Animal Health Emergency Management (AHEM) Project

Minimizing impact through proactive planning, preparation and response

The Canadian Animal Health Coalition has received AgriAssurance funding for the second phase of the Animal Health Emergency Management project.

This new project will build on our shared success over the last few years and – like its predecessor, AHEM I – will focus on minimizing serious animal disease impact through enhanced industry awareness, capacity, confidence.

‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’ - Benjamin Franklin


Interested in learning more about the AHEM project or getting involved?

Matt Taylor, Project Manager


Mikki Shatosky, Project Coordinator


Animal Health Emergency Management - Awareness, Capacity, Confidence

Funded by the AgriAssurance Program, this $2.6M project is adding value to Canada’s livestock industry by bringing together stakeholders who are committed to effectively addressing serious animal disease outbreaks. 

Over the next four years, we will once again be working with people from across Canada and commodity groups. The goal is to strengthen Canada’s livestock industry by increasing our collective awareness and capacity to effectively manage the significant risks of serious animal disease outbreaks. The resulting increase in resilience and sustainability relative to these known risks will boost market confidence in Canada’s livestock industry.

Key activities of the project are:


  • Develop 3-5 protocols that address critical gaps in industry policy.
  • Test protocols in a national exercise to ensure broad and multi-commodity application.


  • Develop roles and responsibilities for animal health emergencies in PLANs for national and provincial association staff and HANDBOOKs for producers.
  • Partner with another 12-15 provincial and 3-5 national commodity groups.


  • Provide tools for provincial partners to create awareness and understanding of the available resources, e.g. brochures, website and training. 
  • Organize workshops with partners to introduce the AHEM PLANs and HANDBOOKs.


  • Work collaboratively with the CFIA and European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease, to develop a training course that will be recognized as continuing education with CVMA and provincial regulatory bodies.
  • Deliver a self-paced, foreign animal disease recognition and response training course for private veterinarians.


Enhancing the Capacity for Emergency Management in Canada’s Livestock & Poultry Industry

Led by the Canadian Animal Health Coalition and completed in 2018, this 18-month project was integral in bringing animal health emergency management to the forefront. Not only did it help forge enduring partnerships, it facilitated the development of valuable resources for producers and associations.

Project Goal

AHEM provided livestock producers and their associations with sector specific and regionally relevant tools that would be beneficial 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.

Specific Outcomes

In addition to providing the Canadian livestock industry with a consistent approach, definitive roles, and clear responsibilities, this project has provided a solid animal health emergency management program foundation.

  • 13 customized provincial livestock association PLANs and HANDBOOKs for use by organization/staff and producers
  • 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 detailed 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 customizable producer brochure summarizing key elements of the HANDBOOK
  • An informal AHEM-related discussion forum between senior industry executives and Canada’s Chief Veterinary Officer.


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


This project aligned with 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.

Not only did AHEM help bring key stakeholders together, it strengthened the livestock industry as a whole by equipping associations and producers with new knowledge and resources and created an opportunity for sharing of experiences and learnings from others.


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