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Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Policy on Providing Guidance on Regulatory Requirements

This policy outlines Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's approach to helping regulated parties understand their regulatory obligations.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's context

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada provides leadership in the growth and development of a competitive, innovative and sustainable Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada works with farmers and food producers to support the growth and development of the agriculture and agri-food sector. The Department includes the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency, a special operating agency that regulates and supervises pari-mutuel betting in Canada on horse racing.

With the exception of the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is not an inspection-based department as its regulatory instruments serve mostly to provide the framework for agricultural marketing boards and commissions, and enable programming. For example, the regulations under the Farm Debt Mediation Act outline the processes and provisions for the delivery of financial counselling and mediation services to farmers who are experiencing difficulties in meeting their financial obligations.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will endeavour to provide information to assist stakeholders' understanding of their regulatory requirements.

The information outlined in this policy is applicable to all branches of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Building an awareness of regulatory requirements

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada reaches out to Canadians, farmers and businesses in a variety of ways. For example, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's website includes resource/reference materials and responses to frequently asked questions regarding the regulations we administer. Since Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's regulations serve mainly to enable programming, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada builds awareness by communicating with target audiences about available programs and services. This includes, but is not limited to, communicating through news releases, web content, information bulletins, advertising, social media, exhibits, events and regional outreach.

The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency's guidance documents provide practical information, direction and non-mandatory support to the public and stakeholders on pari-mutuel betting, how to meet pari-mutuel licensing and other regulatory requirements, and are not legally enforceable. Guidance documents include: industry notices, memorandums, standard operating procedures and guides, pamphlets and brochures. The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency consults with industry stakeholders to ensure the guidelines are informed by science-based best practices and the most recent research and are well understood.

Responding to enquiries

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada commits to respond to regulatory questions in a timely manner, and to provide client-focused, helpful, and consistent responses to regulatory interpretation questions. Responses will be communicated in the form in which they are received (that is, written questions will be responded to in writing) and in the official language in which the question was posed.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will ensure that all information about regulations as well as responses to regulatory questions are clear, relevant, objective, easy to understand and useful.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada commits to respond to regulatory questions in accordance with the service standards listed below:

Regulations under the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act

Visit the Advance Payments Program for questions regarding regulations under the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act. Responses will be provided based on the Advance Payments Program Service Standards.

Regulations under the Animal Pedigree Act

Visit Animal Genetics for questions regarding regulations under the Animal Pedigree Act. A response will be sent indicating whether your request is considered routine or complex and when to expect a response.

Regulations under the Canadian Agricultural Loans Act

Visit the Canadian Agricultural Loans Act program for questions regarding regulations under the Canadian Agricultural Loans Act. Responses will be provided based on the Canadian Agricultural Loans Act program Service Standards.

Regulations under the Farm Debt Mediation Act

Visit the Farm Debt Mediation Service for questions regarding regulations under the Farm Debt Mediation Act. Responses will be provided based on the Farm Debt Mediation Service's Service Standards.

Pari-Mutuel Betting Supervision Regulations

Visit the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency website or email at aafc.cpmawebacpm.aac@canada.ca for questions regarding the Pari-Mutuel Betting Supervision Regulations. A response will be sent indicating whether your request is considered routine or complex and when to expect a response.

General client inquiries are received by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Public Information Request Services by email (aafc.info.aac@canada.ca) and phone (1-855-773-0241). Regulatory questions received through the Public Information Request Services are forwarded to the appropriate regulatory analyst for response.

Note that verbal and email responses to questions about regulations are not considered legally binding. Written interpretive responses are binding on the Department if all the material facts have been submitted, are accurate, and remain substantially unchanged. Furthermore, the interpretation applies only to the party requesting the interpretation. A written interpretive response to a question about a regulation can take 30 days or longer to receive depending on the complexity of the question. Requests for a written interpretive response must be submitted to the Department in writing.

Commitment to professional service

As outlined in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Service Pledge, we take pride in what we do. We are an organization dedicated to serving the public. We are here to provide support to both our clients and colleagues. We are committed to delivering high quality service when responding to questions related to regulatory interpretation because we understand the importance of agriculture to our economy, communities, environment and human health. At Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, we are:

Client-Focused
We take the time to understand the needs of our clients and colleagues.
Helpful
We provide assistance and reduce unnecessary burden placed on our clients.
Accountable
We are accountable to our clients, ourselves, and our colleagues.
Respectful
We demonstrate respect to both our clients and colleagues.
Timely
We provide timely and courteous services to clients and colleagues alike.
Accurate
We provide information that is accurate, accessible and up-to-date.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada provides ongoing support to its employees by providing them with the necessary training to deliver high quality, professional services and to provide information on regulatory requirements.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Public Information Request Services tracks all client inquiries and complaints received by phone and email.

Stakeholder engagement

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is committed to engaging stakeholders, as appropriate, when developing, reviewing or refining practices and materials for providing information and guidance on regulatory compliance and answering questions.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada seeks stakeholder feedback on regulatory issues, including the Regulatory Interpretation Policy through its existing stakeholder communication mechanisms (for example the Regulatory Sub-Committee of the Value Chain Round Tables) as well as via this webpage.

At Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, we are dedicated to making a continual effort to improve our service to Canadians and welcomes input from stakeholders on areas for improvement regarding regulatory interpretation practices. Performance and potential improvements are assessed regularly as requests are received.

Please email the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Regulatory Policy Coordination Office with your feedback regarding Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's regulatory interpretation practices at aafc.regulation-reglementation.aac@canada.ca. If you have feedback concerning the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency's regulatory interpretation practices, please email your comments to aafc.cpmawebacpm.aac@canada.ca.

Date of last revision of this policy

This policy was last updated on March 26, 2019.

Note: The above is not a legal document and is not intended to provide legal advice, it sets out the Department's general approach to interpreting regulations and is not a binding statement of the approach that the Department would follow in any particular case. The specific facts of a case, as well as the nature of the information and data available, determine how the Department would respond in a particular matter.

Consult Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Acts and Regulations web page for

Consult the following for links to the Cabinet Directive on Regulation and supporting policies and guidance, and for information on government-wide regulatory initiatives implemented by departments and agencies across the Government of Canada:

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit:

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