Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

July 10, 2009 13:20 ET

Canada's Economic Action Plan: Harper Government Invests in New Livestock Traceability Initiative for Canadian Farmers and Consumers

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 10, 2009) - The Harper Government is investing $20 million to build a vital link in the traceability chain that tracks Canadian livestock from the grocery store back to the original farm gate.

Today, Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz along with Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture) Jean-Pierre Blackburn announced a new Livestock Auction Traceability Initiative at the conclusion of the annual federal-provincial-territorial meeting of agriculture ministers.

"Strengthening Canada's traceability system will make it easier for individual Canadian producers to get credit and premium prices for the top quality meat products they provide to families in Canada and around the world," said Minister Ritz. "A superior traceability system also helps protect the security of our food supply by allowing us to quickly and effectively track down a potential problem before it can spread. This will, in turn, help us open up new markets for Canadian livestock producers on the world stage."

"Our Government is showing strong leadership by making key investments in traceability systems that will deliver real benefits to both livestock producers on the ground and to families at the local grocery store," said Minister Blackburn. "We are pleased to see provinces such as Quebec and Alberta are implementing their own innovative traceability initiatives and we want to build on that success by helping all regions to build a national system."

The investment will allow Canadian auction marts, assembly yards, fairs and exhibitions and privately managed community pastures to upgrade facilities to help in the identification and tracing of individual animals.

"Our Government is working closely with Canadian producers to make sure traceability systems work throughout the entire value chain," said Minister Ritz. "This particular initiative responds to producers' request to ensure that traceability respects the speed of commerce."

The Government of Canada will deliver $20 million through the Livestock Auction Traceability Initiative to upgrade handling systems in facilities to keep track of individual animals as they are mixed with other herds in auction marts and other facilities such as community pastures. Funding for this program will come from the $500-million Agricultural Flexibility Fund, announced as part of the Economic Action Plan to help the sector adapt to pressures and improve its competitiveness.

This initiative will build upon federal-provincial-territorial Growing Forward investments to enhance Canada's traceability capacity. The federal government is working with its provincial and territorial counterparts to find the best way to deliver this new initiative. As delivery arrangements are confirmed, application details will be made available.


A national livestock traceability system is an important tool to address animal health or food recall incidents, and a growing prerequisite for competing internationally with other livestock producing countries.

The Livestock Auction Traceability Initiative is a three-year, $20-million program to enhance traceability capacity where live animals routinely commingle, such as auction marts, assembly yards, privately-owned community pastures, fairs and exhibitions. Commingling sites are considered high-risk areas because diseases could be easily transmitted.

Contributions under this initiative will assist commingling sites in altering the animal handling structures, which could include physical infrastructure changes, building modifications and technical and trade services, for example, purchasing and installing gates or pens.

The Government of Canada is also supporting traceability under Growing Forward with other inter-related traceability programs.

1. The Canadian Industry Traceability Infrastructure Program is a fund for national industry-led projects for animal and product identification and movement recording. Many national livestock organizations have already submitted projects for review under this program.

2. Enterprise Infrastructure is a cost-shared program administered by provinces and territories under Growing Forward to provide training and technology support to individual farms and firms.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    The Office of the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn
    Sophie Doucet
    Press Secretary
    Cell: 613-608-3252
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Meagan Murdoch
    Press Secretary