As crazy as it sounds, Canada didn’t have a single unified authority to oversee food regulation until 1997: that’s when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency was established. Prior to its founding, most food was inspected by the Department of Agriculture, fish and seafood was inspected by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and all health and nutritional claims were evaluated by Health Canada. The President of the CFIA reports to the Minister of Health.
The presidents of the CFIA have been:
Dr. Arthur Olson, 1997-98. Dr. Olson spent most of his career as a research scientist with the Department of Agriculture, working his way up to Assistant Deputy Minister for Food Inspection at the establishment of the CFIA. He is now the Executive Director of the Canadian Federation of Biological Societies.
Dr. Ronald L. Doering, 1998-2002. A lawyer specializing in food law, Dr. Doering was a founding vice-president of the CFIA. He is now counsel with Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP in Ottawa.
Richard B. Fadden, 2002-05. Fadden is a career civil servant; the presidency of the CFIA was his first big gig, after working in the Department of External Affairs, the Office of the Auditor-General, the Department of Natural Resources, the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Privy Council Office. He left the CFIA to serve as Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, then as Director of CSIS. He is currently the Deputy Minister of National Defense.
François Guimont, 2005-07. Guimont earned degrees in biology, water resources and civil engineering and worked as a scientist for the Province of Quebec before joining the federal civil service, serving in the Department of Public Works, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, the Privy Council Office, Environment Canada, and the Canada Revenue Agency. He left the CFIA to become Deputy Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. He is currently the Deputy Minister of Public Safety.
Carole Swan, 2007-11. Swan holds a masters’ degree in economics from the University of Manitoba. Swan’s presidency was the finale to a long career in the civil service, including jobs with Industry Canada, the Treasury Board, the Privy Council Office, the Office of Privatization and Regulatory Affairs, the Department of Regional and Industrial Expansion, the Ministry of State for Economic Development, Status of Women Canada and the Department of Communications. She is now retired.
George Da Pont, 2011-13. Da Pont holds a masters’ degree in history from the University of Saskatchewan. He took over the CFIA just after serving as Commissioner of the Coast Guard; before that, he was working in the Privy Council Office, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. He is currently the Deputy Minister of Health.
Dr. Bruce Archibald, 2013-now. Dr. Archibald (Ph.D., Agriculture, Guelph University) held a number of high offices in the Ontario provincial civil service. He was serving as the President of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario when he was chosen to head the CFIA.