Canada and the Province of Ontario's Foreign Animal Disease Emergency Response Plan

Executive Summary

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the federal Health of Animals Act. Consequently, CFIA is the lead authority for the monitoring, control and eradication of foreign animal diseases (FAD) in Canada. CFIA has developed strategies to deal appropriately with foreign animal diseases that could be introduced into Canada. These strategies include the science available for foreign animal disease, organized procedures, structures and resource management that lead to early detection of disease or infection, prediction of the likely spread, containment, targeted control and elimination with subsequent re-establishment of verifiable freedom from infection in accordance with the Animal Health Code administered by the Office International des Epizooties (OIE).

The infrastructure developed by CFIA efficiently addresses most foreign animal disease outbreaks. However, the speed at which some highly contagious foreign animal diseases (HC-FAD) can spread (e.g. Foot and Mouth Disease, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, Classical Swine Fever), means that combating the disease will likely exceed the capability of any single agency. In addition, the potential of some of these diseases to affect human health will also necessitate additional resources. It is therefore recognized that effective control and eradication could require rapid mobilization of extraordinary resources and cooperation from the provincial government, local government(s) and industry stakeholders to minimize the potentially severe negative impact on the agri-food industry and the economy.

Emergency Management Ontario Involvement

In Ontario, the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and accompanying Order in Council assign specific emergency responsibilities to designated provincial ministries. Within the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) through the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) is assigned responsibility for the overall coordination of provincial emergencies. The PEOC coordinates the provincial emergency response, which would include the coordination of additional federal resources requested by the province (e.g. military assistance).

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Area of Responsibility

Under Order in Council (OIC) # 1492/2005 the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has been assigned responsibility to develop emergency response plans for "farm animal disease".

Plan Development

CFIA, EMO and OMAFRA in collaboration with other ministries have developed this provincial Foreign Animal Disease Emergency Response (FADERP) Plan to clearly align terminology with the Provincial Emergency Response Plan (PERP) and to augment CFIA's disease control capability with the provincial emergency management system.

It should be noted that this document deals only with the management (monitoring, control and eradication) of FADs and is especially relevant to HC-FADs because of their potential for rapid spread. The management of impacts of FADs on human health or on the economy of the province is part of a larger PERP and is not outlined here. Therefore, this FADERP should be seen as a component of the larger PERP and an annex to Ministry emergency response plans (MERP) and as a component to the Government of Canada Emergency Response Plan.

It should also be noted that in other provinces and in most CFIA federal documentation analogous plans are referred to as federal provincial Foreign Animal Disease Emergency Support plans or FADES plans. However in Ontario, its official title is the Foreign Animal Disease Emergency Response (FADERP) Plan so it aligns better with the terminology used in the PERP. Regardless of the title used, one can consider FADERP and FADES as synonymous.

Roles and Responsibilities

This plan outlines the roles and responsibilities of those public organizations that may be required to respond to a HC-FAD outbreak in or affecting Ontario. The roles and responsibilities of the signatory organizations including the lead federal agency, CFIA, as well as the primary supporting provincial emergency coordination agencies, EMO, and OMAFRA are described in detail. Roles and responsibilities of other federal and provincial agencies may be found within this document and/or within the PERP. It is recognized the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) has a particularly important role in coordinating provincial financial resources in emergency response and recovery.

It is also recognized that local governments and private industry organizations will have significant roles to play in response to a FAD outbreak. The details of those roles are not outlined here, as this is a Government of Canada and Government of Ontario plan for response.

Specific roles, responsibilities, emergency operations procedures and resources required to support this plan must be developed by each organization within their respective boundaries and legislative context.

Effective disease control and eradication will require all responsible agencies to work in a coordinated manner, with unified goals, objectives, strategies, response and communications.

INTRODUCTION

General

The term "Foreign Animal Disease" (FAD) refers in this document to a range of biological threats (that are not normally found in Canada) to livestock, poultry and wildlife. The source of a FAD can be live animals, animal by-products, animal products, inanimate contaminated items, other vectors (insects, rodents, etc.) and people. FADs can be introduced via many pathways accidentally or purposefully. Although their effects differ somewhat, each disease presents substantial risk to animal and possibly to human health, the economy and society.

Foreign Animal Diseases

The Office International des Epizooties (OIE) provides worldwide disease reporting services to 164 Member Countries, including Canada, on the occurrence of certain animal diseases, and establishes guidelines for international trade of animals and animal products. The OIE is responsible for international health standards and has published the Terrestrial Animal Health Code, which includes a list of diseases of concern.

Effects of FAD on the Economy

Ontario's agriculture industry and agri-businesses are major contributors to Canada's economy. An outbreak of a HC-FAD could devastate an entire class of animals for years as well as those businesses that depend on it. Subsequently, export markets would decrease, tax revenue generated directly and indirectly would diminish dramatically and consumer confidence could be compromised. In essence, a FAD could lead to economic losses of unprecedented proportions to the province and the country as a whole, and potentially threaten human health.
For example, a report from the Canadian Animal Health Coalition on the Economic Impact of a Potential Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Canada (prepared in November 2002) has forecasted a loss to the Canadian economy ranging from $13.7 billion to $45.9 billion, depending on the scale of the outbreak and the effectiveness of control strategies. It would also devastate the livestock and meat export industry for a period of up to four to seven years. While the impact would be related to the size and duration of the outbreak, a single FMD case in Canada would result in export markets being closed for at least three months.

In the case of a FAD with significant human health effects, the response urgency and economic impact may be considerably greater.

Many local, provincial and federal agencies have developed emergency response plans, some of which apply to FAD emergencies. Effective responses to large-scale FAD outbreaks will require the combined resources of public, private and non-profit stakeholders, delivered on a timely basis.

Purpose

The purpose of this plan is to outline the emergency management coordinating arrangements and roles of federal and provincial organizations/resources to assist CFIA in responding to a suspected or confirmed outbreak of a FAD especially a HC-FAD in or affecting Ontario.

This plan describes the roles of the key agencies identified as primary and supporting government agencies, and the strategies developed by the CFIA, and Ontario's PERP will form the basis for foreign animal disease outbreak planning, response, recovery and mitigation actions.

In as much as some FADs are zoonotic, this coordination may also involve the identification and control of diseases that concern public health authorities.

Scope

This plan is an agreement between Canada and Ontario and outlines the expected roles and responsibilities of primary and supporting agencies integral to a successful FAD response. As with most emergencies within the province, local activities are the most critical. However, due to international trade issues and potential national security threats and in accordance with federal legislation, the CFIA maintains federal response authority for animal disease eradication while EMO and OMAFRA provide primary support including provincial jurisdictional responsibility for public safety.

This plan provides guidance to all levels of government as well as professional animal health organizations and industry for use during a FAD outbreak. As well, it outlines events involving rapid identification, containment steps to reduce further spread of the disease and disposal of infected or exposed animals or things during an outbreak.

Applicability of Plan

This plan is not intended to provide step-by-step direction for individual agency response. That information, commonly referred to as standard operating procedures (SOPs), or guides should be developed and maintained by each agency.

This response plan was developed intentionally to cover the worst-case scenario of HC-FAD outbreak. However, management teams are reminded that sections of this plan may be utilized to effectively prepare responders for indigenous disease events as well as those that are foreign and highly contagious. This plan should be seen as a part of a larger Ontario PERP that deals with a broad range of emergencies, including those that may result from a HC-FAD

Expectations of Local Government and Industry Stakeholders

It is anticipated that local governments will define their roles and responsibilities within their respective boundaries and legislative context. It is also expected that private and industry organizations will participate to the fullest extent possible.

Agro-Terrorism

This support plan focuses on naturally occurring events, including accidental incursion of disease. Incidents that are suspicious or confirmed as international bio-terrorism or agro-terrorism will require coordination with appropriate federal and provincial law enforcement agencies with authority over the crisis management of potential crime scenes and the appropriate agencies to deal with consequence management issues. While protection of human lives and control and eradication of disease is still paramount, the response to an animal disease outbreak will be coordinated to maintain the integrity of the crime scene and assure the chain of custody of potential evidence.

Emergency Management and Animal Health

Definition of Emergency Management.

Emergency Management is the application of science, technology, planning and management principles to deal with events that can or have significantly put the health, safety, welfare and property of people at risk and disrupt community life. It encompasses the management of emergencies concerning all-hazards, including all activities and risk management measures related to the four functional areas: mitigation & prevention, preparedness, response and recovery that are universally applied in every emergency/disaster.

Four Functional Areas; Mitigation and Prevention, Preparedness, Response & Recovery

Emergency Management in animal health is the sum total of organized procedures, structures and resource management that leads to prevention of disease introduction, disease surveillance (mitigation), early detection of disease or infection of animal population (being prepared to detect and respond), prediction of the likely spread, prompt limitation, targeted control, disposal of infected, exposed and dead animals (response) and re-establishment of the industry (recovery). Foreign animal disease emergencies encompass the four functional areas of emergency management.

Mitigation and Prevention

  • Pre-disaster sustained activities to lessen the impact or likelihood of occurrence; post-disaster sustained activities to enhance preparedness and response operations should a foreign animal disease occur another time.

Preparedness Activities in Animal Health

  • Those activities which establish and delineate authorities and responsibilities for emergency actions and make provisions for having people, equipment and facilities in place to respond when the need arises. It involves planning, training, exercises, procuring and maintaining equipment and designating facilities for emergency purposes.

Response

  • Those activities and programs designed to address the immediate and short-term effects of the emergency in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

Recovery

  • Those activities and programs beyond the initial crisis period of an emergency designed to return all systems to normal status or to reconstitute these systems to a new condition that is less vulnerable.

Situation and Assumptions

Partnerships

Protecting animal agriculture in Ontario requires cooperation, participation and partnership. The CFIA has primarily national responsibility for combating FADs. However, personnel, equipment and financial resources of the federal and Ontario governments and resources from other levels of government would be required to combat a large-scale and/or a HC-FAD outbreak.

Consideration must be given to the fact that an outbreak of foreign animal disease and possible zoonotic diseases within Ontario, other Canadian provinces or the United States could pose human health threats and be devastating to the animal population and to the economic health of the country. The provincial/local response, including federal resources, is the first line of defense in an animal health emergency, the success of which likely will determine the final economic impact to the province, the country and the public. Partnerships with animal health practitioners and industry are crucial to a baseline level of preparedness.

Recognition of the condition, reporting by private veterinarians, laboratories and producers and response by emergency managers and animal health officials must be immediate. A high level of continual routine surveillance for animal diseases is necessary to quickly detect unusual conditions in animals.

CFIA Becomes Aware of a Suspect Case

Initial notification of a suspected FAD may come from a producer, abattoir, market operators and federal or provincial government inspectors at livestock markets or slaughter plants, diagnostic laboratory, local veterinary practitioner, or a public health unit who will in turn contact the CFIA Animal Health District Veterinarian.

Differential Diagnosis and Initial Assessment

CFIA Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostician (FADD) will conduct an investigation; obtain information and specimens for appropriate laboratory analysis. The Area FAD Program Officer will be notified of the inspection and findings.

CFIA determines what steps, if any are necessary to further characterize the disease occurrence based on the Epidemiology Report from the FADD performed at the time of the initial visit to the suspect premises. Notification of Public Affairs/Communications should also be considered due to significant media interest sometimes generated from suspect cases.

No Risk:

If the FADD determines that the differential diagnosis does not include a foreign animal disease, he or she will classify the assessment as "No Risk". CFIA's Area Emergency Response Team will not be alerted if the assessment is no risk.

Low Risk (Confirmatory negative submission):

If the FADD determines that there is a disease but the possibility of it being a FAD is very low, there will not be any regulatory movement control function imposed. To be certain that a FAD is not being missed, samples would be taken from the affected herd/flock and submitted as confirmatory negative.

High Risk:

If the FADD determines that the condition under investigation is "High Risk" to be a FAD he or she notifies CFIA Area FAD Program Officer who then notifies the Area Executive Director, Operations and the test samples are sent with appropriate priority to the NC-FAD laboratory in Winnipeg. The CFIA Area Emergency Response Team will be alerted for mobilization.
The CFIA Executive Director, Ontario Area, will notify the Public Safety Canada (PSC), the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, through the Chief Veterinarian of Ontario, and ensure Emergency Management Ontario is notified, through the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) either directly or through OMAFRA. The PEOC Duty Manager will in turn activate the centre to the appropriate level. The CFIA will also ensure that industry representatives are notified in a coordinated manner, as appropriate, either directly or in cooperation with OMAFRA.


CFIA will implement the appropriate FAD plan emergency strategy and lead disease control and eradication activities.
The premises will be declared an infected place. The appropriate disease control action will be taken. Before leaving the farm the CFIA Veterinarian and/or the FADD will work with the producer to institute appropriate biosecurity and public health measures, if warranted, and will thoroughly utilize the appropriate cleaning and disinfection methods for their clothing, vehicle and equipment. Appropriate biosecurity measures will be implemented for all persons on infected premises including then owner, residents and veterinary practitioners.

Actions

a) Wildlife Concerns

If the suspected disease has potential wildlife impacts, CFIA in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources will determine the appropriate response to wildlife and conduct surveillance activities of wildlife species to determine their disease state.

b) Human Health Impact

Foreign animal disease may potentially have adverse effects on public health. CFIA will work in cooperation with Health Canada, the Public Health Agency, Emergency Management Ontario, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Ministry of Labour and others as necessary so those organizations can determine the appropriate response to protect human health and welfare.

c) Public Awareness

If the disease is clearly identified as one easily transmitted by human activities, CFIA will work with the PSC, Canada Border Services Agency, EMO, OMAFRA, the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation and others as deemed necessary to provide appropriate travel guidance.

Event Management

Fundamental Elements of a FAD Response

In Ontario, emergency responses are built upon a premise of local responsibility. However effective response to a highly contagious FAD outbreak is multi-jurisdictional - posing not only a threat at the local and provincial levels, but is also viewed as threats to national security and therefore the federal government through CFIA leads the disease control response with attendant urgency. However, the provincial and municipal response is based on the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, and as such provincial entities retain authority over their respective resources.

A critical concept of a highly contagious disease is that by the time the disease has been detected it is likely that, due to the movement of animals, the disease is incubating in many herds or flocks and an immediate response is required.

FAD response requires immediate involvement of senior executive management of all levels of government.

Effective response to FAD incursion includes three fundamental components: rapid identification, spatial or geographic containment and eradication.

Identification

The first fundamental element requires rapid and conclusive laboratory identification to ensure that appropriate response activity occurs following a suspected outbreak. This is a critical element especially in cases where the agent involved spreads rapidly.

Containment

Strategic quarantine and movement control of infected and exposed animals and animal products is paramount in stopping the spread of disease. It is important to recognize that in the initial stages a complete ban of all movement of animals, vehicles and other contaminated products must be implemented to prevent the spread. As well, an in-depth analysis (trace in/out) will be conducted to determine the degree to which the disease has/may spread. This will undoubtedly impact businesses directly or indirectly as a result.

Eradication

Thirdly, the depopulation and disposal of affected and exposed susceptible animals and the resulting decontamination of all affected areas will prove critical in controlling the spread of the disease. This third element may elicit concerns over necessity and methodologies. Protocols will call for the destruction of all potentially infected and exposed animals within a specified perimeter. There may be a need to pre-emptively slaughter large numbers of high-risk species or to consider vaccination in certain disease scenarios. Concerns for the numbers destroyed and the manner of euthanasia and disposal will be key issues. It is therefore essential that clear, standardized methodologies for addressing these above issues be coordinated among diverse agencies.

Incident Management System/ Incident Command System

While it is recognized that CFIA has expert personnel on staff to deal with most FAD emergencies, the potential for multiple, simultaneous outbreaks or a single massive event would likely overwhelm their existing staff and resources. In this scenario, an Incident Management System (IMS) will be utilized to address decision-making for a multi-agency response.

Incident Management is a standardized system designed to allow different government and private sector organizations to operate cohesively when facing an emergency, while maintaining individual jurisdictions. The IMS defines basic command structure, roles and responsibilities required for the effective management of emergencies. The IMS is designed to ensure that accurate information flows between all emergency respondents and that appropriate response activities are undertaken in a timely manner.

The IMS enables all agencies - local, provincial and federal - that have a primary or supportive role in case of FAD to contribute to the development and implementation of a common response strategy. Effective eradication will require all agencies to work in a coordinated manner, through a unified command structure in the development of an Incident Action Plan, under common goals, objectives, strategy, and joint communications.

Emergency Operations Centre Management

When full mobilization is initiated by the CFIA, integration of provincial and federal resources is required.
Activities required for the control and eradication of the FAD will be managed through the CFIA's Area Emergency Operations Centre in Guelph. The AEOC will be led by the CFIA with support from the CFIA's National Emergency Operations Centre and the province's Central Coordination Group (CCG) and Agency Representatives within the AEOC.
Other activities with respect to the FAD will be managed through the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) in Toronto. The operational authority for directing the provincial response is centred in the Command Section which is comprised of senior representatives from the provincial government as well as a representative from the CFIA.
When requests for additional provincial resources have been identified at the AEOC, the request will be communicated to the PEOC.

Coordination of Emergency Information for the Public and Media

During an emergency, accurate and timely information must be shared with the general public and the news media. In order to coordinate the information from federal, provincial and local governments, affected agencies will need to work together on developing public information products. In the case of Ontario, this coordination is achieved through the Emergency Information Plan, whereby the Emergency Information Section (EIS) in the PEOC brings together all affected ministries as well as federal departments. Similarly, information produced during a FAD could be coordinated through the Joint Information Centre (JIC) in the AEOC. At the federal level, reachback support for public information is provided by CFIA Public Affairs in Ottawa and Government of Canada Emergency Operations Centre. Implementation of the emergency specific communications plan will be jointly run through the JIC and EIS. The objective of the plan will be to:

  • Coordinate information among industry, local, provincial and federal governments for dissemination to the public and news media.
  • Provide local government, the public and the media with written, verbal and electronic information about the response to the FAD and its potential impact on the agricultural industry and food sector.

Emergency Information Centres

In the event of an FAD, Ontario will activate the provincial Emergency Information Section (EIS) at the PEOC. It is expected that if the JIC is not set up through the AEOC, a local Emergency Information Centre (EIC) will be established at the point of the initial outbreak to assist media desiring a first-hand look at the affected areas while respecting biosecurity and movement control restrictions and to provide information to local residents.

Government and Public Organizations with Responsibilities under the FADERP

Primary Federal Agency


Primary Federal Agency

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Supporting Federal Agencies


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Canada Border Services Agency
Department of Justice
Health Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Public Safety Canada
Environment Canada

Primary Supporting Provincial Agencies

Emergency Management Ontario
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Supporting Provincial Agencies

Ministry of Government Services
Ministry of the Attorney General
Ministry of Community and Social Services
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Ministry of Economic Development and Trade
Ministry of Environment
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Ministry of Labour
Ministry of Natural Resources
Ministry of Northern Development
Ministry of Transportation
Ministry of Tourism and Recreation

Local Governments

Local governments are expected to develop and maintain emergency response plans that include animal issues, resulting from disasters and disease outbreak.

Local governments will be notified by provincial authorities, via the PEOC, if a quarantine of suspected FAD is in effect within local boundaries. Communications with regard to local government response capabilities is crucial. Operations will take place through existing local emergency management infrastructures. While protecting the provincial and national interest, CFIA respects and depends on this local infrastructure when containing a FAD.

Organizations and Privately Owned Businesses

Private organizations have a great deal of interest in a response plan of this type because members are greatly affected by the outcome. They are encouraged to develop and practice their own response plan or procedures.

Private enterprises such as producers, producer organizations, auction markets, slaughtering establishments, renderers and livestock transport companies will be notified by CFIA and /or OMAFRA when an animal disease emergency exists. It is expected that Industry will develop emergency response plans in support of the FADERP and actively participate in a response.

A crucial role of professional organizations and businesses will involve communication. It is expected that organizations within the agriculture community will seek an active role in gathering information from federal and provincial authorities, disseminating that information to their members and providing industry statements to the media.

CFIA expects local stakeholders to participate in their individual FAD outbreak preparedness and response efforts as well as actively contribute to and support CFIA FAD preparedness and response.

Organization Structure

This plan endorses the development of one organizational response structure that will include all responding agencies. This plan is based on Incident Management System guidelines and predicated on the understanding that this framework will be utilized to manage all emergency response operations that require multiple agency and intergovernmental coordination and support. The terms Incident Management System and Incident Command System are synonymous within the context of this plan and should be considered equivalent.

Ontario Area Emergency Operations Centre (AEOC)

When a FAD occurrence requires a full mobilization of the CFIA's Animal Health Response Team, an Ontario Area Emergency Operations Centre (AEOC) will be activated to manage and direct activities specific to core disease control and response functions. A CFIA declaration of emergency provides the authority to CFIA to access a Memorandum of Understanding with Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). Under this memorandum, PWGSC, at the request of CFIA, will secure facilities for an AEOC and may be requested to provide furniture and telecommunications systems, in accordance with the current AEOC Facility Standards.

An AEOC organization structure may be appropriate for coordinated response among multiple agencies with jurisdictional or functional responsibilities. It would promote collaboration to jointly develop a common set of objectives through a single Incident Action Plan in support of foreign animal disease response. The AEOC would consist primarily of representatives from the CFIA with support by OMAFRA staff. Representatives from other supporting departments (i.e. MOE, MTO, OPP) as well as municipal and industry groups may also be asked to participate and provide their knowledge and expertise when developing the Incident Action Plan.

The size and composition of the AEOC may vary according to the requirements of the particular circumstances, as determined by the AEOC CFIA Director.
The AEOC serves as support in that it:

  • Coordinates support activities that could not occur at a site,
  • Coordinates multiple agencies, including federal, provincial, local, and industry.
  • Acquires resources at regional, provincial, and national levels.
  • Directly provides and seeks policy guidance from senior officials at, the appropriate level

As the lead Agency responsible for the control and response of an FAD, the role of Director of the AEOC will be designated by the CFIA Ontario Executive Director. The CFIA Ontario Associate Executive Director will most often assume this position. Any positions activated by the Director will be staffed with the appropriate CFIA personnel. OMAFRA may also be asked to provide personnel that may work as an Agency Representative or Deputy at the appropriate level.

FAD Central Coordination Group

The Foreign Animal Disease Central Coordination Group (CCG) is responsible for strategic guidance and policy interpretation between the CFIA and OMAFRA in support of the response to a foreign animal disease (FAD) event. The CCG provides a forum for collaboration in providing strategic support the Director of the Area Emergency Operations Centre (AEOC). Any decisions that cannot be resolved at the AEOC Director level will be discussed with the Central Coordinating Group if there is an impact on the Province of Ontario.

The CCG is also responsible for communication of the current status, pending action plans, and future resource needs to high levels of government (e.g., the Minister or an Ad/Hoc Committee of Cabinet). The AEOC receives strategic guidance from the Central Coordination Group (CCG). The CCG is comprised of the following representatives:

ChairOntario Area Executive Director, CFIA (or designate)
Primary Ministry Executive Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer, Food Safety and Environment Division, ADM, OMAFRA(or designate)
 Other senior executives and officials from other supporting agencies as required

 

The CCG has no operational role, and relies upon the Director of the AEOC to manage all operational functions.

PEOC Coordination

a. Lead Agency - CFIA

CFIA shall be the lead federal agency for foreign animal disease control and eradication. As such, the CFIA Area Executive Director will act as the primary response coordinator for animal disease control activities by directing CFIA resources in Ontario through the AEOC in Guelph and local incident command posts.

b. Interagency Coordination - PEOC Command Section

The Command Section, consisting of provincial and federal senior representatives from the agencies with jurisdiction in the event will be formed at the PEOC to provide interagency executive coordination. The PEOC Command Section will be led by the Chief, EMO and will include senior representatives as necessary. The Command Section will normally convene at the PEOC in Toronto and will work closely with the AEOC in Guelph to ensure cross-jurisdictional coordination; appropriate response priorities and to ensure accurate public information. This cross-jurisdictional coordination will be facilitated by OMAFRA's Agency Representatives that are within the CFIA AEOC.

AEOC and PEOC

The overall provincial cross-ministry response operation will be directed and coordinated from the PEOC. The PEOC is responsible for the delivery of assistance and services in support of local field operations and as such, regular communications between the AEOC and PEOC are vital to the successful management of a FADERP emergency.

The PEOC is responsible for the overall coordination of provincial government's response, including assisting communities in responding to major emergencies by providing advice, assistance and support in coordinating the provision of additional resources. Further, the PEOC may deploy either an EMO representative and/or other provincial staff to the community to assist in coordinating provincial emergency response assistance. Throughout the emergency, the PEOC will provide timely support, information and analysis to support local field operations and communities.

Implementation and Coordination

Initial Assessment and Detection

Practicing veterinarians, livestock producers, market operators, poultry producers, animal owners, inspectors at livestock markets or slaughter plants will likely be the first to notice an unusual condition/disease in their animals.

The concerned individual should make contact with a private veterinarian, the Animal Health Laboratory (AHL) or CFIA. If a FAD is suspected, the concerned individual, private veterinarian or the AHL must notify the CFIA Animal Health District Veterinarian. Notification may also come from public health authorities in cases of zoonotic disease.

A CFIA toll free 24 hour, 7 day a week line (1-877-814-2342) has been established to facilitate the reporting. If the AHL is involved in this notification to CFIA, the AHL will also inform the Chief Veterinarian of Ontario that it has notified CFIA of a possible FAD.

CFIA Animal Health District Veterinarian will assign a Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostician (FADD) to conduct an investigation by examining animals and conducting epidemiological analysis. Should the investigating FADD determine that the differential diagnosis does include a foreign animal disease, he or she will classify the assessment as 'no risk', 'confirmatory negative' or 'high risk'. The FADD, in consultation with the CFIA FAD Program Officer, will collect specimens and send those samples via priority transportation to the NC-FAD for further analysis.

CLASSIFICATION

'No Risk' Scenario

No notification outside of CFIA will be made.

 

'Confirmatory Negative' Scenario

Confirmatory Negative is a situation where a FAD is not likely but cannot be ruled out without laboratory testing. After evaluating the situation CFIA may issue a quarantine if movement control could be an issue. CFIA notification is restricted to a limited number of CFIA staff. In the unlikely event that a positive or suspicious laboratory result is received, the notification of OMAFRA as per a high risk submission would be implemented.

'High Risk' Scenario

If the FADD determines that the condition under investigation is 'high risk' to be a FAD, the FADD notifies the CFIA FAD Program Officer and test samples are sent to the NC-FAD laboratory in Winnipeg as high risk status for further analysis. CFIA will notify PSC, and OMAFRA and ensure EMO and industry are notified either directly or through OMAFRA. CFIA will quarantine the premises. Before leaving the establishment the FADD will work with the producer to institute appropriate biosecurity and will apply appropriate cleaning and disinfection protocols with respect to his or her clothing, equipment and vehicles as well as those of the owner and others located at the farm. If the disease is a zoonosis, the producer will be advised of human health implications.

Public Health

If the suspected animal disease has potential public health impacts, CFIA will contact Health Canada, Public Safety Canada and OMAFRA who will in turn contact Emergency Management Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. CFIA, Health Canada, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ministry of Labour in partnership with EMO, will determine and coordinate the appropriate response to protect human health and welfare.

Wildlife

If a suspected foreign animal disease is identified in wildlife and is first reported to the Ministry of Natural Resources, they in turn will report this information to CFIA District Veterinarian. If the disease has potential livestock impacts, MNR in cooperation with CFIA and others, as appropriate, will determine the required response activities.

Notifications

After laboratory results are obtained, these additional classifications are applicable: Negative, Inconclusive, and Positive (presumptive and confirmed).

Presumptive Positive

If a highly contagious FAD index case is classified as 'presumptive positive' or 'confirmed positive' the following guidelines will be implemented.

  1. Presumptive Positive: clinical signs consistent with a FAD plus positive initial laboratory results or strong epidemiological information.
  2. Confirmed Positive: agent is isolated, identified and there are clinical signs consistent with FAD.

CFIA will notify the Public Safety Canada, the Office des Epizooties International as per the International Animal Health code and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs who will in turn notify Emergency Management Ontario,
Emergency Management Ontario will elevate the activation level of the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre and assemble the appropriate representatives for response activities in support of CFIA. The PEOC will coordinate requests for provincial resources from AEOC and municipalities, and assist in the coordination of federal resources if required.

CFIA shall ensure that appropriate agriculture industry stakeholders are notified in a coordinated manner that a FAD threatens animal agriculture when a case is found "presumptive' or 'confirmed' positive. The sensitive nature of the information should be made clear at the time of notification.

As well, CFIA will notify appropriate government and industry stakeholders if a highly contagious foreign animal disease is confirmed in another province, the USA or Mexico.

Direction and Coordination

CFIA maintains authority at the AEOC with regard to disease surveillance animal and animal product quarantine, and animal disease eradication and control measures. The province, through the PEOC and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, provides support in carrying out the disease control and eradication activities and coordinating response to issues of provincial jurisdiction.

Field operations and coordination with local government officials will be maintained through the Incident Command Post. The ICP is expected to be located in proximity to the outbreak. The animal health incident commander will be a CFIA District Veterinarian (or designee). Multiple sites may be considered depending on the scope of the incident.

If Ontario is threatened by the disease in a neighbouring province or state, CFIA will take the lead role tracing imported livestock, livestock products, stepping up surveillance, establishing movement/border restrictions, education/communication, etc.

Implementation

The following represents joint CFIA/OMAFRA/EMO response objectives to be considered within the first 24 hours of a "high risk" of a FAD:

  • Place a quarantine and initiate appropriate bio-security measures.
  • Ensure timely laboratory processing of the sample(s) for disease confirmation
  • Identify index case (source of initial infection) and trace spread.
  • Establish the Core Executive Committee and the AEOC
  • Establish contact between impacted local governments and the PEOC
  • Establish support needs for containment security and enforcement of CFIA orders.
  • Complete notifications of response personnel and agencies senior management.
  • Increase surveillance/monitoring in uninfected areas.
  • Expand education/public outreach to stakeholders.
  • Complete appropriate public notification.
  • Prepare news releases and other public information products as appropriate, including information on human health impacts.
  • Establish inter/intra agency communications.
  • Assist with food safety assessment.
  • Perform crime scene assessments, when appropriate.
  • Disseminate an emergency structure and responsibilities for field operations.
  • Identify appropriate personnel needed for support from each agency.
  • Obtain heavy equipment, supplies and resources required.
  • Request MMAH to assist with disaster declaration process for local government(s).
  • Identify all needs for assisting depopulation including carcass disposal.
  • Activate the C-EMRS (data management system) and establish a GIS mapping support capability at the AEOC.
  • Perform an assessment of health needs of responders, producers and farm workers, and public if zoonosis is identified.
  • Provide support, as needed to Incident Command Posts, mobilization centres and staging areas.

 


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 27 August 2009
Last Reviewed: 27 August 2009