What we heard report – Canada Gazette Part I consultation on the proposed amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations – Hatcheries and Supply Flocks
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) proposed Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) – Hatcheries and Supply Flocks are part of a multi-year initiative to respond to industry changes.
The proposed amendments would repeal the Hatchery Regulations and the Hatchery Exclusion Regulations and combine all requirements into the HAR along with HAR's section 79 and Schedule VI – Serological Test Schedule for Primary Breeding Flocks.
The proposed regulatory changes will target hatcheries that produce products that ultimately end up in the human food chain (meat, table eggs, and balut). They will also expand the scope of disease testing requirements to include zoonotic Salmonella, and have the flexibility to add other diseases if a situation arises that requires such action.
Furthermore, the proposed regulations will use the following modern regulatory tools:
- incorporation by reference (IBR) of 2 documents outside of the proposed amendments
- outcome-based provisions through the use of a preventive control plan (PCP).
This report summarizes the feedback received during the 6.5 month comment period (March 14 to September 30, 2020) that followed the pre-publication of the proposed amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations – Hatcheries and Supply Flocks in Canada Gazette, Part I (CG I). Respondents' views don't reflect those of the CFIA, or of the Government of Canada.
- the CFIA pre-published the proposed amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations – Hatcheries and Supply Flocks in CG I on March 14, 2020, for a 60-day comment period that would have ended on May 12, 2020.
- the comment period was extended due to COVID-19 and by industry request. It ended on September 30, 2020.
- during the comment period, the CFIA held webinars to help the regulated sector, including small businesses, understand the content and impacts of the proposed changes. Approximately 100 participants attended these on-line sessions.
Who we heard from
The CFIA received 72 submissions outlining questions and proposed adjustments to the regulatory text during the CG I comment period. The responses arrived via:
- direct messages through social media
The submissions come from:
- national and provincial industry associations
- provincial Ministries of Agriculture (Chief Veterinary Officers and other individuals)
- poultry producers of all business sizes
- not-for-profit organizations
- private individuals
- CFIA staff
What we heard
Below is a high-level summary of the comments. Overall, the proposed amendments and their underlying principles received strong support from respondents, which included:
- consolidating the 3 regulations into the HAR
- modernizing the regulations to show industry trends and advances in science
- the use of incorporation by reference of 2 documents:
- CFIA's Canadian Hatchery and Supply Flock Testing Standard
- National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens, and Turkeys
- creating outcome-based regulations and a less prescriptive approach for the regulated community
Elements well supported
- expanding the scope of diseases to include zoonotic Salmonella like Salmonella Enteritidis (SE), instead of only the poultry-specific diseases of pullorum and fowl typhoid
- provisions that would require hatchery operators to develop, implement, and maintain an individual preventive control plan
- provisions that would require testing of all hatchery supply flocks and application of a preventive control plan at the farm
Elements not well supported
- exclusion of surplus or unsettable eggs from going to the hatchery
- respondents believe that preventive control plans and biosecurity programs can address any risk these surplus or unsettable eggs can pose
Elements that require clarification or adjustment to the regulatory text
There were 4 areas of the proposed regulations that received multiple comments:
- In order to move from prescriptive regulations to outcome-based regulations, the concept of PCP used in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations was introduced into the proposed regulatory amendments. This approach enables each producer to identify the unique risks that threaten their operation and to devise mitigation measures that may also be unique to their operation to address each of these risks. The proposed regulations require that all hatcheries practice safe sourcing of live animals or eggs by obtaining them from supply flocks that also have a PCP. Questions were received about how the hatchery operators were to ensure the health status of the supply flocks of their animals / eggs, especially when they were importing them.
- The proposed regulations incorporate by reference the NFACC Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens, and Turkeys. The proposed regulations cover hatcheries of all species of birds hatched for food consumption like chickens, turkeys, waterfowl, and game birds. The comments stated that, while incorporation of this code into the regulations was supported in general, some groups did not think that it was appropriate for the code to be applied to species other than chickens and turkeys, which were the target commodities in the code and whose industry groups participated in the development of this specific code. The organization that oversees the development of the code – the NFACC - shared this concern, although their position towards incorporating this document in the regulations was neutral (as opposed to active support as mentioned in the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement). 1 province also stated concerns with the regulations referencing welfare standards on farms, since these were already enforced through provincial regulations.
- Several comments pertained to SE. These included why other Salmonella serotypes (for example Salmonella Typhimurium) that can cause human illness were not included in the CFIA's Canadian Hatchery and Supply Flock Testing Standard. Concern was also expressed over any restrictions that would come into play with the hatchery operator continuing to source eggs from a known SE-positive supply flock.
- Multiple comments were received about a new technology that enables broiler barns to receive from hatcheries partially incubated eggs and complete the hatching in the barn. Respondents were unanimous in their request to redefine the activities required of a hatchery operator in the proposed amendments, so that broiler barns using this technology would not be regulated as hatcheries.
Individual concerns that will be researched prior to finalizing the wording of the regulatory amendment
- that the wording of the regulations should allow for electronic format of documents or records
- the proposed requirement to identify source flocks on hatchery invoice or packaging
The CFIA thanks everyone who participated in the consultation process. We'll consider all input as we work to update the Health of Animals Regulations – Hatcheries and Supply Flocks. The CFIA anticipates publishing the final amendments in the Canada Gazette, Part II in the fall of 2021.
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