The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the global standard-setting body for animal health and welfare, conducted an evaluation of Canada's veterinary services and recently published its report on its website. The OIE has found Canada to be a top performing country and a leading example for meeting international veterinary service standards, with no major weaknesses.
The report provides a comprehensive review of Canada's veterinary services at all levels and is an important step in evaluating the country's standards against OIE's endorsed international standards. It highlights Canada's strengths as a world leader in the safe trade of animals and animal products, and shows its strong commitment to transparency and continuous improvement. The results were among the best in the world.
The evaluation, conducted at Canada's request, was coordinated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and involved federal, provincial and territorial governments and representatives from the private veterinary sector, academia and veterinary regulators.
In its assessment, the OIE evaluated 45 critical veterinary competencies to measure Canada against the OIE's standards. Canada met the highest level in 35 of these areas, with a rating of 5/5, which indicates high capacity and capability, and full compliance with international standards. The remainder were rated 3 or 4, many in areas where regulatory changes are already in progress.
The expert OIE evaluators commended Canada's veterinary services in several areas, including the following:
- excellent staffing, physical resources and funding
- strong systems of management, auditing, review and revision well-established functional programs
- high capability in laboratory diagnostics and research, risk analysis, border control, disease surveillance and control, and emergency preparedness and response
- well-developed interaction with stakeholders, with excellent communication and consultation on numerous joint programs
- excellent international harmonization and representation
Some opportunities to further strengthen veterinary services include:
- working to improve information management and develop integrated databases
- completing regulatory reforms already in progress, including regulations related to animal welfare, feed, veterinary drugs and food safety
- working toward electronic, life-long, animal traceability capability
- engaging with industry to identify opportunities for cost sharing in managing animal health
- improving the management of food safety at some provincial/territorial abattoirs
The full PVS evaluation report on Canada's veterinary services is available on the OIE's website.
Strong veterinary services are essential to the wellbeing of animals, Canada's food supply, international trade and economic opportunities.
By outlining Canada's strengths, and identifying areas for improvement, the report helps create a shared vision of how public and private-sector partners can work together to improve veterinary services across the country at the national, provincial and territorial levels.
The CFIA continues to lead on other initiatives to improve animal health, veterinary public health and animal welfare in Canada.
The CFIA will be working with federal, provincial and territorial partners as well as representatives from the veterinary sector and the animal industry to further strengthen veterinary services across the country.