Dundas Producer Fined $1,000 for Obstructing an Inspector
Convicted - Ian Graham
Location - Dundas, Ontario
Description of Offence - Mr. Graham refused to allow an inspector to take a sample of produce, contrary to the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001.
Date of Offence - October 4, 2017
Date of Conviction - April 10, 2018
Mr. Graham was fined $1,000 by Justice of the Peace Mitchell Baker at the Hamilton Provincial Offences Court. The court also imposed a 25 per cent Victim Fine Surcharge of $250, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
- On October 4, 2017, an inspector appointed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) attended the farm market owned and operated by Mr. Graham. The inspector requested a sample of produce from Mr. Graham. Mr. Graham refused to provide a sample. The inspector explained that not allowing an inspector to collect a sample would be considered an obstruction of the inspector. Under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001, it is an offence to obstruct an inspector while they are performing their duties. The inspector made two more efforts to collect the sample on October 4, 2017, but Mr. Graham refused to allow the collection.
- The matter was referred to OMAFRA's Agriculture Investigations Unit. An investigation by the unit showed that Mr. Graham obstructed the inspector by failing to provide a sample of produce for testing purposes.
- Ontario is a leader in food safety. The Province's Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 is part of Ontario's food safety system and contains high standards for the protection of consumers. The Act allows inspectors to examine, test, analyze, take samples of or dispose of samples of any food, agricultural or aquatic commodity, agricultural input or other thing used in carrying on a regulated activity.
- The Ministry's Food Safety Monitoring Program is a tool to assist in the detection of non-compliance. Samples are routinely collected to test for microbial organisms, agricultural chemicals, and heavy metals on or in Ontario produced foods of plant origin.
- Penalties for an individual convicted of a provincial offence under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 are set out by section 46 of the Act. An individual convicted of an offence under the Act is liable to; a fine of not more than $25,000 for a first conviction; a fine of not more than $50,000 for each subsequent conviction (for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues to occur); imprisonment for not more than two years; or both a fine and imprisonment.