Voluntary Herd Certification Programs

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The Chronic Wasting Disease Voluntary Herd Certification Programs (VHCP) benefit cervid owners and cervid farm operators by helping them:

  • detect and prevent the introduction of chronic wasting disease in their herd
  • identify the herd as a member of Canada's compartment of low risk animals with respect to chronic wasting disease
  • be eligible for federal compensation if chronic wasting disease is confirmed in their herd

A VHCP requires cervid owners and cervid farm operators to adhere to the following four pillars:

  • 1) maintain accurate and complete inventory records of their herd
  • 2) test all slaughtered and dead cervids
  • 3) limit herd introductions to cervids enrolled at a similar or higher VHCP level
  • 4) implement VHCP biosecurity measures

There are six levels in the program, (starting from the entry level, Level E, through levels D, C, B, A, to the highest level, certified). A minimum of five years is necessary for an enrolled herd to reach the certified level.

A VHCP is carried out in co-operation with cervid owners, cervid farm operators, accredited veterinarians, provincial and territorial governments, outside contractors (for example, Canadian Sheep Federation) and the CFIA. As the national administrator of the VHCPs, the CFIA develops the national standards and audits regional VHCPs.

The national standards undergo an annual review. The 2019 National Standards for the Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Programs are finalized but are not yet in effect. Please note that when the 2019 national standards come into effect the program name will be changed to remove the word "voluntary".

Participation in the program is optional; however, once owners and cervid farm operators are enrolled, their compliance with the national standards and the standard operating procedures in their regional VHCP is mandatory.

Herds enrolled in a Voluntary Herd Certification Program, by province

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