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Centres of Expertise Seeks to Optimize Agricultural Services

Centres of Expertise Seeks to Optimize Agricultural Services

Federal Agriculture Minister Announces Creation of 16 Information Hubs Across Canada

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Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) plans to introduce 16 information hubs across the country which will serve to provide inspectors, industry and consumers with a more efficient way to access information and advice.

The information centres will provide information and tools such as newer crop strains, methods on how to increase yields, marketing tools, and offering information related to best practices related to food safety.

"These centres will bring together the agency's expertise in plant health, animal health and food safety in unique and specialized centres across the country," Ritz said. "This will ensure that the agency's knowledge and expertise in a particular program or commodity can be accessed in a more efficient and effective way."

Additionally, the hubs will be spread across Canada and will specialize in what’s most prominent in that particular region. For example, centres that will focus on meat slaughter and animal diseases will likely be located in Calgary, while anything related to poultry will probably be located close to Saint-Hyacinth, Quebec.

Other information hubs relating to food labelling and export of live animals will be likely managed in Toronto and Ottawa, which will provide access to government, academic institutions and other industry associations.

In an effort to reduce government staff duplication while ensuring that expert advice is being given to the appropriate information hub, officials with expertise in a given field will be relocated to the appropriate centre.

The creation of information hubs is an effort to reduce red tape and increase efficiency. The idea came about after a federal commission that was intended to find ways to reduce red tape suggested that the hubs would be one way of reducing the regulatory burden on agriculture system.

The 16 centres will be phased in over the next few years and will assist to provide a more coherent approach to delivering services and providing information on aspects that are industry specific.

"We are not changing what we do, just optimizing the way that we offer those services," Ritz said. "The ultimate goal is to provide better service to industry so that they can continue to deliver high-quality, safe foods to consumers and drive our Canadian economy."