The Tribunal is a federal quasi-judicial administrative tribunal and has exclusive jurisdiction to determine all matters relating to the validity of administrative monetary penalties imposed for violations in the agriculture and agri-food sector. The process begins upon receiving a request for review and ends once the Tribunal makes a decision.

The Tribunal falls within the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s portfolio and is composed of four members, nominated by the Governor in Council, and whose decision-making role is achieved independently. The Chairperson is also responsible for liaising with the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada to ensure that the Tribunal is provided with the administrative support necessary to fulfil its legislative mandate.

In January 2019, the Tribunal’s jurisdiction was significantly expanded with the coming into force of the Safe Food for Canadians Act and its Regulations, which apply to all food products. With these changes, the Tribunal now adjudicates cases related to more than 320 new violations created to improve Canada’s food safety monitoring systems.

In February 2020, the coming into force of some amendments to Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations also added 81 new violations under the Tribunal’s jurisdiction. These legislative changes aim to improve animal welfare and reduce transport-related suffering during loading, confinement and unloading.

As a result of its new jurisdiction, the Tribunal will deal with complex legal issues including:

  • Trade
  • Licensing regimes
  • Preventive control measures
  • Traceability
  • Food fraud
  • Packaging
  • Labelling
  • Organic products
  • Animal welfare