Transport Information

Ensuring excellent animal welfare outcomes is a goal of both the industry and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). CFIA has a mandate to enforce Canada’s Health of Animals legislation, including updates made to the transport of animals provisions in Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations. The amended regulations came into force on February 20, 2020.

Two-Year Transition Period

In December 2019, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie Claude Bibeau and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced a two-year transition period for the feed, water and rest time interval provisions for bovine and other sectors.  

As industry transitions and adapts from the old regulations’ transport times to the new regulations’, the CFIA will focus its activities for feed, water and rest times on compliance promotion through education and awareness measures for the first two years. This education approach will allow the CFIA and industry to continue to work together on effective solutions to identified issues and for livestock sectors to implement any adjustments. 

Notable Changes to the Transport Regulations

Record Keeping:

Under the new regulations, every commercial carrier or any person who transports animals in the course of business and/or for financial benefit, regardless of the quantity, frequency or duration of animal transports, are required to keep records related to the movement of those animals. These records must contain:

  • the name and address of the producer or shipper, consignee or receiver, the transport company (if applicable) and the driver's name
  • an identification number (license/registration number) of the conveyance in which the animals are moved
  • the measurement in square meters and/or square feet of floor area available to animals in the conveyance
  • the date and place that the conveyance or container were last cleaned and disinfected
  • the date, time and place that the animals came into the carrier's (driver's) custody
  • the description of the animals in the load and actions taken to address concerns should be documented (e.g. species, class and any other relevant information)
  • the last time the animals had access to feed, water and rest

Compromised and Unfit Animals:

Under the new regulations, the definitions for unfit and compromised animals, for transportation purposes, have been updated. 

Unfit cattle must not be transported unless being taken directly to a place (outside of a slaughter establishment or assembly center) to receive veterinary care and meets the following conditions:

  • it is individually loaded and unloaded without having to negotiate any ramps inside the conveyance;
  • it is isolated during confinement and transport;
  • measures are taken to prevent the animal’s unnecessary suffering, injury or death during loading, confinement, transport and unloading; and
  • a veterinarian recommends that the animal be transported to receive veterinary care.

Compromised cattle may only be transported under the following conditions:

  • it is isolated (or transported with one other animal with which it is familiar if to do so is unlikely to cause either animal suffering, injury or death and if they are segregated from other animals)
  • it is individually loaded and unloaded without having to negotiate any ramps inside the conveyance;
  • measures are taken that are necessary to prevent the animal’s suffering, injury or death during loading, confinement, transport and unloading; and
  • it is transported directly to the nearest place, other than an assembly center, where it can receive care or be humanely killed.

The complete definitions of unfit and compromised, along with provisions for transport, can be found HERE.

Contingency Plans:

Every commercial carrier and those persons who transport animals in the course of business or for financial benefit must have a contingency plan.

The plan will establish measures to be taken to reduce or mitigate avoidable suffering if:

  • there are any unforeseen delays or circumstances that could cause avoidable suffering, injury or death
  • an animal becomes compromised or unfit during loading, confinement, transport or unloading

Contingency Plan Content:

  • the regulation does not specify what situations a contingency plan has to cover
  • there is no prescribed format for a contingency plan (can be written or verbal)
  • regulated parties must be able to demonstrate that they know what to do in a variety of predictable, possible, transport situations
  • if a contingency plan includes contact information, it must be up to date
  • an example template has been provided in Appendix 2 of the interpretive guidance document

Feed/Water/Rest Intervals:

Provision (Regulations from 1977) (Amended Regulations 2020)
Transport Continuum Focus mainly on time in confinement Feed, water, rest (FWR) times begin when FW are removed before loading and do not end until the animal received FWR. It contains the confinement time.
Ruminants Max. 48 hr of transport confinement Max. 36 hr without FWR
All livestock (including ruminants) 8 days of age or less, or too young to be fed exclusively on hay or grain Max. 18 hr of transport confinement Max. 12 hr without FWR
Compromised Animals Not specified Max. 12 hr without FWR
Rest Period 5 hr 8 hr
Ramps 45 degrees 25 degrees

Resources for Producers

Concerns with CFIA Inspection and/or Enforcement Process

There may be some challenges for producers, transporters and facility personnel as CFIA inspectors adjust to the amended regulations. Anyone wishing to register a complaint or comment related to CFIA quality of service, administrative errors and regulatory decisions may do so directly through the CFIA website.

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