Animal Health Act, 2009
Reporting and Compensation Regulations
OMAFRA's Animal Health and Welfare Branch
Ontario's Animal Health Act
The Animal Health Act, 2009 (the Act) was created to keep Ontario's animals safe and the agri-food industry strong, which in turn protects Ontario families and strengthens our economy.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) needs to be able to respond to animal health events in a timely manner to control serious diseases and other significant hazards.
That's why the province has created a reporting regulation under the Act which allows OMAFRA to get information quickly, monitor new and emerging animal health hazards and respond accordingly.
In the reporting regulation, there are reporting requirements for third-party animal health laboratories and for practicing veterinarians. There are no new requirements for livestock and poultry producers to report hazards.
The compensation regulation under the Act provides the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs with the discretion to pay compensation to those who have incurred certain costs or losses as a result of actions taken or orders issued under the Act.
Effective January 1, 2013, animal health laboratories in Ontario are required to report findings of the hazards listed in the reporting regulation, to OMAFRA.
The immediately notifiable reports will be used to assess how much risk the individual incident poses and the appropriate level of response needed. This may range from no action, to education, to inspection and implementation of control measures.
The annual reports will be used to identify new and emerging trends and to assess the need for preventive programs.
Note that a veterinarian practising in Ontario who sends a sample to a laboratory located outside Ontario is required to report that laboratory's findings of any immediately notifiable hazards to OMAFRA (laboratories outside Ontario are not required to report to us). Veterinarians are not required to provide an annual report.
The regulation also requires veterinarians to report findings of a very serious nature that could have implications for animals at multiple premises or that could pose a serious risk to human health. This requirement is intended to capture situations such as a possible new and emerging disease, or hazards such as a contaminated animal product entering the food chain.
The veterinary profession in Ontario has the knowledge, experience and capacity to address most animal diseases and other hazards without government involvement. It is only the unusual threats and hazards with significant animal and public health risks that this regulation seeks to address.
How to Report
Note that the provincial reporting requirements do not affect existing federal reporting requirements to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Owners of animals should call their local private veterinarian when their animals are sick. The veterinarian and laboratory will determine if reporting is required.
Laboratory reports are to be made electronically in a format agreed to by OMAFRA. Individualized arrangements for establishing these reports will be made with each third-party animal health laboratory in the province.
Veterinarians reporting unusual or emerging hazards are to call the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300. An OMAFRA veterinarian is on-call seven days a week to assess such reports.
Effective January 1, 2013, compensation may be paid, at the Minister's discretion, to owners who have incurred costs or losses as a result of actions taken under the Act.
For example, compensation could be paid to owners for the value of animals that are destroyed or injured as a result of actions taken under the Act. Compensation could also be paid for cleaning and disinfection costs or for costs associated with destruction and disposal of an animal or thing.
The compensation regulation clarifies details around eligibility for payment. It sets out limits for payment amounts as well as considerations that could result in reduction or refusal of a payment.
For example, compensation will not be paid by OMAFRA for costs or losses incurred as a result of actions taken under other legislation.
For more information on the reporting and compensation regulations, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/animalhealth
Links to the legislation as well as to the following helpful documents can be found there:
Guidelines for Laboratories and Veterinarians Concerning the Regulation for the Reporting of Hazards and Findings under the Animal Health Act, 2009 (Ontario)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Concerning Regulations under the Animal Health Act, 2009 (Ontario)