Enhancing 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 producer considerations and roles during an serious animal disease event.

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
  • ‘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.