The CCA Animal Health and Care Committee meeting was held virtually on August 6, 2020. Dr. Tom Smylie, Senior Staff Veterinarian, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), provided an update on CFIA activities in regards to developing a Canadian Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Vaccine Bank. CFIA modelling has shown that a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak in highly populated livestock regions would represent one of the worst-case scenarios for Canada and would require between 1.9 million and 2.7 million doses of FMD vaccine. We currently have a significant shortfall in available emergency vaccine, and the 14-week timeframe to produce a vaccine represents a significant risk to the livestock industry and to the Canadian economy.
Given the establishment of the US FMD Vaccine Bank and the known catastrophic devastation risk of an FMD outbreak in Canada, CCA is strongly encouraging the Government (AAFC) and CFIA to establish a Canadian FMD Bank of 30 million doses, consisting of 2.5 million doses, each of 12 different FMD vaccine concentrates. The projected annual cost is $1.92 million USD excluding potency and licensing testing.
Pierre-André Bélair, National Project Manager - BSE OIE 2020 Submission – updated the committee on Canada’s BSE negligible risk application to the OIE. The application was drafted and submitted by the responsible regulator (CFIA) and was submitted to OIE in advance of the July 31, 2020 deadline.
Dr. Aline Dimitri, Executive Director, Animal Health, CFIA, provided an update on pending traceability regulations. The proposed regulatory amendments are focused on enhancing the response capabilities in the event of an animal health emergency. There is a commitment to align, as much as possible, to the Cattle Implementation Plan developed by industry. Industry has reviewed the proposed changes in a side-by-side comparison and has provided comment to CFIA.
CFIA understands there will be costs associated with these enhanced traceability regulations and will work with industry to both understand these costs and look for means to address these additional costs. CFIA also sees opportunity in the enhanced data that will be collected that can be used for enhanced surveillance, market access and perhaps value-add industry driven initiatives. There is recognition that there is growing consumer demand for tracing food and expectations on having robust response systems in place to deal effectively with a disease outbreak.
Dr. Aline Dimitri provided an update on the humane transportation regulations. It was acknowledged that the approach taken for this review was how CFIA operated in the past and is why the approach needs to change. CFIA needs to better understand the issues and to enhance communication with industry prior to drafting and enforcing new regulations. The new regulations came into force February 20, 2020, and CFIA has developed a two-year education process prior to enforcement for all non-egregious offenses. CFIA is working closely with CCA and the Humane Transportation Working Group to ensure issues are addressed in a collaborative manner. It was recognized there are issues with feed, water and rest, and that current research needs to be taken into account when designing interpretation and enforcement.