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Notice of intent: Amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations for the emergency transit of regulated animals

This notice of intent is to inform stakeholders that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) intends to propose regulatory changes to the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) to allow for the emergency transit of regulated animals. These amendments will provide more flexibility and reduce the regulatory burden on affected regulated parties resulting in preservation of animal welfare during emergency situations.

Drivers for change

In 2015 and 2016, multiple emergency situations in Canada and the United States, such as wildfires, flooding and bridge failures, highlighted the need for an emergency transit policy with the United States.

In 2016, CFIA and United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS), through the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) plan, developed a joint policy for the purpose of allowing for the transit of regulated animals through both countries during emergency situations (such as natural or man-made disasters) or when routine transportation routes are impaired without feasible alternatives.

Through presentations on the RCC plan, consultations with Canadian industry stakeholders have indicated support for the joint policy.

Regulatory context

Currently, the HAR do not have any provisions for emergency situations. Under the HAR, regular trans-border movement of regulated animals between Canada and the United States require a Canadian import permit and/or a Canadian export certificate. While a simplified export certificate can be issued promptly, the issuance of an import permit creates significant challenges to implementing a timely process during an emergency situation and no provisions currently exist to allow CFIA to grant an exemption to these requirements.

Proposed changes to the Health of Animals Regulations

The proposed regulatory amendments would include provisions for import permit and export certificate requirements in special situations where animal welfare may be compromised, without increasing the risk to Canada. This would contribute to preserving animal welfare and reduce the regulatory burden on stakeholders and industry during emergency situations.

Future opportunities to comment

This notice of intent serves to advise Canadians, members of the public and stakeholders of the proposed regulatory changes to the HAR.

CFIA is currently developing the regulatory proposal and is proposing that it be brought forward for consultation through pre-publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I in spring 2020.

A public comment period of 75 days will be available for Canadians and other interested parties to provide feedback on the regulatory proposal.

Contact us

If you wish to provide any comments or have questions related to this notice, please submit them to:

Pierre Lafortune
National Manager – International Affairs Branch

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9

Telephone: (613) 773-7465

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