Livestock Identification and Traceability Program (TRACE) – Regulatory update 3

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants to enhance the health and well-being of Canadians, the environment and economy.

Livestock traceability is the ability to follow an animal or group of animals during all stages of its life. There are three main pillars to livestock traceability systems:

  • identification of livestock with an approved indicator
  • identification of premises where livestock are kept, assembled or disposed of
  • reporting events related to livestock such as movement of animals from one premises to another

The objective of the livestock traceability system is to provide timely, accurate and relevant information to reduce the impacts of a disease outbreak, food safety issue or natural disasters originating from and/or affecting livestock.

The Livestock Identification and Traceability Program (TRACE) has been administered jointly by CFIA and industry since 2001. The program is regulated and enforced under Part XV of the Health of Animals Regulations, made under the authority of the Health of Animals Act.

Why are amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations being proposed

The CFIA is proposing amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations to strengthen Canada's livestock traceability system.

The objective of the TRACE Newsletter is to provide an overview of progress on proposed amendments to Part XV of the federal Health of Animals Regulations (hereafter referred to the "Regulations") that pertains to livestock identification and traceability. This third edition focuses on one of the key elements of the regulatory proposal: premises identification.

The proposed federal traceability Regulations would require, amongst other things, reporting the premises identification number to a responsible administrator for a location where, for example, an approved indicator (tag) will be applied to an animal, an animal has been received or slaughtered, or; a carcass has been disposed.

What is a premises

A premises is a land parcel where livestock is kept, assembled or disposed of; for example, land parcels where farms, auction marts, assembly yards, abattoirs or rendering plants are located. Vehicles that carry livestock are not considered "premises".

What is premises identification

Premises identification is the process by which the operator of a premises (e.g. a farmer; the operator of an abattoir) would provide the following information to the provincial government where the premises is located: (a) the legal description of the premises, or if the land parcel has not been surveyed, the longitude and latitude coordinates inside or on the perimeter of the premises; (b) the operator's name and telephone number; (c) a list of the animal species anticipated by the operator to be present at the premises; and (d) the type of agricultural or agri-food operation that is carried out at the premises. Provincial governments may require additional information.

What is a Premises Identification Number

Once the provincial government has received and validated the information provided by the operator, it will provide a unique identification number to the premises (a Premises Identification Number). A premises is identified only once, regardless of how many animal species are kept, assembled or disposed of at the site, or whether the site is operated by more than one person. A premises already identified by a provincial or territorial government would not be required to be re-identified under the proposed federal Regulations.

How do I apply for a Premises Identification Number

Although the identification of premises is currently mandatory only in Québec, Alberta, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan, all provinces have systems in place to issue Premises Identification Number. Operators of a site without a Premises Identification Number can obtain one from their provincial (or territorial) government – see side bar. Participation in Provincial Premises Identification Programs is quick, easy and free. The process only takes a few minutes and you will be asked for basic land, animal and contact information.

Why is premises identification important

Premises identification is a way of linking livestock and poultry to specific land locations (or "premises") and is critical for controlling animal diseases and managing animal health emergencies (e.g. diseases, fires, floods, etc.). Premises identification makes it possible to trace an animal's movements from one point to another throughout the supply chain, making it easier to control the spread of disease and minimize the impact on the industry. The proposed amendments are expected to strengthen Canada's ability to respond quickly to health threats and other emergencies.

Regulatory Implementation Committee – Update on activities

An industry-government Regulatory Implementation Committee (RIC) has been formed with the objective to collaboratively identify and prioritize actions to help prepare for a smooth implementation of proposed amendments to the Regulations. Currently, the (RIC) is looking at engagement with stakeholders during the comment period when the proposed regulatory amendments would be published to Part I of the Canada Gazette, such as recruiting and nominating Livestock Traceability Ambassadors within the livestock sector.

When are the proposed Regulations expected to be published and come into effect

The proposed Regulations are expected to be published in winter/spring 2020. Following the publication of the proposed Regulations in Part I of the Canada Gazette, stakeholders will have 75 days to review and provide comment.

The CFIA will review and consider all comments received prior to finalizing the regulation amendments and publishing them in Part II of the Canada Gazette. Once published in Part II of the Canada Gazette, the Regulations will be considered final and immediately come into force.

How to apply for a PID number

Colombie-Britannique - Premise ID


Alberta Premises Identification Program

310-FARM (3276) toll free within Alberta

Saskatchewan - Premises Identification


Manitoba - Premises Identification


Ontario - Premises ID


Agri-Traçabilité Québec


New Brunswick - Register Animal Premises for Livestock and Poultry Traceability


Nova Scotia - Premises Identification Program


Prince Edward Island - Premises Identification


Yukon Disease Monitoring


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