Livestock identification and traceability program (TRACE) – Regulatory update

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants to enhance the health and well-being of Canadians, the environment and economy.

Livestock traceability is the ability to follow an animal or group of animals during all stages of its life. There are 3 main pillars to livestock traceability systems:

  • identification of livestock with an approved indicator
  • identification of premises where livestock are kept, assembled or disposed of
  • reporting events related to livestock such as movement of animals from one premises to another

The objective of the livestock traceability system is to provide timely, accurate and relevant information to reduce the impacts of a disease outbreak, food safety issue or natural disasters originating from and/or affecting livestock.

The Livestock Identification and Traceability Program (TRACE) has been administered jointly by CFIA and industry since 2001. The program is regulated and enforced under Part XV of the Health of Animals Regulations, made under the authority of the Health of Animals Act.

This update aims to provide an overview of progress on proposed amendments to Part XV of the federal Health of Animals Regulations (hereafter referred to the "Regulations") that pertains to livestock identification and traceability.

Industry and government working together towards full traceability

Over the last decade, industry and government representatives have been working together to develop strategies and action plans for moving livestock traceability initiatives forward in Canada. This hard work and effort has resulted in regulatory requirements for identifying and reporting the slaughter of cattle, bison, sheep and pigs, as well as reporting the movement of pigs. These activities help to safeguard the health and safety of livestock and the food supply chain.

Consultations with industry and provinces identified some gaps and opportunities to improve the livestock traceability system in Canada. Feedback received set the foundation for changes being proposed to the Regulations. The objective of the proposed regulatory amendments is to address the gaps previously identified during consultations in 2013 and 2015.

Who will be impacted by the proposed changes to the Regulations

Persons who own or have care of cattle, bison, sheep, pigs or farmed wild boars (for example, operators of a farm, auction, assembly yard, fairground, abattoir, rendering plant) are already subject to traceability requirements under the Regulations. In addition to those persons, the proposed regulatory amendment would also apply to persons who own or have care of goats and farmed deer and elk. The requirements would apply to all operations regardless of size.

What are some of the changes being proposed

The proposed livestock traceability regulation amendments will align with livestock identification and traceability requirements already adopted by provincial and territorial governments. Some of the changes under the proposed amendments are:

  • identification requirements for goat, farmed deer, and elk thereby broadening the scope of activities and animals that are subject to traceability requirements
  • with some exemptions, the domestic movement of animals for all regulated species will be required to be reported
  • the allowable time to report the movement or death of animals to the responsible administrator will be reduced to seven (7) days from 30 days
  • certain information will be required to accompany a load of animals and/or animal carcasses being transported:
    • the format/media on which the information should be provided will not be prescribed within the Regulations, but could include paper or electronic forms
    • this federal requirement would not apply for species where similar provincial regulatory requirement already exist
    • to support transporters with compliance in provinces that do not currently require any movement documentation, a voluntary movement document template would be made available
  • persons who own or have the care of livestock would be required to provide the premises identification number for the location where approved indicators are applied to their animals
    • should the animals be moved to a new location, outside of the farm operation, the premises identification number for the destination location would also need to be provided
    • a premises identified by a provincial or territorial government will not be required to be re-identified through the proposed federal Regulations

When are the proposed changes expected to come into effect

The proposed Regulations are expected to be published in winter or spring 2020. Following the publication of the proposed Regulations in Part I of the Canada Gazette, stakeholders will have 75 days to review and provide comment.

CFIA will review and consider all comments received prior to finalizing the regulation amendments and publishing them in Part II of the Canada Gazette. Once published in Part II of the Canada Gazette, the Regulations will be considered final and immediately come into force.

Regulatory Implementation Committee

An industry-government Regulatory Implementation Committee has been formed with the objective to collaboratively identify and prioritize actions to help prepare for a smooth implementation of proposed amendments to the Regulations. Current priorities of this committee include:

  • coordinating communications with provinces, industry and those who will be subject to the Regulations
  • developing a template for collecting information to accompany the movement of animals that can be used in the absence of a provincially regulated document or manifest
  • verifying that databases are ready for the collection of domestic movement information for all regulated species; and
  • informing and training inspectors and front line staff on the new requirements

The focus of this committee leading up to publication of the draft regulation amendment in Canada Gazette (Part I) will be communications with regulated parties so that they are aware of the proposed changes and what it will mean for them and their business when the new Regulations come into force.

Regulatory Implementation Committee Members

  • Agri-Traçabilité Québec
  • Canadian Bison Association
  • Canadian Cattlemen's Association
  • Canadian Cattle Identification Agency
  • Canadian Cervid Alliance
  • Canadian National Goat Federation
  • Canadian Pork Council / PigTrace
  • Canadian Sheep Federation
  • Dairy Farmers of Canada
  • Provinces of:
    • British Columbia
    • Alberta
    • Saskatchewan
    • Manitoba
    • Ontario
    • Quebec
    • Nova Scotia
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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