Framework for Implementing and Maintaining the Arrangement between the CFIA and the USDA for the Recognition of Foreign Animal Disease Control and Eradication Zones
Background and Scope

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Overview

The United States' President Barack Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper created the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) in 2011 as a mechanism to promote regulatory cooperation and facilitate trade, with resulting benefits for industry and consumers. The RCC provides a forum for increased stakeholder engagement in determining priorities and optimizing resources.

The initial RCC Joint Action Plan outlined 29 initiatives, including Zoning for Foreign Animal Diseases. This initiative prioritized federal efforts to look at ways for Canada and the United States to recognize each other's zoning decisions in the event of a foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak, with the intent to formalize mechanisms to minimize trade disruptions due to the outbreak while safeguarding animal health in both countries.

Zoning principles

The United States and Canada both have highly contagious FAD (HCFAD) response plans in place that are based on internationally accepted zoning principles. The plans call for establishment of an area of control that consists of a central infected zone surrounded by one or more additional zones. The infected zone is the focus of efforts to eradicate the disease, while the entire area of control is subject to increased surveillance for the disease agent and increased movement restrictions on animals and other commodities that could transmit the disease agent.

The size of an area of control would depend on multiple factors, including the characteristics of the disease agent and transmission pathways; estimates of transmission risk; livestock concentrations and movement patterns; distribution of susceptible wildlife; and natural terrain and jurisdictional boundaries. An area of control may initially be quite large relative to the apparent distribution of cases, particularly if the consequences of failing to contain the disease agent are high. The affected country may elect to modify or redefine the boundaries of an area of control during the course of an outbreak.

The territory outside of an area of control is considered free of the disease. The claim to freedom is largely substantiated by demonstrating through epidemiological investigation and movement tracing that the outbreak is contained within the area of control. The affected country may also elect to increase active or passive surveillance for the disease agent in the disease-free zone.

Zoning for HCFADs

The United States and Canada entered into an Arrangement between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture for the Recognition of Foreign Animal Disease Control and Eradication Zones (hereafter Arrangement) in October 2012 (see Appendix 1). The intent of the Arrangement is to facilitate recognition by USDA and CFIA of each other's decisions to establish, maintain, and release an area of control. The Arrangement is based on reciprocal evaluations of veterinary infrastructure and emergency response capacity which concluded that both countries can effectively use zoning to control and eradicate an FAD outbreak (see Appendices 2 and 3).

The Framework for Implementing and Maintaining the Arrangement between the CFIA and the USDA for the Recognition of Foreign Animal Disease Control and Eradication Zones (hereafter Framework) is restricted in scope to HCFAD outbreaks in domestic livestock and does not apply to endemic diseases or to aquatic species, pets, wildlife, or laboratory or research animals. It provides an operational plan for USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and CFIA to implement the Arrangement during an HCFAD outbreak, establishes processes for maintaining the Arrangement over time, and outlines a strategy to engage governmental and non-governmental stakeholders in developing the means and mindset to effectively implement the Arrangement during an HCFAD outbreak.

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