Framework for Implementing and Maintaining the Arrangement between the CFIA and the USDA for the Recognition of Foreign Animal Disease Control and Eradication Zones

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Table of Contents

The CFIA is inviting stakeholders to comment on this framework - (Archived) until August 31, 2014.

Background and Scope

Overview

The United States' President Barack Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper created the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) in 2011 as a mechanism to promote regulatory cooperation and facilitate trade, with resulting benefits for industry and consumers. The RCC provides a forum for increased stakeholder engagement in determining priorities and optimizing resources.

The initial RCC Joint Action Plan outlined 29 initiatives, including Zoning for Foreign Animal Diseases. This initiative prioritized federal efforts to look at ways for Canada and the United States to recognize each other's zoning decisions in the event of a foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak, with the intent to formalize mechanisms to minimize trade disruptions due to the outbreak while safeguarding animal health in both countries.

Zoning principles

The United States and Canada both have highly contagious FAD (HCFAD) response plans in place that are based on internationally accepted zoning principles. The plans call for establishment of an area of control that consists of a central infected zone surrounded by one or more additional zones. The infected zone is the focus of efforts to eradicate the disease, while the entire area of control is subject to increased surveillance for the disease agent and increased movement restrictions on animals and other commodities that could transmit the disease agent.

The size of an area of control would depend on multiple factors, including the characteristics of the disease agent and transmission pathways; estimates of transmission risk; livestock concentrations and movement patterns; distribution of susceptible wildlife; and natural terrain and jurisdictional boundaries. An area of control may initially be quite large relative to the apparent distribution of cases, particularly if the consequences of failing to contain the disease agent are high. The affected country may elect to modify or redefine the boundaries of an area of control during the course of an outbreak.

The territory outside of an area of control is considered free of the disease. The claim to freedom is largely substantiated by demonstrating through epidemiological investigation and movement tracing that the outbreak is contained within the area of control. The affected country may also elect to increase active or passive surveillance for the disease agent in the disease-free zone.

Zoning for HCFADs

The United States and Canada entered into an Arrangement between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture for the Recognition of Foreign Animal Disease Control and Eradication Zones (hereafter Arrangement) in October 2012 (see Appendix 1). The intent of the Arrangement is to facilitate recognition by USDA and CFIA of each other's decisions to establish, maintain, and release an area of control. The Arrangement is based on reciprocal evaluations of veterinary infrastructure and emergency response capacity which concluded that both countries can effectively use zoning to control and eradicate an FAD outbreak (see Appendices 2 and 3).

The Framework for Implementing and Maintaining the Arrangement between the CFIA and the USDA for the Recognition of Foreign Animal Disease Control and Eradication Zones (hereafter Framework) is restricted in scope to HCFAD outbreaks in domestic livestock and does not apply to endemic diseases or to aquatic species, pets, wildlife, or laboratory or research animals. It provides an operational plan for USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and CFIA to implement the Arrangement during an HCFAD outbreak, establishes processes for maintaining the Arrangement over time, and outlines a strategy to engage governmental and non-governmental stakeholders in developing the means and mindset to effectively implement the Arrangement during an HCFAD outbreak.

Objectives

  • Establish an operational plan for APHIS and CFIA to recognize each other's zoning decisions for HCFADs in accordance with the Arrangement;
  • Institute a structure for maintaining the Arrangement over the long term; and
  • Elaborate a strategy for engaging APHIS and CFIA with other stakeholders to develop and maintain the means and mindset necessary to effectively implement the Arrangement during an HCFAD outbreak and minimize cross-border trade disruptions.

Guiding Principles and Approaches

  1. Shared responsibility: Preparing for and limiting the negative impacts of an HCFAD outbreak in either the United States or Canada is a concern shared by APHIS, CFIA, and other Federal, State, Provincial, Tribal, and non-governmental stakeholders. It is therefore necessary to establish mechanisms to:
    • Engage CFIA and APHIS with other stakeholders to cooperatively develop the means and mindset to effectively implement the Arrangement during an HCFAD outbreak;
    • Support joint priority setting and harmonized work planning; and
    • Enhance efficiency through optimization of resources at multiple levels.
  2. Cooperation: An on-going cooperative effort between CFIA, APHIS, and other stakeholders in both countries is necessary to maintain the Arrangement over the long term. It is the intent of CFIA and APHIS to:
    • Develop a governance structure and forums to support the sustained effort; and
    • Create an environment in which openness, sharing, and consensus building are encouraged.
  3. Credibility: In-depth knowledge of and trust in FAD management practices in both countries is critical to the credibility of the Arrangement among stakeholders and supports good decision-making during an HCFAD outbreak. It is therefore necessary to:
    • Ensure that the Framework remains current and based on internationally accepted principles of risk assessment and risk management;
    • Engage with stakeholders to develop and carry out projects to build support and acceptance of the Arrangement.

Definitions

Affected country:
A country within which an HCFAD outbreak occurs.
Area of control:
A geographic region designed to contain an FAD outbreak. The area of control consists of a central infected zone surrounded by one or more additional zones. Area of control as used by APHIS is synonymous with Control Area. Area of control as used by CFIA consists of the Primary Control Zone and the Secondary Control Zone. Area of control also applies to the Disease Control and Eradication Zone as referenced by the Arrangement.
Arrangement:
The Arrangement between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture for the Recognition of Foreign Animal Disease Control and Eradication Zones (see Appendix 1).
Canada:
All ten provinces and 3 territories of Canada.
Case:
Occurrence of an HCFAD agent in an animal.
Domestic livestock:
Domestic livestock are those animals that are either bred to be dependent on or are under the control of humans, such as cattle, bison, captive cervids, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, and poultry. For the purposes of this Framework, domestic livestock does not include laboratory or research animals, pets, or aquatic species.
Disease-free zone:
A geographic region not included in any area of control. Disease-free zone is synonymous with Free Area as used by APHIS and Free Zone as used by CFIA.
Foreign animal disease (FAD):
An existing or emerging animal disease that poses a severe threat to animal health, the economy, and/or human health, is not usually present in a partner country and, if detected, is subject to federally-mandated control and eradication measures.
Framework:
The Framework for Implementing and Maintaining the Arrangement between the CFIA and the USDA for the Recognition of Foreign Animal Disease Control and Eradication Zones (this document).
Highly contagious FAD:
An FAD that has the ability to spread in an extremely rapid manner.
Outbreak:
One or more cases of an HCFAD.
Partner country:
A country that is a signatory to the Arrangement.
Project:
A specific activity, plan, or task led by the Working Group under this Framework.
Stakeholder:
Any person or other entity that is or could be affected by the Arrangement or its implementation, or that otherwise has an interest in the Arrangement or its implementation.
Stamping out:
Carrying out under the authority of the veterinary services, on confirmation of the occurrence of a disease, the destruction of the animals that are infected and those suspected of being infected in the herd and, where appropriate, those in other herds that have been exposed to the disease agent by direct animal to animal contact, or by indirect contact of a kind likely to cause transmission of the disease agent.
United States:
All of the States of the United States, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and all other Territories and Possessions of the United States.
World Organization for Animal Health (OIE):
An international organization dedicated to improving animal health worldwide.
Zoning:
Defining a sub-population of animals on the basis of a distinct health status and geographic boundaries within a country's territory, for the purposes of disease control and international trade.

Part I - Implementing the Arrangement during an Outbreak

1. Legal Authority

This section describes the legal authority in Canada and the United States to make zoning decisions for the control and eradication of an HCFAD and recognize the zoning decisions made by appropriate authorities in the other country.

1.1 United States

APHIS receives its permanent and general regulatory authority from the Animal Health Protection Act (AHPA), 7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq. The AHPA authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to take actions necessary to prevent, detect, control, and eradicate diseases of animals, including FADs, in order to protect animal health, the health and welfare of people, economic interests of livestock and related industries, the environment, and interstate and foreign commerce in animals and other articles. Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 371, delegates this authority down to the Deputy Administrator of Veterinary Services.

APHIS and CFIA recognize the APHIS Deputy Administrator of Veterinary Services - who is also the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) of the United States - as the appropriate authority to make zoning decisions for the United States and to recognize zoning decisions made by Canada.

1.2 Canada

The CFIA's statutory authority for control of reportable HCFADs is contained in the Health of Animals Act of 1990 (the Act). The CFIA applies the Actand pursuant regulations - including the Health of Animals Regulations, the Reportable Diseases Regulations, and the Compensation for Destroyed Animals Regulations - to regulate animal health and zoonotic disease. The Act provides, among other things, for CFIA control over importation and exportation of animals, quarantine of infected places, and regulation of animal movement.

Under the Act, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada may declare an area to be a primary control zone for a particular disease, and may subsequently declare one or more secondary control zones. The CFIA provides advice to the Minister on zoning decisions and is responsible for enforcing Ministerial declarations in accordance with the Act and pursuant regulations.

The CFIA and APHIS recognize the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as the appropriate authority to make zoning decisions within Canada and the CVO of Canada as the appropriate authority to recognize zoning decisions made by the United States.

2. Procedures for Recognition of Zoning Decisions

2.1 Notification of HCFAD Confirmation

The United States and Canada will notify each other of any and all confirmed detections of an HCFAD in domestic livestock. An initial communication between CVOs will help to ensure that each organization is sensitized to the ramifications of any public announcements and notification of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Additional communications will occur between the corresponding import/export, emergency response, and public affairs staffs of each country as necessary. A timely courtesy communication will occur if an HCFAD is detected in pets or wildlife.

The partner country may initially take appropriate action to safeguard animal health in its territory by prohibiting the importation of any animals and commodities that could transmit the disease agent. The extent of the import restrictions may range from a single state or province to the entire country, depending on the disease agent, the apparent magnitude of the outbreak, and other epidemiological factors. The affected country will notify the partner country when an area of control is established (see Section 2.2).

During the outbreak response period, the CVO of the affected country will immediately communicate to the CVO of the partner country any occurrence of the disease outside of an area of control. The partner country may place additional import restrictions until such time as a new area of control is established and reported to the partner country by the CVO of the affected country in accordance with the procedures outlined in Section 2.2.

2.2 Notification and Recognition of an Area of Control

Using the form in Appendix 4, the CVO of the affected country will notify the CVO of the partner country when an area of control is established in the affected country. The form requests information concerning the disease agent, the outbreak(s), and the response policy, as well as a detailed map and description of the area of control boundaries. The CVO of the affected country must certify that the information provided is accurate and complete, and extend an invitation for one or more qualified staff members of the partner country to embed in and monitor the outbreak response (see Section 3).

The CVO of the partner country will review the information provided, countersign the form in the space provided, and return a copy to the CVO of the affected country. S/he will also ensure prompt modification of pertinent import restrictions so that trade between disease-free zones can occur as described in Section 5.

The CVO of the affected country will notify the CVO of the partner country of any modifications to the boundaries of an area of control during the response period, using the form in Appendix 4.

2.3 Release of an Area of Control

The United States and Canada intend to conduct surveillance in a manner consistent with OIE disease-specific guidelines as described in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code prior to release of restrictions on an area of control. The CVO of the affected country will notify the CVO of the partner country when restrictions on an area of control are released, using the form in Appendix 4. Once the CVO of the partner country countersigns to officially recognize the release, s/he will ensure that pertinent remaining import restrictions are lifted promptly.

2.4 Extenuating Circumstances

Canada and the United States anticipate that most HCFAD outbreaks will be small, focal, and well within the resources of the affected country to contain. However, in rare instances, a widespread, multi-focal, or rapidly progressing HCFAD outbreak may temporarily overwhelm the resources of the affected country and negatively impact its ability to contain the disease agent through zoning. Should this happen, the CVO of the affected country will contact the CVO of the partner country to initiate monitoring as described in Section 3, but will not request recognition of an area of control until two incubation periods have elapsed in which no new cases have occurred outside of the infected zone. If recognition is requested earlier, the CVO of the partner country may elect not to countersign until this time period has elapsed or s/he otherwise determines that the area of control is effectively established.

3. Monitoring During an Outbreak

Both APHIS and CFIA have adopted the Incident Command System (ICS) organizational structure and processes to manage animal health incidents. The CVO of the affected country will invite the CVO of the partner country to nominate one or more qualified staff members to observe the emergency response, to communicate, liaise, collaborate or offer expert advice and technical support as appropriate. These staff members may be assigned as Agency Representatives reporting to the Liaison Officer on the ICS Command Staff, as Liaisons to the Multiagency Coordination Group, or to a similar position. Regardless, they will participate in briefings, routinely receive briefing materials/notifications, and act as liaisons for the partner country.

4. Communications

Each country will follow the internal and external communication procedures established in its own emergency response plans, guidelines, manuals, and/or standard operating procedures in the event of an HCFAD outbreak within its territory. Each country will also follow procedures established by pertinent APHIS and CFIA staff to communicate import restrictions to the ports, industry, states and provinces, and other stakeholders, and address questions about the Arrangement and trade with disease-free zones in the affected country. APHIS and CFIA public affairs staff will coordinate their activities to ensure consistency of the message.

5. Trade Between Disease-free Zones

Prior to establishment and recognition of an area of control, the extent of trade will be governed by the movement restrictions put in place by the affected country and the import restrictions enacted by the partner country. Once the CVO of the partner country officially recognizes an area of control within the affected country, normal trade may resume from the disease-free zone. Export health certificates for any animals and commodities that could be infected with or contaminated by the disease agent must state that the animal or commodity did not reside in or pass through an established area of control.

Part II - Maintaining the Arrangement

Maintaining the Arrangement requires both a governance structure designed to keep the Arrangement and underlying evaluations current over time and ongoing projects and other activities designed to foster credibility of the Arrangement among all stakeholders.

1. Governance

1.1 Steering Committee

A Steering Committee will have primary responsibility for preserving the concept and intent of the Arrangement and promoting the engagement and active participation of stakeholders in its implementation. The Steering Committee will be composed of senior-level representatives of APHIS and CFIA and will have the authority and responsibility to approve resources for use under this Framework, oversee the Working Group, and make determinations regarding Working Group recommendations on projects, the Arrangement, this Framework, and other matters.

Proposed Terms of Reference for the Steering Committee are provided in Appendix 5.

1.2 Working Group

A Working Group will have primary responsibility for reaching out to other stakeholders, primarily through a series of projects, to cooperatively develop the means and mindset to effectively implement the Arrangement, in advance of an HCFAD outbreak. The Working Group will be responsible for keeping the document supporting the Arrangement current, including this Framework, the evaluations, and the Arrangement itself.

The Working Group will be composed of individuals from CFIA and APHIS who have appropriate and complementary professional, technical, or specialist skills. This includes, but is not limited to, subject matter experts in regionalization, emergency preparedness and response, import/export, and other disciplines as required.

Proposed Terms of Reference for the Working Group are provided in Appendix 6.

2. Projects

In the context of this Framework, a project is a specific activity, plan, or task in support of emergency preparedness, led by the Working Group to foster credibility and facilitate implementation of the Arrangement. The Working Group will identify projects in consultation with other stakeholders (see Part III), taking into account existing venues and opportunities (joint training, cross-border exercises, etc.).

Other stakeholders are encouraged to conduct their own activities in support of zoning recognition, coordinating and collaborating with the Working Group as appropriate.

Current, proposed, and completed Working Group projects are listed in Appendix 7.

3. Resource Considerations

Projects conducted under this Framework will require commitment and dedication of resources by both Canada and the United States in order to be successful. This Framework does not impose specific resource obligations on either country; however, each country will be responsible for the costs incurred in each party's interest related to the support of the Arrangement. In addition, completion of projects is contingent on resource availability.

Part III - Promoting Stakeholder Awareness and Involvement

1. Consultation and Engagement with Stakeholders

The active involvement of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders in both Canada and the United States is critical to the success of this RCC initiative. APHIS and CFIA plan to solicit stakeholder input in implementing and maintaining the Arrangement and share that information through public meetings on RCC activities and accomplishments.

Decisions on Working Group projects and priorities will be made by the Steering Committee, taking into account the views of stakeholders. The Working Group will determine the best mechanism to ensure stakeholders are provided with progress updates and opportunities for input on projects and priorities.

2. Target Audience of Stakeholders

The target audience of stakeholders will include but is not limited to several categories of interested groups and individuals, both in the United States and in Canada. The list below is not comprehensive but merely serves as guidance for the outreach efforts of the Steering Committee and Working Group.

Target Audience

  • Livestock and meat trade associations
  • Livestock farmers' associations
  • Federal, State, Tribal, and Provincial animal health officials
  • Tribal and Aboriginal groups
  • Other public officials/agencies
  • General public

3. Annual Consultation on Projects and Priorities

The CFIA and APHIS will formally solicit feedback at least once per year on existing Working Group projects and priorities. The agencies will also solicit proposals for additional projects for consideration under this Framework. This will occur via a mechanism such as a webinar, joint town hall meeting, Federal Register Notice, or e-mail solicitation (such as through the APHIS Stakeholder Registry) and will take place prior to the annual Steering Committee meeting.

4. Communication/Consultation

In addition to the annual stakeholder consultation on projects and priorities, the Working Group Co-chairs will coordinate ongoing stakeholder engagement through appropriate modes of communication, such as webinars, conference calls, face-to-face meetings, internet notices, or other means necessary to solicit input and provide updates on projects and priorities.

APHIS and CFIA will also provide updates on projects that are carried out under this Framework to other stakeholders using established forums such as Cross-Border Livestock Health Association meetings, national and regional United States Animal Health Association meetings, and the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council.

5. Frequency of Communication

Frequency of communication will depend on both the needs of individual projects and the degree of stakeholder participation and interest.

Appendix 1: Zoning Arrangement

Arrangement between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture for the Recognition of Foreign Animal Disease Control and Eradication Zones

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture, hereinafter referred to as the "Participants",

Wishing, in order to prevent or minimize the risk of introduction of highly contagious Foreign Animal Diseases (FAD) into the territories of their countries and to minimize disruption of trade, to conclude an Arrangement for recognition of FAD control and eradication zones,

Considering that such arrangement is supported by reciprocal evaluations of Canada and the United States which concluded that each country has sufficient veterinary infrastructure and emergency response capacity to contain and eradicate an FAD outbreak via zoning,

Have come to the following understanding:

1. Objective

The objective of this Arrangement is to establish parameters whereby the Participants recognize each other's zoning decisions in the event of a highly contagious FAD outbreak in either or both countries.

2. General Guidelines
  1. In the event of a highly contagious FAD outbreak in either or both countries, each Participant intends to accept the decisions of the other Participant to establish, maintain, or release a disease control and eradication zone.
  2. The Participant whose country is affected by the outbreak should ensure an appropriate standstill of movement of animals and other commodities and adopt a stamping-out policy or another effective control strategy aimed at minimizing the duration of the FAD outbreak.
  3. The Participant whose country is affected by the outbreak should provide a written description of the disease control and eradication zone(s) to the other Participant, in particular the zone boundaries, and provide additional information on specific control and eradication measures upon request.
  4. The Participants understand that continuation or resumption of trade with areas of the affected country located outside of the disease control and eradication zone(s) should be contingent upon provision of relevant epidemiological information and may be subject to additional testing and/or certification requirements.
  5. The Participants intend to establish a guidance framework for implementation, including high-level processes to ensure bilateral communication of changes to veterinary infrastructure and FAD response measures that could impact this Arrangement.
3. Final Dispositions
  1. This Arrangement is intended to take effect on the date of its last signature by the Participants and to remain in effect for 5 years. It should automatically be extended for another 5 years unless a Participant gives written notice to the other its intent to cease its activities under this Arrangement.
  2. Either Participant may cease its activities under this Arrangement at any time by giving a written notice to the other Participant.
  3. The Participants may amend this Arrangement by mutual consent in writing.

Signed in duplicate at Greensboro, N.C. U.S.A on this 22nd day of October 2012, in the English and French languages, each version being equally valid.

For the Canadian Food
Inspection Agency
Dr. Francine Lord

For the United States
Department of Agriculture
Dr. John Clifford

Appendix 2: APHIS Evaluation of Zoning for Foreign Animal Disease Control in Canada

Available upon request

Appendix 3: CFIA Evaluation of Zoning for Foreign Animal Disease Control in the U.S.

Available upon request

Appendix 4: CVO-CVO Notification Form

Available upon request

Appendix 5: Proposed Terms of Reference-Steering Committee

Overview

The United States and Canada entered into an Arrangement between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture for the Recognition of Foreign Animal Disease Control and Eradication Zones (hereafter Arrangement) in October 2012 (see Appendix 1). In support of the Arrangement, a Framework for Implementing and Maintaining the Arrangement between the CFIA and the USDA for the Recognition of Foreign Animal Disease Control and Eradication Zones (hereafter Framework) was jointly developed by a bilateral working group. The Framework describes a governance structure that consists of a Steering Committee and a Working Group that is designed to keep the Arrangement and underlying evaluations current over time.

Purpose and Scope

The Steering Committee will have primary responsibility for preserving the concept and intent of the Arrangement and promoting the engagement and active participation of stakeholders in its implementation.

Membership

The Steering Committee is composed of senior-level representatives of APHIS and CFIA, appointed to the Steering Committee by the head of their respective Agency. Co-chairs are also appointed by each Agency.

Responsibilities

The Steering Committee has primary responsibility for preserving the concept and intent of the Arrangement and promoting the engagement and active participation of stakeholders in its implementation.

The Steering Committee has the authority and responsibility to:

  • Appoint Working Group Co-chairs;
  • Maintain corporate memory of the Arrangement;
  • Prioritize projects appropriate to this Framework;
  • Review and approve, as appropriate, Working Group project work plans;
  • Support the Working Group and foster participation of Working Group members in bilateral discussions to explore areas for collaboration and cooperation;
  • Secure resources for completion of projects;
  • Request progress and other reports from the Working Group Co-chairs;
  • Make determinations regarding Working Group recommendations, including recommendations to amend the Arrangement or this Framework; and
  • Decide on, and take or task to the Working Group, further actions as necessary to ensure effective implementation of the Arrangement.

Administration

The Steering Committee will meet annually and will communicate as necessary throughout the year. Additional meetings may be convened at the request of any Steering Committee member. The time and place for the meetings will be determined by the Steering Committee Co-chairs.

Guidance

  • In Canada, guidance will be provided by the Senior Management Committee of the CFIA with input from the Animal Health Business Line Committee, particularly the animal health executive directors in Science, Programs and Operations.
  • In the United States, guidance will be provided by the Veterinary Services (VS) Executive Team with input from the VS Leaders Working Group, particularly the pertinent directors from the National Import Export Services and the Surveillance, Preparedness and Response Services.

Reporting

  • In Canada, to the Senior Management Committee of the CFIA and to the Regulatory Cooperation Council group within CFIA.
  • In the United States, to the Veterinary Services Executive Team and to the Regulatory Cooperation Council group within APHIS.

Communications

  • The Steering Committee will meet at the call of the Co-chairs, but at least once annually;
  • Decisions will be recorded and the record made available to all Steering Committee members and the Working Group Co-chairs;
  • The Steering Committee Co-chairs will communicate Committee recommendations and decisions to the entities to which they report, the Working Group Co-chairs, and others as appropriate;
  • Steering Committee reports and other formal communications will be reviewed by the Committee Co-chairs and approved by the Committee Members as necessary.

Governance

  • Decision-making in the Steering Committee will be by consensus.
  • Tasks will be shared among Committee members or delegated to the Working Group.

Relationships

To be developed by the Steering Committee but may include other Regulatory Cooperation Council/Beyond the Borders initiatives,

Amendments

Amendments to this document may be made by consensus of the Steering Committee members.

Appendix 6: Proposed Terms of Reference - Working Group

Overview

The United States and Canada entered into an Arrangement between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture for the Recognition of Foreign Animal Disease Control and Eradication Zones (hereafter Arrangement) in October 2012 (see Appendix 1). In support of the Arrangement, a Framework for Implementing and Maintaining the Arrangement between the CFIA and the USDA for the Recognition of Foreign Animal Disease Control and Eradication Zones (hereafter Framework) was jointly developed by a bilateral working group. The Framework describes a governance structure that consists of a Steering Committee and a Working Group that is designed to keep the Arrangement and underlying evaluations current over time.

Purpose and Scope

A Working Group will have primary responsibility for reaching out to other stakeholders to cooperatively develop the means and mindset to effectively implement the Arrangement during an HCFAD outbreak. The Working Group will be responsible for keeping the document supporting the Arrangement current, including this Framework, the evaluations, and the Arrangement itself.

Membership

The Working Group is composed of individuals from CFIA and APHIS who have appropriate and complementary professional, technical, or specialist skills. This includes, but is not limited to, subject matter experts in regionalization, emergency preparedness and response, import/export, and other disciplines as required. The Steering Committee will appoint a Co-chair from each Agency.

Responsibilities

The Working Group is collectively responsible for:

  • Regularly updating the evaluations that support the Arrangement, assessing the impact of any changes in veterinary infrastructure or emergency management procedures on zoning capability, and recommending amendments to the Arrangement to the Steering Committee as appropriate;
  • Periodically reviewing this Framework and recommending amendments to the Framework to the Steering Committee as appropriate;
  • Identifying projects to build knowledge of and trust in the Arrangement among stakeholders and facilitate zoning recognition during an HCFAD outbreak; and
  • Establishing mechanisms to engage APHIS and CFIA with other Federal, State, Provincial, Tribal, and non-governmental stakeholders on an ongoing basis as regards implementation of the Arrangement.

The Working Group Co-chairs have the authority and responsibility to:

  • Recommend potential Working Group members to the Steering Committee;
  • Prepare and maintain a work plan for each project;
  • Appoint ad-hoc groups to work on projects as appropriate;
  • Promote stakeholder awareness of and involvement in projects;
  • Deliver projects according to plan;
  • Document the activities, milestones, and deliverables;
  • Manage project resources;
  • Produce the project deliverables for approval by the Steering Committee; and
  • Prepare update reports on projects, Working Group meetings, and other activities as requested by the Steering Committee.

Additionally, the Working Group Co-chairs will ensure that the Working Group meets at least annually to review the Arrangement and this Framework. The Co-chairs will communicate to the Steering Committee any resulting recommendations for amendments to either document.

The co-chairs will ensure that the evaluations supporting the Arrangement are reviewed at least annually and updated as appropriate. Each co-chair will immediately inform the other co-chair of any changes to federal-level veterinary infrastructure or emergency management procedures of which s/he becomes aware that could substantially impact zoning capability or the ability to implement the Arrangement (e.g., veterinary services reorganization or new response plans). The co-chairs will together determine whether to convene a meeting of the Working Group to further discuss and assess the impact of the changes.

Each co-chair will provide a summary of other changes to federal-level veterinary infrastructure or emergency management procedures (e.g., annual variation in staff or budget) to the other co-chair one month prior to the annual meeting of the Working Group.

The co-chairs will ensure that the Working Group meets at least annually to review existing projects and identify new projects to foster knowledge of and trust in the Arrangement.

Administration

The Working Group will meet at least annually but the Co-chairs may call additional meeting to fulfill the responsibilities of the Group. The Working Group Co-chairs will provide support for Working Group conference call/meeting arrangements, developing agendas and minutes for these meetings, and managing information pertaining to Working Group functions.

Guidance

  • The bilateral Steering Committee will oversee the work of the Working Group.
  • In Canada, guidance will be provided by the Animal Health Business Line Committee, particularly the animal health executive directors in Science, Programs and Operations.
  • In the United States, guidance will be provided by the VS Leaders Working Group, particularly pertinent directors from the National Import Export Services and the Surveillance, Preparedness and Response Services.

Reporting

  • Working Group Co-chairs to report to APHIS and CFIA Co-chairs on the Steering Committee.

Communications

  • The Working Group will meet at the call of the Co-chairs, but at least once annually.
  • Discussions and decisions will be recorded and the record made available to all Working Group members.
  • The Working Group Co-chairs will communicate formal recommendations to the Steering Committee Co-chairs and others as appropriate.
  • Working Group communications with other entities will be reviewed by the Working Group Co-chairs and approved by the other members as necessary.

Governance

  • Decision-making in the Working Group will be by consensus.
  • Tasks will be shared among the Working Group members.

Relationships

  • Maintain linkages with other Regulatory Cooperation Council/Beyond the Border initiatives to ensure consistency with other animal health initiatives.
  • Develop and maintain engagement with other Federal, State, Provincial, Tribal, and non-governmental stakeholders through a variety of forums.

Amendments

  • Amendments to this document may be made by consensus of the Working Group members.

Appendix 7: Working Group Projects

Proposed projects as of 1 November 2013:

  • Incorporate zoning recognition into current APHIS and CFIA FAD response plans and related documents to ensure it is considered during training exercises and an FAD outbreak.
  • Each country to develop and share documentation on procedures that it plans to use during an HCFAD outbreak to confirm freedom from disease in the disease-free zone(s).
  • Revise APHIS and CFIA import/export certificate language to reflect zoning provisions.
  • Develop a protocol for rapidly evaluating the economic impacts of resuming trade following an Extenuating Circumstances (Framework Section 2.4) outbreak.
  • Joint participation of Canada and the United States in cross-border FAD exercises that include zoning recognition and early re-opening of the international border to trade between disease-free zones.
  • Joint participation of CFIA and APHIS technical specialists in training on FAD response and zoning recognition.
  • On-going discussion of various outbreak scenarios to estimate consequences and outcomes, to inform decision-making on zoning recognition.
  • Preparation by each partner country of technical documents and talking points that address questions that may be raised about trade with disease-free zones in the affected country.
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