BC On-Farm Food Safety Program

BC On-Farm Food Safety Program

The On-Farm Food Safety (OFFS) Program is a cost-sharing initiative designed to help improve food safety in British Columbia (BC) food and beverage manufacturing facilities (F&B). The OFFS program is funded under the Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, and is being administered by Food Processing Skills Canada on behalf of B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The OFFS Program ran from 2018 to 2023.

“We at FPSC are honoured to continue to have a positive impact on food safety in the industry, helping farmers and food processors achieve their food safety goals; and provide support for creating a resilient workforce at all levels of the supply chain.” – Camille Paultre, Program Manager

The OFFS Program provided 70% cost-shared funding up to a maximum of $10,000 to eligible B.C. farm-based businesses (including growers, packers, and ranchers), to address existing food safety issues, increase implementation of food safety practices and to meet national and international food safety requirements.

The OFFS Program had a successful 5 years of implementation, achieving key program targets and providing funding to 243 farm-based businesses in BC, across 9 sub-sectors of the crop production industry. The program has successfully improved the food safety practices for these businesses across various regions through this initiative and has adapted to the changing needs of the industry, when faced with a global pandemic and changing requirements for safe work practices.

The program benefited greatly from support from Key Industry Partners such the BC Food and Beverage and the BC Blueberry Council, along with Food Safety Assessors in the region and remained fully subscribed and in high-demand throughout the 5-year period.

The biggest win from the OFFS program was the ability to provide funding to so many small businesses that would not have otherwise had the opportunity to conduct these activities. The flipside of this win, is that so much more funding is needed to meet the demand in the region due to anticipated industry growth and ever-increasing costs of doing business, including the costs of equipment necessary to maintain food safety.