Immediate call for members: Competencies Working Group

Join Safe Food Canada’s Competencies Working Group: don’t miss the kick-off meeting at the end of March 2016

One of Safe Food Canada’s top priorities is to develop pan-Canadian food safety competency models for industry and government workers.  Safe Food Canada is structuring a working group who collectively represent:

  • the entire food industry sectors and sub sectors
  • Government agencies, councils and associations
  • Academia

Members of this group are to embark on an initiative that is likely to be a multi-year effort, with several streams of work.

As we can observe, the face of the global food supply chain is shifting tremendously. Canadians are facing new technologies, the growth in new food businesses, the emergence of new pathogens and food hazards, trade agreements, as well as the increased complexity of food protection management and risk assessment.

These ongoing challenges have compelled regulatory agencies and businesses to engage in more collaboration, cross-industry dialogue and joint research. When looking at designing and implementing food safety and protection training, industry, government and academia all recognize a lack of consistency and comprehensiveness.

The foundation for developing consistent, high quality training is a competency model.  There is a vast amount of information available through existing resources and key informants that offer insights on how to create competency models and curriculum programs for food safety and protection.  However, these offer piecemeal information and do not present the landscape of food safety learning requirements for food workers, regulators or policy developers across the food industry in Canada.

For these reasons, the Safe Food Canada Competencies Working Group has been formed.

Scope of work

As a member of this working group, you will help Safe Food Canada develop the high level framework for the competency models that will form the basis for a best in class competency model that includes all competencies for all job roles in the Canadian food industry and government related to food safety.

Based on defined priorities, develop a high level competency framework that articulates all major competencies related to food safety for all industry sectors and sub-sectors and all levels of government. This model will identify and distinguish between “common to all/many”, and “specific to few”.

The framework is intended to be used to pinpoint highest priorities in learning. It will also be used as a starting point for developing detailed competency models. Lastly, the framework will create a common language and understanding of pan-Canadian food safety learning for industry and government.

The near-term process steps are described below.  Detailed processes to tackle individual competency models will be determined as a part of Step 6.

  1. Gather data regarding job roles/levels, competency categories/topics and assess interrelationship amongst these attributes.
  2. Develop the high level framework for the competency models: determine the distinct models to be developed and the job roles specific to each model.  (Existing models from CFIA and IFPTI will be referred to and leveraged as possible and appropriate.)
  3. Identify and agree on the priorities for developing the competency models.
  4. Source additional subject matter experts or key informants, as required.
  5. Develop a project plan and establish timelines to develop the competency models.
  6. Sub-teams will tackle the competency models either concurrently or consecutively. Approach is TBD.

Becoming a Competencies Working Group member

Group representation
This working group will ideally be formed by a complement of volunteer subject matter experts and key informants including volunteer representatives from industry, government, and academia with representation from:

  • All levels of government
  • Pan-Canadian perspective
  • Small, medium and large businesses
  • All sectors and sub-sectors of the food industry

Scope of expertise
This working group will require representatives who are experts in and can articulate:

  • Job roles in either government or industry that have accountability for food safety
  • Tasks performed by those roles which are specific to food safety
  • Competencies required perform those tasks
  • Technically accurate articulations of detailed competencies and/or learning objectives
  • Ideal sequence of food safety learning (competencies) that should occur at critical points in the life cycle of specific job roles

Expectations and commitment

As a member of the Safe Food Canada Competencies Working Group, a unique work assignment is presented to you where you will directly impact the frame of collaboration across the entire food supply chain.


Here’s what we need from you:

  • Represent your area/s of expertise and articulate job roles, tasks, competencies, learning objectives, and learning milestones
  • Review and provide input/feedback on work produced by other committee members
  • Agreement on approach, process, standards which will be applied, along with necessary deliverables for this working group
  • Commit to timelines (see below)
  • Participate in all meetings
  • Complete in-kind reporting monthly
  • Promote and advocate the work and deliverables of the committee

Estimated five one- to two- hour meetings and a minimum of three all-day sessions to complete the initial competency framework.

Additional time commitments will be determined upon completion of the framework.  Competency development is anticipated to be a multi-year effort and structured to enable members to participate in sub groups with shorter accountabilities (i.e., 3-6 months).


  • Competencies Working Group kick-off meeting: prior to March 30, 2016
  • High level framework for the competency models: Prior to June 30, 2016 (timing TBC)
  • Prioritization, planning: July 30, 2016
  • Launch development of individual models: August 2016

Here’s who we’re looking for

We’re looking for key informants and subject matter experts with the following technical expertise and experience. If you see a fit , don’t miss the kick-off meeting and contact us right away:

1.     Regulatory expertise

  • Expert knowledge of the existing and forthcoming regulations, with an understanding of the difference between current and target states of the regulations and how this will impact regulators and industry.
  • Knowledge of regulator roles (inspectors, policy developers at Federal, Provincial, and Municipal levels) which require food safety capabilities.
  • An ability to articulate the food safety related tasks of these job roles, and the competencies required to perform these tasks
  • An ability to organize the competency related data (roles, tasks, competencies) into a logical structure.
  • Informed knowledge of the priorities for capability build for a specific industry/sector.

2.     Industry expertise 

  • Knowledge of industry and specific sector-sub sector roles which require food safety capabilities
  • An ability to articulate the food safety related tasks of these job roles and the competencies required to perform these tasks
  • An ability to organize the competency-related data (roles, tasks, competencies) into a logical structure.
  • Informed knowledge of the priorities for capability-building for a specific industry/sector.

Preference will be given to representatives with expertise in more than one industry/sector.

3.     Technical expertise

  • Technical expert of detailed food safety competencies and a point of view on the ideal structure and organization of these competencies.
  • A point of view on the gaps in learning offerings (courses/programs) related to food safety.

Preference will be given to representatives with content development design and development experience in one or more courses/programs in food safety.

If you have any questions at all, please write to [email protected] as soon as possible. We will get back to you promptly.