Animal Health Emergency Management Project

The CAHC project, ‘Enhancing the Capacity for Emergency Management in Canada’s Livestock & Poultry Industry’ provides livestock producers and their associations with tools that are relevant to their specific sector and region in the event of a disease related sector-wide emergency event, including:

  • PLANS that set out the roles and responsibilities for the industry organization and key members of staff, and
  • HANDBOOKS that describe the producers’ roles in the key activities anticipated, and the information they will need to have on hand. 

Thirteen provincial livestock associations developed a PLAN and HANDBOOK for their organization/staff and their producers between July 2016 to March 2018, through this initial project, referenced as the ‘Animal Health Emergency Management’ or AHEM project.  

This outcome provides the livestock industry with a consistent approach to the management of disease related sector-wide emergencies, resulting in the similar alignment of organizational roles and responsibilities regardless of sector or province.  Essentially, the project provides Canada’s livestock industry with the foundation of an animal health emergency management program.

Additional outcomes from the AHEM project included:

  • A Benchmark Survey establishing the current level of animal health emergency management planning:
    • 28% of livestock industry association respondents have plans (100% of poultry association respondents)
    • 97% of livestock and poultry associations cite disease emergencies as one of their most significant vulnerabilities
  • A Profile of the 7 Secretariats that successfully support animal health emergency management at a provincial level in certain poultry and swine sectors across Canada
  • A consultation in 5 provinces / regions confirming interest in the establishment of a council to support capacity building relative to animal health emergencies at a local or provincial / regional level
  • A ‘Lessons Learned’ Report, pursuant to the Manitoba swine industry’s 2017 experience of PEDv
  • A producer brochure summarizing key elements of the HANDBOOK:
    • A tool that can be readily adapted to provide a customized brochure for each provincial association
  • An informal AHEM-related discussion forum between senior industry executives and Canada’s Chief Veterinary Officer.

The project complements and ‘fits’ within the context of several national strategic initiatives, including the Livestock Market Interruption Strategy (LMIS) led by AAFC, and the Plant and Animal Health Strategy (PAHS) facilitated by CFIA. The project brings to the livestock industry, many concepts and tools that have been successfully adopted by other industries and sectors, e.g. the poultry sector, allowing the industry to learn and capitalize upon the lessons learned by others.

The project involves significant collaboration with federal government organizations (AAFC, CFIA), provincial government departments of agriculture and as well provincial commodity groups spread across Canada.


A funding application (Canadian Agricultural Partnership) for a second phase, referenced as the AHEM-II project, will assist in creating Awareness and Capacity Building. Project activities include: 

  1. Develop PLANS and HANDBOOKS specific to an additional 15 provincial/territorial livestock associations, as well plans for some five national organizations.
  2. Develop awareness activities and resources to assist partners incorporate animal health emergency preparedness and management into their existing industry programming.
  3. Prepare foreign animal disease training modules to increase capacity for early recognition and initial response among practitioners.
  4. Document and create a library of ‘lessons learned’ reports for other animal health emergency events.
  5. Pilot the solutions to certain ‘gaps’ in the current structure of animal health policies and programs.
  6. Enhance the development and support of a network of experienced professionals working collaboratively to build capacity for animal health emergency management delivered to the organizations they support at a provincial/regional or even sectoral level.

For more information on the project please contact

Matt Taylor

Mikki Shatosky


Click on the following links to view/download Producer-level HANDBOOKS* developed through the AHEM I project:





Nova Scotia


 * PLANS also developed for each of these organizations

Acknowledgment: Funding for this project has been provided through the AgriMarketing Program under Growing Forward 2, a federal–provincial–territorial initiative