Cultivating Science

Learn from scientists, researchers, technicians and veterinarians about their work. Find out about their research, collaborations and innovative science activities designed to safeguard food, animals and plants, and enhance the well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy.

A student’s perspective: entomology at the CFIA

November 2023 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Kiersten DeViller

A student’s perspective: entomology at the CFIA

My name is Kiersten DeViller, and I’m in my third year studying Biology at Carleton University. I’m hoping to pursue a career in entomology - I think that insects are the most incredible group of animals. Their diverse behaviour and morphology is endlessly fascinating.

Keeping an eye on bird flu

July 2023 | Public Health Agency of Canada

Scientists from the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) National Microbiology Laboratory (NML), along with scientists from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) and Sunnybrook Research Institute, recently completed a study in animal models on the severity and transmissibility of four H5N1 strains circulating in Canada.

Introducing the Fish Health Tracker Tool

February 2023 | Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System (CAHSS) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Dr. Judy Hodge, CAHSS

Welcome to a special guest blog post highlighting a new citizen and community science initiative to protect fish species in Canada. This blog post was originally published in Healthy Wildlife, the blog of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative.

New technology to detect and identify plant diseases

January 2023 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Dr. Sean Li, Khanh Duong and Nathan Buchanan

As international trade increases, a growing number of plant diseases are threatening global agriculture and food security. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is constantly seeking ways to improve plant health while supporting Canada’s economy.

Streamlining food testing at the Dartmouth Laboratory

September 2022 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Jolette MacAulay, Gina Benedict and Kelly Duong

The Chemistry Section at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Dartmouth Laboratory in Nova Scotia is responsible for testing fish and other foods for a variety of trace elements and veterinary drug residues. Testing for a long list of compounds involves a variety of methods and instruments, and their effective operation, maintenance and troubleshooting requires specialized skills and expertise.

Global experts join together to learn about pandemic preparedness

August 2022 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Naheda Sahtout, Ph.D. and Sara Dizzell, Secretariat of the Biosafety Level 4 Zoonotic Laboratory Network (BSL4ZNet)

Ever wonder what it might be like to put on an airtight suit and walk through the interlocking bioseal doors of Canada’s highest containment laboratory in Winnipeg? Behind its doors are some of the deadliest pathogens in the world – we’re talking about Ebola virus, Hendra virus, Nipah virus and more.

Report plant pests to help protect Canada’s plant resources

August 2022 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Fedaa Khirallah and Bruno Gallant, Invasive Alien Species and Domestic Programs Section

All Canadians have a role to play in protecting plants in Canada from invasive insects and plant species. This includes reporting findings of plant pests to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Invasive plants, insects, snails, slugs and pathogens all have the potential to negatively impact Canada’s agriculture, forestry and environmental resources.

Joining forces against hemlock woolly adelgid

June 2022 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Nicole Mielewczyk and Erin Appleton, Plant Health Surveillance Unit

Many would have been discouraged by the pouring rain and cold winds that settled in southern Ontario on April 21, 2022. But a dedicated team of specialists was undeterred and eager to get to work on some important research on hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) - an aphid-like insect pest that attacks and kills hemlock trees.

Harnessing the power of spectroscopy for food safety

April 2022 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Dr. Thomas Teklemariam

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is always looking for ways to enhance food safety. Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) can provide a unique perspective on what’s in food and is extremely useful in investigations into food safety, quality and potential fraud.

The CFIA leads a new approach to One Health risk assessment for SARS-CoV-2

February 2021 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Dr. Sharon Calvin and Dr. Andrea Osborn

This past year the whole world was pulled into the life of an epidemiologist.

Epidemiologists in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) Animal Health Science Directorate are used to following infectious diseases around the world as they come and go. These emerging diseases sometimes raise the alarm for scientists in multiple countries. In some cases, when they make it into the mainstream media, family and friends express concern as well. The work of epidemiologists was at the forefront and words like the “R number” became a common household term, as the rise of the SARS-CoV-2 virus brought about a global pandemic. Despite the challenges the pandemic has placed on health systems, economics, food supply, education and mental health, it has also provided opportunities to advance science.

Emerging science fostering regulatory policy development

June 2020 | Ottawa Laboratory Carling, Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Burton Blais

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) safeguards the health of Canadians by using science to figure out what poses the greatest risk to the food supply, and conducts inspections accordingly.

CFIA scientists investigate “fruitful” technology

February 2020 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Stefanie Sultmanis, Tracy Lawrence, Brittany Day and Anithra Selvakumar

Science at CFIA is ever-growing, always changing, and constantly improving. As our science changes, the tools, techniques and infrastructure must also evolve to meet the needs of our innovative scientists across the country.

CFIA Everyday Superheroes

November 2019 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency |

Calling all superheroes! We need your help in the fight against our worst enemies.

Every day, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) protects food, animals and plants, which helps improve the health of Canada's people, environment and economy. But, we constantly need the help of brave superheroes, like you and your friends, to keep all Canadians safe.

How do we use genomics in our research on regulatory plant pathogens?

August 2019 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Guillaume Bilodeau and Emily Giroux

My kids always ask me, “Dad what is your job? What do you do at work?” My response is simple, “I work with DNA. I use DNA to identify diseases affecting plants.”

What’s in my firewood, and why should it matter?

June 2019 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Martin Damus

Ah, a nice warm fire! Gathering around campfires in the summer or a hearth in the cold winter is classically Canadian. Firewood is plentiful and who doesn’t like its cheery warm glow?

Working at the “Plant Hospital”

April 2019 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Jennifer Platts-Fanning, Shara Cody

One misty Island morning, as I climbed into a cab on my way to work, the driver asked where I was going. I responded in the Island way, simply, “the big white building with the greenhouses.” Immediately he exclaimed, “Oh, the plant hospital!” to which I replied smiling, “It does look like a hospital, but we only diagnose and we don’t treat the plants.” The work performed in the incredible building has always been a topic of rumour around our little town.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the University of Guelph collaborate to advance the next generation of scientists

January 16, 2019 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Dr. Elie Chamoun

Students know best how daunting it is to kick-start a career after graduation. For those educated in science, looking for the right place to apply their talent and skills is an exciting yet sometimes difficult endeavour. This challenge is magnified by having to decide between a vast array of science jobs on the market: industry, academia, consulting, and government. In the competitive job market of the 21st century, it takes a proactive and innovative employer to convey to students that their competencies are valued and sought after.

A glimpse into Canada’s highest containment laboratory for animal health: The National Centre for Foreign Animal Diseases

October 22, 2018 | Canadian Food Inspection Agency | by Loren Matheson, April Killikelly, Bradley Pickering

High consequence pathogens, such as those that cause hemorrhagic fevers or pandemic influenza, have the potential to significantly impact human health, animal health as well as our Canadian economy. The mandate of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) includes work on foreign animal diseases such as these in order to contribute to our country's preparedness and response planning. This work covers all aspects of risk assessment, prediction, prevention, detection as well as restoration and recovery after a potential disease outbreak.