NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ONTARIO — Twenty-million dollars is being invested by Canada’s government to build a vital link in the traceability chain that tracks Canadian livestock from the grocery store back to the farm. The new Livestock Auction Traceability Initiative was announced at the annual federal-provincial-territorial meeting of agriculture ministers.

"Strengthening Canada's traceability system will make it easier for individual Canadian producers to get credit and premium prices for the top-quality meat products they provide to families in Canada and around the world," said Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "A superior traceability system also helps protect the security of our food supply by allowing us to quickly and effectively track down a potential problem before it can spread. This will, in turn, help us open up new markets for Canadian livestock producers on the world stage."

"We are pleased to see provinces such as Quebec and Alberta are implementing their own innovative traceability initiatives and we want to build on that success by helping all regions to build a national system," added Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture) Jean-Pierre Blackburn.

Canadian auction marts, assembly yards, fairs and exhibitions and privately managed community pastures will be allowed to upgrade facilities to help in the identification and tracing of individual animals thanks to this investment.

The Canadian government will deliver $20 million through the Livestock Auction Traceability Initiative to upgrade handling systems in facilities to keep track of individual animals as they are mixed with other herds in auction marts and other facilities, such as community pastures. Funding for this program will come from the $500-million Agricultural Flexibility Fund, announced as part of the Economic Action Plan to help the sector adapt to pressures and improve its competitiveness.