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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

CFIA Tagging Liability Extended to Agents of Owners

In a recent case before the Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal, Chairman Dr. Don Buckingham confirmed that his decision would effectively extend liability for CFIA-approved tagging violations to agents of owners.  In other words, not only will the owners of animals have a responsibility to ensure that proper tagging is in place whenever animals are moved, but agents of the owners such as truckers will share the same responsibility.  Dr. Buckingham commented: 

The Tribunal is mindful that its finding in this case will constitute an extension of liability to agents of owners under Part XV of the Health of Animals Regulations. However, considering the legislative provisions and the guidance offered to it by the Federal Court of Appeal on the matter, the Tribunal finds that the Agency has proved, on the balance of probabilites, the first element of the violation, "that Schaus caused the movement of" the cattle on February 18, 2009 from the farm of origin, in this case Ikendale. Considering that now, not only the producer but the transporter, or their agents must purchase, apply and verify the continuing and constant presence of a RFID‑CCIA tag in the ear of each of their animals whenever they are moved off their farm or face liability for regulatory non-compliance, Part XV does appear to impose a heavy, if not impractical, 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 Schaus, and the Tribunal must interpret and apply the law to the facts of this case.