I can't say with enough passion, I think, how much we value the contribution of this committee to our efforts to ensure food safety for Canadians. We also recognize the passion, commitment, and professionalism of our front-line staff and what they do each and every day--each and every shift--to deliver food safety for Canadians.
With respect to recommendation seven, I think it's clear that from our perspective a comprehensive approach was undertaken. With respect to the PricewaterhouseCoopers report and the statement that the member has shared with us, it is a professional audit firm and is required to identify the scope of the work they undertake to do, which, in this case, was an independent review of CFA's assumptions, calculation methodology, representations, and results. PWC declared in the report that they found CFA estimates to be sound.
So PricewaterhouseCooper did indicate in the report, very eloquently, that the methodologies, calculations, assumptions, and representations were fully sound within the parameters of their expertise allowed to assess.
Reference was made to the fact that the appropriateness of the frequency and duration of the CVS test was not allocated to PricewaterhouseCooper. In fact that was given to a third-party international panel of two individuals, one from the United States and one from Canada, with, combined, over 50 years of international experience in food inspection methods.
These two individuals wrote a report commissioned by us on the technical aspects of CVS. Each panellist came to the conclusion—and the report was part of the government's report on food safety progress—that CVS is a sound system, and that it has made a significant improvements in inspection.
There were some recommendations given to us to provide greater flexibility for inspectors, so that if they were to find something they would be able to park the task they were doing and address the emergent issue immediately. We have taken this on board as part of our continuous improvement of the system.
They felt that, overall, the time allocations and descriptions of tasks were appropriate. They also recognized that a single window of time is not necessarily an appropriate measure. You may have a plant with 15 production lines or a plant with a single production line, and there have to be allowances made for the complexity of the production environment. Our system allows us to do that with the tasks that are currently described.
The third element we talked about was a front-line inspector input carried out by CFIA, with the full support and participation of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. This would involve a field assessment of CVS, in light of the views of the staff and the union. Those three collectively, we believe, met the intent of Ms. Weatherill's request. We believe that Canadians can have confidence in the system as it's currently being delivered, and that they can rely on these recommendations to continue to drive improvement in the future.