Government of Canada announces up to $45.3 million to enhance African swine fever prevention and preparedness
QUEBEC CITY, Aug. 26, 2022 /CNW/ – Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of up to $45.3 million to enhance efforts to prevent African swine fever (ASF) from entering Canada and prepare for a potential outbreak. The funding will be critical in reducing the risk of introduction and spread of ASF in Canada.
ASF is a fatal swine disease that spreads through both direct and indirect contact with infected pigs, pork, and pork by-products. Preventing the spread of ASF into Canada requires a collaborative approach to protect Canada’s pork industry, while helping the industry prepare for a timely and coordinated response to limit the potential impact of an outbreak.
To help ensure high levels of vigilance in the face of the threat of African swine fever, the Government of Canada is investing up to $23.4 million to support the pork industry’s prevention and mitigation efforts. This funding is intended to support critical priorities for preparedness, such as biosecurity assessments, coordination for wild pig management, retrofit of existing abattoirs, sector analysis and ASF-related research projects. Program details are being developed and the program will be launched as soon as possible.
In addition, up to $19.8 million will be invested in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) prevention and preparedness efforts. This is intended to support work such as further enhancing laboratory capacity, establish zoning arrangements with additional trading partners, and contributing to international efforts to develop a safe and effective ASF vaccine that meets the needs of Canadian farms.
Although Canada has never had a case of ASF, the disease continues to spread in several regions around the world. A single case of ASF in Canada would immediately result in the closure of Canada’s borders to pork exports, which accounts for 70% of Canadian pork production. With up to $2.1 million in funding dedicated to enhancing the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) border control activities, the Government of Canada intends to support measures that continue to prevent the entry of high-risk pork and pork products by enhancing public awareness, improving commercial targeting, and developing training for border services officers.
Canada is recognized internationally as having strong programs in place to prevent and control the spread of foreign animal diseases into and within the country. Through close collaboration with domestic and international partners, the Government will continue to take a leadership role in preventing and mitigating the potential impact of ASF, should it ever be introduced into the country.
“We must continue to work as a team – federal, provincial and territorial governments together with industry, to prevent African swine fever from entering the country. Strengthening the measures already in place is essential to protecting the hog sector and the vitality of rural communities.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“This announcement is significant and purposeful for Canadian pork producers. We welcome the government’s investment towards keeping ASF out of our country and of our farms. We have seen the negative impact of ASF in other parts of the world which demonstrates the need for this collaboration between government and our sector.”
– Rick Bergman, Chair of the Canadian Pork Council
“ASF is one of the biggest threats to the Canadian hog sector. More than 70% of our pork is exported, making Canada the third-largest pork exporting country in the world. Prevention is key to avoid the entry of ASF, but preparedness will allow the pork industry to reduce the impact of the disease for a quicker recovery. This funding will provide industry and government with further resources to continue the development of the ASF Canadian action plan and be prepared for a potential outbreak.”
– Chris White, President and CEO, Canadian Meat Council
- Preventing and preparing for ASF is a shared responsibility between federal, provincial, and territorial governments and industry. The Pan-Canadian ASF Action Plan is a collaborative plan which lays the groundwork for a timely and coordinated response to reduce the size of an outbreak and limit its impact.
- The Canadian pork industry exports roughly two thirds of its pork production and millions of live hogs per year.
- The CFIA has already confirmed zoning arrangements to help manage ASF and facilitate international trade with the United States, European Union, Singapore, and Vietnam.
- On May 5, 2022, Minister Bibeau announced over $446,000 in Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program funding to Swine Innovation Porc, based in Quebec City, QC, to develop strategies to mitigate the impact of an African swine fever outbreak on the pork sector.
- The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) has recognized CFIA’s National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg, MB as a WOAH Reference Laboratory to address ASF – one of only seven Laboratories in the world with the designation.
- The CFIA has a network of 13 reference and research laboratories across Canada approved to perform ASF testing for surveillance purposes.
- The CBSA is Canada’s first line of defence, and has a mandate to facilitate trade and travel while keeping Canadians safe. Border services officers are trained to intercept prohibited goods.
Enhancing African swine fever prevention and preparedness
The Government of Canada is investing up to $45.3 million to prevent and prepare for African swine fever (ASF).
The Canadian pork sector is a major economic driver that contributes over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs, and generates $24 billion for the Canadian economy. A single case of ASF in Canada would result in Canada ceasing its pork and live hog exports.
This would be devastating for the export-orientated pork industry. The impacts would particularly be felt in rural areas where hog farms and processing facilities sustain the community.
The Government will invest up to $23.4 million over two years with the intention to support industry-led efforts in critical areas, including:
- biosecurity assessments and improvements, including wild pig management
- industry-led economic modelling, scenario analysis, and market place assessment
- ASF-related research projects
- welfare slaughter preparedness and disposal, including plant retrofits
- evaluating high-capacity technologies for humane depopulation of surplus hogs
The Government will invest up to $19.8 million over three years with the intention to:
- enhance surveillance and laboratory capacity, including rapid diagnostic testing
- conduct exercises and develop response plans for different scenarios
- increase awareness, outreach, and communications to prevent the spread of ASF
- establish zoning arrangements with key trading partners
- support the development of compartments (a subpopulation of animals free from disease in one or more establishment that share a common high standard of biosecurity)
- provide facilities, knowledge, and expertise to support international partners in developing an ASF vaccine and framework for distribution
The Government will invest up to $2.1 million over three years with the intention to enhance border control activities by:
- providing training to border services officers on the policies and procedures associated with preventing the entry of foreign food and animal products
- providing advance training to enhance port of entry (POE) vigilance
- promoting compliance by increasing public awareness of ASF
The Government of Canada continues to work with domestic and international partners to maintain a high level of vigilance through actions that include:
- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is raising awareness among travellers through social media and has already reached over 20 million people with its ASF campaign. Additional signage has been placed at airports reminding travellers of the requirement to declare all food and animal products at the border to keep foreign animal diseases, including ASF, out of Canada. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) border services officers have been provided with guidance on applying the penalty of $1,300 to travellers who fail to declare pork or pork products or any other meat when entering the country.
- The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) redirected current detector dog capacity to key international airports to better focus on passengers and goods coming from high-risk areas. The Government of Canada also provided new funding of up to $31 million to increase the number of detector dogs at Canadian airports.
- The CFIA implemented additional import control measures to prevent infected plant-based feed ingredients from ASF-affected countries from entering Canada.
- The CFIA closely monitors the international situation continuously to ensure the CBSA has the right border controls in place.
- The CFIA is collaborating with Canada’s pork industry, industry associations and provinces to generate awareness and help maintain a high level of vigilance and standards on pig farms across the country.
- Canada’s African swine fever Executive Management Board (ASF EMB) brings together federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) governments and industry representatives to provide guidance and prioritize activities to implement the Pan-Canadian ASF Action Plan, to enhance prevention and preparedness efforts in Canada.
- The CFIA worked with provincial partners and provincial organizations so that more laboratories can test for ASF, including collaboration with the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) aimed at developing and testing vaccines and antivirals for ASF.
- The CFIA is engaging international partners on approaches to zoning, so that trade disruptions can be minimized, should ASF enter Canada. The CFIA has already confirmed zoning arrangements with the United States, European Union, Singapore, and Vietnam.
- It is also collaborating internationally to further scientific understanding of the disease, engaging with international bodies and European and Asian governments to learn from their experiences, and supporting international efforts through the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases. Canada also hosted the 2019 International Forum on ASF, hosting 150 delegates from 15 countries.
- The CFIA is also working closely with North American partners and counterparts to harmonize testing protocols, share intelligence and take collective action from a pan-North American perspective. This includes participating in joint exercises on ASF with American and industry partners.
African swine fever (CFIA)
Statement: Canada, United States agree on protocol to guide bilateral trade if African swine fever is detected in wild pigs
Statement: Canada, Mexico and U.S. plan North American strategy for African swine fever prevention and preparedness
Statement: Canada, United States agree on application of zones to allow safe trade in the event of an African swine fever outbreak
Singapore agrees to zoning arrangement to allow for safe trade from Canada in the event of an African swine fever outbreak
Vietnam agrees to zoning arrangement to allow for safe trade from Canada in the event of an African swine fever outbreak
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