OTTAWA, Ont. – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and provincial government partners participate in a series of exercises developed as a test of the country’s emergency response to African Swine Fever.

In Quebec, the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) and the Équipe québécoise de santé porcine (ÉQSP) participated in a simulated outbreak scenario in which the swine disease was suspected on a Quebec hog farm. Participants were located in Gaspé, Montreal, Quebec City, St. Hyacinthe and Moncton, New Brunswick, and communicated through videoconference and phone. During the exercise, participants:

  • practiced implementing initial disease control measures;
  • exchanged information between CFIA, MAPAQ and the local pork industry;
  • discussed the possibility of voluntary movement stoppages by industry (ÉQSP); and
  • practiced resource planning for establishing quarantines and reporting infected premises.

CFIA reported that the exercise validated strategies to coordinate different parties if ASF is suspected in Quebec. And while the exercise met all of the planned objectives, CFIA is open to exploring additional training and updating response plans.

In the Western Canada area, more than 30 government and industry representatives met in Winnipeg, Manitoba to discuss:

  • organizing a multi-province Incident Command Structure (ICS) to respond to an ASF outbreak;
  • planning for destruction and disposal of pigs for disease control and market purposes;
  • monitoring interprovincial and export movement of pigs at various stages of production; and
  • using zoning and compartmentalization for disease response and eradication.

“On behalf of the government of Canada and all Canadians, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is working closely with provincial partners, industry stakeholders, farms and animal welfare groups to prevent and mitigate the impact of ASF,” said Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada, Dr. Jaspinder Komal.

“I want to stress that ASF has never been in Canada and it is through activities such as the June 18 exercises that we are making concerted efforts to keep it that way,” Komal added. “We also recognize that our country must be fully prepared for all scenarios, so a key element of our work together focuses on preparedness.”