Working Group develops its annual workplan, undertakes specific projects, authorizes funding applications, determines its positions on matters related on-farm food safety, etc. by either consensus or by majority vote. Member organizations are not bound by the decisions of the Working Group and the Working Group does not establish policy on behalf of its members. The COFFS Working Group is not an incorporated body.

To facilitate the achievement of its objectives, the COFFS Working Group from time to time establishes Task Groups and/or delegates representatives to participate on external committees. Members of the COFFS Working Group agree that monetary costs and in-kind donations, that are associated with COFFS Working Group activities
are not eligible to be claimed or contributed towards funding applications outside of the COFFS Working Group.

6.0 Member Communications:
The COFFS Working Group operates in a transparent manner. Its meetings are open to representatives of member organizations, observers and others by invitation.

Minutes are kept of meetings and conference calls. A report is prepared after each regular meeting for general circulation.
Final reports and other materials prepared by or for the COFFS Working Group are made available to the member organizations and to others upon request.

7.0 Administration:
The COFFS Working Group engages a third party consultant/co-ordinator to facilitate its meetings and assist it with its activities and projects. Financial administration and project management are provided by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. The COFFS Working Group regularly reviews the performance of both its co-ordinator and its administrator.

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