All posts tagged regulatory enforcement

Designed to Fail: Why Regulatory Agencies Don’t Work

Designed to Fail: Why Regulatory Agencies Don’t Work is a great piece about how and why government fails to do its job in regulatory enforcement, written by a veteran U.S. regulator by the name of William Sanjour. Having developed a few regulations myself, I have to say that I completely agree with his observations and concerns. Capture of regulatory agencies in Canada may in fact be worse than in the U.S. There, powerful states like California can drive change at the national level, and NGOs can be backed by billionaires. Not so here. I’ve watched bureaucrats shut out and ignore NGOs, treat unions as the enemy, and call industry executives to get instructions on how to write a regulation.

This quote from the article sums it up well:

“Regulatory agency employees soon learn that drafting and implementing rules for big corporations means making enemies of powerful and influential people. They learn to be “team players,” an ethic that permeates the entire agency without ever being transmitted through written or even oral instructions. People who like to get things done, who need to see concrete results for their efforts, don’t last long. They don’t necessarily get fired, but they don’t advance either; their responsibilities are transferred to others, and they often leave the agency in disgust.… Read the rest

Media Update for April 17, 2011

Advance warnings negate benefits of inspections:

It seems that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is giving egg producers an easy ride when it comes to inspections. A blogger has posted that the CFIA gives as much as two weeks notice. Some producers have used this time to clean up and get their hen-houses in order. This, of course, negates the much of the benefit of an inspection regime. To be really effective, they should be random, unannounced and include real testing (as opposed to just inspecting the paperwork).

The CFIA should know better, but can’t seem to change itself. There were many lessons learned after the 2008 listeriosis outbreak, but they still haven’t implemented many of them – most notably the lack of inspectors. How can they promote a safety culture in the industry when they themselves are so negligent?

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Inspections lack surprise
Agri 007 (blog), April 13, 2011
Summary: If you’re speeding and get warning that there’s a policeman with radar over the hill, you slow down to the speed limit.  You’re not caught and disciplined, so you probably continue to speed. There appear to be lots of warnings for egg farmers in Ontario and grading stations that the enforcers are coming, so few are caught and disciplined.… Read the rest

Media Update for April 14, 2011

Canadian food safety criticized by Canadian Medical Association Journal:

I picked up another food safety story from one of my favourite blogs, barfblog. Doug Powell, who is a Canadian at Kansas State University, has a posting on the state of food inspection in Canada. This when we’re in the midst of another food contamination outbreak that has made more than a dozen people sick and may have killed one woman.

Powell’s post quotes a Canadian Medical Association Journal editorial on food safety (which criticizes Canada’s food inspection system), and former Canadian Food Inspection Agency President Ron Doering (who gives it lukewarm praise).

As Powell observes, and contrary to the statements of the quoted individuals, Canada is actually not all that good at food regulation. Or any regulation, I’d have to add. This, at least, is the assessment of Global Integrity, which gave Canada a poor rating on law enforcement.

We at Canadians for Accountability agree with GI for several reasons. First of all, there has been a widespread move towards so-called safety management systems (called, I believe, the “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point” system in food safety) – where producers are expected to monitor their own systems and ensure a safety culture, and regulators generally only inspect the safety system as opposed to shop-floor compliance testing.… Read the rest