Description of animal traceability information

Animal traceability information is data that supports following an animal or group of animals from one point in the supply chain to another, either backwards or forwards. It is comprised of different types of information, such as: the identification number of an animal; a confirmation that an animal has been received or slaughtered at a site; the location of an animal; the license plate number of a vehicle which carried animals, and; the contact information of a person who manages a site where animals are kept.

The description of animal traceability information is recorded under a Personal Information Bank (record number PPB 033).

Usage of animal traceability information

Animal traceability information required to be reported to responsible administrators under Part XV of the Health of Animals Regulations is used to administer the livestock identification and traceability program, which assists in protecting animals and identifying diseases and toxic substances that may affect animals and persons; and to verify compliance and enforce the livestock identification and traceability requirements under the Health of Animals Act and Regulations.

Elements of the animal traceability information are deemed personal information, i.e. information that on its own or combined with other pieces of data, can identify an individual. As such, animal traceability information is subject to the Privacy Act, the law that governs the personal information handling practices of federal government institutions, such as the CFIA. The Act applies to all of the personal information the federal government collects, uses and discloses – be it about individuals or federal employees.

As required under the Privacy Act, the CFIA has conducted a privacy impact assessment of animal traceability information in order to identify potential privacy risks.

Disclosure of animal traceability information

The conditions when personal information under the control of a government institution, such as the CFIA, may be disclosed are described under the Privacy Act. Examples of when animal traceability information may be disclosed are:

  • to inspectors of the CFIA for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled by the CFIA, e.g. to administer the livestock identification and traceability program;
  • to inspectors of a provincial government that signed a data sharing agreement with the CFIA for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled by the CFIA, and;
  • to an investigative body specified in the regulations (e.g. the RCMP), on the written request of the body, for the purpose of enforcing any law of Canada or a province or carrying out a lawful investigation, if the request specifies the purpose and describes the information to be disclosed.
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