Government of Canada hosts joint exercises in Quebec and Western Provinces to support African swine fever (ASF) mitigation and preparedness

Statement from Canada's Chief Veterinary Officer

July 22, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Today, the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) for Canada, Dr. Jaspinder Komal, issued the following statement about the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's continuing efforts in support of African swine fever (ASF) preparedness:

"On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is working closely with provincial partners, industry stakeholders, farms and animal welfare groups to prevent and mitigate the impact of ASF.

On June 18, CFIA's Quebec and Western areas hosted ASF preparation exercises involving provincial partners and other stakeholders. These exercises are key to coordinating activities in the event that ASF is reported in Canada.

I want to stress that ASF has never been in Canada and it is through activities such as the June 18 exercises that we are making concerted efforts to keep it that way.

We also recognize that our country must be fully prepared for all scenarios, so a key element of our work together focuses on preparedness.

CFIA Quebec area ASF exercise

CFIA's Quebec Area, the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) and the Équipe québécoise de santé porcine (ÉQSP) took part in the exercise, which involved a simulated scenario in which ASF was suspected on a hog farm in Quebec.

Participants were located in Gaspé, Montreal, Quebec City, St-Hyacinthe and Moncton, NB, and communicated through videoconference and phone.

The scenario allowed participants to:

  • practise implementing initial disease control measures
  • exchange information between CFIA, MAPAQ and the local pork industry
  • discuss the possibility of voluntary movement stoppages by industry (ÉQSP)
  • practise resource planning for establishing quarantines and reporting infected premises

The exercise met all of the planned objectives, including validating the strategies to be used to coordinate actions of the different parties if ASF is suspected in Quebec. The day's activities were timely, relevant and beneficial to improve preparedness against ASF and other animal diseases. They confirmed the value of carrying on with preparedness activities, exploring additional training and updating response plans.

CFIA Western area ASF exercise

More than 30 government and industry representatives met in Winnipeg, MB, to discuss potential issues and challenges if ASF is reported in Western Canada.

Pork producers, processors and organizations such as the Animal Welfare Council of Canada and PigTrace joined with CFIA, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and provincial CVOs in the day-long meeting. Discussions focused on:

  • organizing a multi-province Incident Command Structure (ICS) to respond to an ASF outbreak
  • planning for destruction and disposal of pigs for disease control and market purposes
  • monitoring interprovincial and export movement of pigs at various stages of production
  • using zoning and compartmentalization for disease response and eradication

The exercise resulted in important steps forward. Participants committed to creating a formal ICS and to forming a steering committee consisting of federal, provincial and industry partners. The committee will identify planning gaps and work out a joint Emergency Operations Centre structure."

Dr. Jaspinder Komal
Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

For media inquiries
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Media relations: 613-773-6600
cfia.media.acia@canada.ca

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