The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is developing two regulations under the Animal Health Act, 2009 (the Act):
1. Reporting – A proposed Minister’s regulation would address the mandatory reporting of hazards (including animal diseases) by laboratories, as well as certain findings made by veterinarians; andOMAFRA is asking for feedback on its proposals. The proposed reporting regulation would designate a number of hazards, such as animal diseases, as immediately notifiable hazards and periodically notifiable hazards, which laboratories would have to report to OMAFRA. The list of specific diseases appears in detail in a discussion paper posted on the OMAFRA website. To promote greater coordination with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), laboratories would have to provide notice to OMAFRA of any animal diseases in terrestrial animals (including amphibians and birds) that are also reportable or immediately notifiable under federal regulations made under the Health of Animals Act (Canada). However, the CFIA would lead in responding to the most significant of these reports, including where foreign animal diseases are indicated. A number of Ontario-specific hazards have also been proposed for reporting to OMAFRA by laboratories that are not normally priorities for the CFIA, but are still of local concern in the province.
2. Compensation – A proposed Lieutenant Governor in Council regulation would provide a legal framework for providing financial compensation under the Act.
At this time, the proposed reporting regulation would not require individual livestock and poultry producers to report any knowledge or suspicion of a hazard, such as an animal disease, to OMAFRA. The proposed regulation would not affect any existing reporting obligations they may have to the CFIA.
In addition to designating hazards under the Act, the proposed regulation would also set out specific findings that veterinarians would be required to report that are encountered while the veterinarian is engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine. Reporting these findings is designed to capture atypical animal health situations, such as high mortality in a herd or flock, which could indicate the presence of a significant hazard (such as a toxic substance in animal feed or an emerging strain of a disease) at the earliest possible opportunity.
The proposed regulation would also set out reporting requirements, including the information that must be provided by operators of laboratories and veterinarians, as well as the time in which such reports must be made.
In some cases, the Chief Veterinarian for Ontario (CVO) may need to order destruction of an animal or animal-related thing, such as feed, in order to reduce the possible spread of a hazard. In these unusual cases, the Act authorizes the Minister to provide financial compensation for certain losses stemming from the order at his discretion. The proposed compensation regulation would provide clarity, transparency and assurance to stakeholders that a legal framework exists to address, at the Minister’s discretion some or all the direct losses incurred by persons who have complied with orders issued under the Act.
OMAFRA is seeking input on these regulatory proposals. The proposal has been posted for a 45 day public review and comment period starting March 09, 2012. Comments can be directed to:
Senior Policy Advisor
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
1 Stone Road West
Floor 2 SW
Phone: (519) 826-3832
Fax: (519) 826-3492
Comments can be submitted on-line at: On-line Submission.