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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Appeal Tribunal weighs in again on liability of transporters for CFIA tagging

In a subsequent decision of the Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal, Dr. Don Buckingham wrote again about the extension of liability for tagging to "transporters":
Considering that a transporter is often working under sub‑optimal conditions for tag verification-limited lighting, the high speed of animals going into the truck, the hairiness of animals' ears which often hides tags, and the multiplicity of tags present in animals ears-the Regulations do impose a heavy, and at times, superhuman burden on a transporter to verify the continuing and constant presence of an approved tag in the ear of each of the animals being transported, failing which, the transporter faces liability for regulatory non‑compliance. Part XV does appear to impose a heavy responsibility on one sector for the benefit of all consumers and producers in Canada to assure traceability and food safety in the food system. Fair or not, this is, however, the regulatory burden that Parliament and the Governor in Council have placed on, in this case, the applicant Knill, and the Tribunal must interpret and apply the law to the facts of this case.

According to Buckingham, the common refrain from those appearing before the Tribunal to appeal fines levied by the CFIA is that the current identification system is unfairly exposing players in the agri-food continuum to liability for violations of Part XV of the Regulations because of a significant problem with the permanency of approved tags.