Evidence of meeting #143 for Agriculture and Agri-Food in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was asf.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

René Roy  Vice-Chair, Canadian Pork Council
John Ross  Executive Director, Canadian Pork Council
Colleen Barnes  Acting Vice-President, Policy and Programs, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Fred Gaspar  Director General, Commercial Program Directorate, Canada Border Services Agency
Jaspinder Komal  Vice-President, Science Branch, Chief Veterinary Officer and World Organisation for Animal Health Delegate for Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Does that tie in with the Americans or Mexicans in terms of North America? Is there a North American representation at some other council where items like those Mr. MacGregor was bringing up could be discussed?

11:30 a.m.

Vice-Chair, Canadian Pork Council

René Roy

Maybe the forum.

11:30 a.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Pork Council

John Ross

Yes.

Obviously, we did see the Canadian Food Inspection Agency bring forward the international ASF forum here. We meet fairly routinely, or at least we have in the past—we got a little sidetracked during the NAFTA discussions—with our colleagues in Mexico and the United States. The Canadian Pork Council and the National Pork Producers Council meet four to six times a year at various events. Twice a year we are at each other's board meetings for formal presentations.

May 16th, 2019 / 11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Great. I'm sure there are collaborations.

Thinking about traceability, this committee studied the safe movement of animals. We looked at some of the risk factors in terms of trailer cleaning, taking animals on and off trailers, and how that increases the risks. We also talked about the animal rights groups invading farms and how that increases the risk in terms of food security.

You mentioned in your presentation a bit about risk management. I'm thinking of PigTrace and the PigTrace system that's in place, looking at real-time movement and things like dead-stock trucks, feed trucks, or utility and maintenance service vehicles. Do we have enough traceability within the system to account for any risks that might come in from either animal rights groups or from movement of pigs through transport trailers between Canada and the United States or other things?

11:30 a.m.

Vice-Chair, Canadian Pork Council

René Roy

As producers, we are working really hard to make sure we inform the old system about traceability. I'll just separate it into two parts. Animal activists are one thing. With traceability, right now we are at a good level, but we want to increase it. Instant reporting would be really important, but it's a kind of 2.0 platform. We want to go there. We have discussions and we put money in it. The industry has too. We believe in it, so we put more money into it. But it's not that easy, because government right now is stepping aside from traceability efforts. It's important that government is helping us, because not only commercial producers but also backyard producers, who we're not discussing so much, are at high risk.

Another concern is the animal activists. Why can somebody break into a farm? Why can they steal pigs? Why can they go on a farm without any right to do this and not be charged criminally? There is a problem, and producers are really concerned about it. When can we stop this?

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Especially in times like this when we're managing a very fragile system, or one that could potentially be fragile, the laws have to be enforced in order to protect Canadians and our farmers. With regard to the provincial regulations, I'm looking for any areas or gaps where there's federal and provincial jurisdictions over the management of our supply chain. Is there any area there that we need to be concerned with?

11:35 a.m.

Vice-Chair, Canadian Pork Council

René Roy

I'll say a couple of words on the wild pigs.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Please.

11:35 a.m.

Vice-Chair, Canadian Pork Council

René Roy

It's really complicated because of the intricate link between municipal laws, provincial laws and federal laws. It's really complicated to have a discussion at all levels when it's time to manage this kind of problem.

11:35 a.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Pork Council

John Ross

Mr. Longfield, I would offer that we probably have enough regulatory authority across the federal and provincial jurisdictions. There might be spaces here and there that are questionable that I can't think of off of the top of my head. Our challenge will be to be able to exercise that authority immediately and in the right sequence. There will be a little bit of a delay, for example, between when a disease is suspected and when it is actually confirmed where the federal government will have a space where it may have a challenge to fully bring its resources into the field, but provinces have some that should be able to get us going in the first day or two. I don't think our challenge is actually going to be on the regulatory side in terms of authorities. It's going to be the exercise of that authority in a timely manner.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

I'm thinking with regard to managing veterinarians and managing some of the services that need to come to bear.

11:35 a.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Pork Council

John Ross

I did live through the BSE run. We actually found out that we could come very quickly into the game once the crisis hit—

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

We don't want to get there.

11:35 a.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Pork Council

John Ross

—but we'd like to get there ahead of time.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Pat Finnigan

Thank you, Mr. Ross.

Now over to Ms. Nassif for six minutes.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Eva Nassif Liberal Vimy, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'll be sharing my time with my colleague, Mr. Sheehan.

My question is for my friend Mr. Roy.

If you raise pigs on your farm, could you tell us about it?

11:35 a.m.

Vice-Chair, Canadian Pork Council

René Roy

Yes, but I'm not just a pig farmer. I also raise dairy cows and produce maple syrup. It's a medium-sized mixed family farm.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Eva Nassif Liberal Vimy, QC

What do you mean by medium-sized?

11:35 a.m.

Vice-Chair, Canadian Pork Council

René Roy

It's a farrow-to-finish operation. I have 120 sows that I raise from birth to slaughter.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Eva Nassif Liberal Vimy, QC

There was an international ASF forum in April. Were you there?

11:35 a.m.

Vice-Chair, Canadian Pork Council

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Eva Nassif Liberal Vimy, QC

Could you fill us in on what was said at the forum about ASF and its harmful effects?

11:35 a.m.

Vice-Chair, Canadian Pork Council

René Roy

Earlier I talked about the four cornerstones, namely prevention, preparedness, response and, if necessary, recovery. We discussed those four cornerstones at the forum. There was a discussion involving stakeholders from around the world. Some of them had animals that had been affected by this disease, and they talked about what they were going through. It was really fascinating. We got to see how we could implement our zoning approach, if it comes to that.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Eva Nassif Liberal Vimy, QC

You mentioned prevention, but there is no treatment or vaccine for ASF.

11:35 a.m.

Vice-Chair, Canadian Pork Council

René Roy

No, there's no vaccine.