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Complying With CFIA Transportation Regulations

Anyone looking to transfer animals to or from Canada must comply with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) transportation regulations. Doing so is not optional and


Canada Cross Border Freight
October 2, 2019
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Anyone looking to transfer animals to or from Canada must comply with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) transportation regulations. Doing so is not optional and it’s vital any business owner looking to start transporting animals in or out of the country understands these regulations comprehensively. By following the CFIA regulations, businesses can ensure smooth and safe transportation, while also delivering a humane way of transporting animals.

The CFIA is a regulatory agency and is governed by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. In the guide below, you’ll find out more about the agency and the CFIA transportation regulations in more detail. Anyone in the business of transporting animals, food or plants in or out of Canada needs to follow these regulations carefully.

What is CFIA ?

As mentioned above, CFIA stands for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and they cover animals and plants, as well as food entering or leaving Canada. The agency was created to allow for the inspection services of different departments, including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Health Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. It also united all of Canada’s federal animal health, food safety and plant health regulatory systems.

CFIA is focused on delivering regulations that are guided by science and other important factors that impact Canada and its people. The acts and regulations enforced by CFIA aim to reduce things such as preventable health problems and ensure animal products and other foods meet regulatory standards domestically and internationally. In global markets, it’s important Canadian exports are able to compete effectively and the CFIA helps to make that possible.

One of the most important CFIA transportation regulations is the Health of Animals Regulations Part XII: Transportation of Animals. It outlines the rules surrounding the commercial transportation of animals. It was brought forward in the Health of Animals Act to ensure Canada aligned with international industry standards as well as scientific and societal expectations around the humane transportation of animals.

Who Does Humane Transport Benefit?Who Does Humane Transport Benefit

When we’re discussing the Health of Animals Regulations Part XII: Transportation of Animals, you might first of all wonder why this matters and who benefits most from this? Well, there are numerous answers to that and in the end, most parties benefit from humane transport regulations and practices. Of course, the wellbeing of the animals is vital, and more and more people want to know that they’re buying meat from animals that were humanely treated, and that includes during transportation.

In many countries, poor treatment and transportation of animals has led to problems with the quality of the meat. One example of this comes in the form of bruising. When animals are prodded and mistreated during transportation, they’ll receive bruises that lower the quality of the meat. Furthermore, the stress to the animals that comes with mistreatment can cause them to become sick, which creates even bigger problems down the road since slaughterhouses will not accept unwell animals. That’s clearly not a good thing for the owners of the animals looking to sell them in international markets.

By introducing legislation that necessitates the humane treatment of livestock, owners of that livestock will benefit in the long-term. It will also benefit the end buyers in this process because they’ll purchase higher quality meat. Even employee safety can be improved because when animals are treated humanely, they’re less likely to rear up or run at employees.


Who is Subject to CFIA Transportation Regulations?Who is Subject to CFIA Transportation Regulations

Anyone involved in the transportation of animals is subject to these regulations and must abide by CFIA transportation regulations. They also apply to anyone involved in the confinement of animals. They’re all bound to hand the animals in a humane manner that prevents the animals from coming to any kind of harm. This is why skilled, competent and trained handlers must carry out this kind of work so that harm to the animals can be avoided.

It’s also important that the stress the animals are exposed to is kept to a minimum. Best practices during the transportation process result in less stress for the animals, while also delivering a less stressful working environment for employees at the same time. Both of those two things are important when it comes to transporting animals. It’s only possible if the people involved have the necessary skills, however. Good training is a must and choosing the right people to work with is essential for importers and exporters.

Those directly and indirectly involved in the transport of live animals have to abide by Part XII: Transportation of Animals. This includes animal handlers, transporters, importers, exporters, producers, owners of the animals, buyers, processors and assembly centers. Even feed, water and rest stations are subject to these regulations. This is not a comprehensive list of who these regulations apply to, however. That’s because anyone who’s involved in the transport of live animals is subject to humane transport regulations, regardless of their role.

The regulations are not negotiable and they are enforced equally across the board, whether you’re an exporter or a buyer. This is part of what makes the CFIA transportation regulations so effective — they apply to everyone involved in the transportation process, even those involved indirectly. It lowers the risk of inhumane treatment happening at any point during the transportation process.

When Do CFIA Transport Regulations Apply?

CFIA transport regulations apply to all forms of transportation used to move animals. That includes motor vehicles, aircraft, carriages, railway cars, trailers, cargo containers, vessels, crates or cages. Anything that’s used to transport animals is regulated by the CFIA’s Part XII: Transportation of Animals regulations. It’s also the case that every aspect of the animal transport process have these regulations applied to them. These include:

  1. The selection of animals, ensuring they’re fit for transportation and confinement necessitated by the mode of transportation
  2. The withdrawal of deed and water as well as rest opportunities ahead of the loading and confinement of the animals for transportation
  3. Handling the animals during the loading process
  4. Loading the animals into any kinds of crates or containers
  5. Transport and all related confinement of the animals
  6. Unloading the animals
  7. Ensuring the correct timing for access to feed, water and rest after transportation

This entire transport process begins when the animals are handled or the first action of the process is taken. This might be the withdrawal of food, water and rest of moving the animals to a pen ahead of loading. Any action that’s done to prepare for the process of transportation counts as the beginning and this is when the CFIA transportation regulations apply.

So, when do these regulations end? There are a few instances when the regulations might stop applying. For example, if the animal enters the stunning chamber ahead of slaughter or the animal is to be slaughtered and has reached the maximum interval of time for receiving feed, water and rest, the regulations no longer apply.


Where Do Inspections Take Place?

When an inspection is carried out by the food inspection agency (CFIA), it will almost always occur on your property. The federal employees representing the CFIA has the legal authority to enter your property for purposes of inspection because there’s legislation that outlines this right. The purpose of these inspections is to ensure businesses are complying with the various forms of CFIA legislation that are in place.

There are various types of inspections and you should know a bit about each of them. The first is scheduled on-site inspections. These are agreed ahead of time and you’ll know when they’re happening. There are unannounced inspections that take place if there’s a concern or the CFIA is responding to a complaint that’s been made by an employee, citizen or another government agency or department. 

If there’s a food recall situation that impacts your business, there might need to be an emergency inspection carried out. And sometimes, there’ll be inspections for sampling purposes or ahead of requested services. If there have been previous non-compliance issues, follow-up inspections will be required as well. 

When you have a CFIA inspector arrive at your property to carry out an inspection, whether it’s a scheduled or unannounced inspection, they will identify themselves and show you identification so you know that they’re legitimate and are who they say they are. They are also duty-bound to treat you in a fair and respectful manner, offering an unbiased inspection while they’re there.

As part of their inspection, they collect information that helps them to verify whether or not your business is compliant with the legal regulations. They might look at your records, collect samples, take photos and talk to various people involved in running the business. Everything from licenses and permits to equipment maintenance and quality management systems will be assessed during the inspection.

Animal Handling from Loading to UnloadingAnimal Handling from Loading to Unloading

The way in which animals are handled is one of the most important aspects of humane transportation. Of course, they need to be loaded onto transportation vehicles and unloaded when they reach their destination. The way in which loading and unloading processes are handled has a big impact on both the physical and mental wellbeing of the animals ahead of slaughter. If these considerations are not made, businesses could find themselves breaching CFIA transportation regulations.

Here are some of the most important aspects of handling animals from loading to unloading:

  • Facilities that are suitable for humane unloading, handling, housing and stunning processes. They should be tailored to the requirements of the species.
  • Ante-mortem inspection areas that are as close as they can be to the unloading docks.
  • Timely unloading procedures that don’t leave animals waiting without food or water for any longer than necessary.
  • Suitable loading and unloading ramps that are designed to prevent things like slips and falls that can lead to distress and injuries.
  • Electric prods should only be used in extreme cases and not as a routine part of moving animals during loading and unloading.
  • Animals should not be made to move at a faster speed than their regular walking pace. This, again, helps to avoid falls, injuries and distress.
  • Proper training protocol for employees involved in handling, loading and unloading animals.

Of course, compromised animals should have special provisions put in place for handling, loading, unloading and general transportation. This prevents any undue suffering taking place before the animal is humanely slaughtered.


Weather and Ventilation for Animal TransportWeather and Ventilation for Animal Transport

It’s important to take into account the weather conditions and ventilation needs of animals during their transportation. Pigs and poultry are particularly susceptible to problems and stress caused by hot weather conditions and if they overheat during transportation, it can lead to a range of problems. Using ventilation through fans can help to address these concerns and ensure animals don’t overheat and suffer health problems because of the temperature.

This is particularly important of the unloading process is delayed for whatever reason. The animals should be kept in the shade whenever possible and you should use water sprinklers or misting to ensure they’re kept cool while they wait to be unloaded. Another technique that’s recommended is driving the truck around to provide air ventilation to keep the animals cool. This is essential for when fans aren’t available.

When dealing with overheated pigs, it’s best to use water sprays that have large droplets. The water should be cold but don’t use a lot of water because this can lead to a shock in the pig’s system. Ventilation can then be used to help evaporate the water on the pig’s skin, helping to cool it further.

There are other steps that can be taken to improve the humane transportation of animals during the summer months. For example, monitoring the weather and adjusting the ventilation accordingly, delaying loading in extreme heat and reducing the loading density for transportation are all things that can help. 

Feed, Water and Rest for Humane TransportFeed Water and Rest for Humane Transport

The acronym FWR is used to refer to feed, water and rest. These are three of the most important aspects of human transportation of animals. There are different regulations that apply to different species of animals. And people transporting animals need to provide FWR access at intervals that don’t exceed those outlined in the regulations for that species or condition of the animal. However, simply providing water, feed and rest at the required intervals is not enough on its own according to CFIA transportation regulations.

It’s also necessary to take into account outcome-based requirements. So, even if FWR is accessed by the animals at the correct intervals, you can still be held to account if animals become dehydrated or suffer as a result of not having enough rest time. Rest periods are no less than eight consecutive hours and needs will change depending on the condition of the animals and the weather conditions as discussed above.

Here’s more information about different animals and the maximum allowed intervals without feed, water and rest:

  1. Compromised animals of any species and regardless of size, age, sex and breed can only go without feed, water and rest for a maximum of 12 hours.
  2. Livestock, camelids and cervids that are 8 days old or younger, as well as ruminants that can’t yet be fed only on grain and hay, can only be left without feed, water and rest for 12 hours. And that 12 hour period can only happen once and can’t be repeated.
  3. Broiler chickens and rabbits can only go without water for 24 hours and 28 hours without feed.
  4. Porcine species can only be left without feed, water and rest for a maximum of 28 hours.
  5. Equine species can only go without feed, water and rest for a maximum of 28 hours also.
  6. Bovine species and other adult ruminants that can be fed on only hay and grain can go without feed, water and rest for a maximum of 36 hours.
  7. Day-old poultry can go without feed, water and rest for a maximum of 72 hours in a single period and can’t be repeated.
  8. All other animals can go without feed, water and rest for a maximum time interval of 36 hours.

The feed and water provided to the animals must also be of the right type and should be determined by their species and age. It needs to be provided to them in a way that makes the risk of any kind of contamination minimal and the accustomed methods of feeding and watering these animals should be taken into account.


CFIA Stakeholder Engagement

CFIA is a regulator and as such, it makes an effort to engage with stakeholders and learn more about their needs and requirements. This helps to facilitate positive and productive relationships between companies and the government agencies regulating the work they do on a day to day basis. These include individual companies including micro-businesses and small businesses, as well as academia and other institutions.

There are representative industry associations and groups that are engaged by CFIA and other organizations external to the government of Canada. Indigenous and cultural groups are consulted regarding the impact livestock and food industries have on their lives. And Canadians, in general, are consulted as consumers of the products that are produced by these industries.

Different levels of government are also consulted and engaged with on these issues and how they vary from place to place. These include municipal, provincial and territorial governments. The regulator also engages with foreign governments and international organizations regarding exports.

What Are Transfer of Care Regulations?What Are Transfer of Care Regulations

Transfer of care regulations is related to the transfer of an animal or animals from the care of the transporter to the care of the receiver. This handover is important because it’s not just about handing over the animals; it’s just as important to hand over information relating to those animals. Once the transfer of care has taken place, the receiver assumes the responsibilities previously held by the transporter.

This is especially important in regard to the FWR provisions that need to be delivered. There will be a written notice between the transporter and the receiver and once that notice has been acknowledged by both parties, the responsibilities shift. The transporter has the responsibility of protecting animals and providing information about the animals and anything that relates to their continuing care needs. This information might include  FWR provisions and anything else that’s relevant.

No matter where the transfer of care happens, whether it’s from a seller to a buyer or whether it takes place at a slaughter establishment or auction market, a written transfer of care is required. The duty of care only takes place if that written transfer is provided. Under CFIA regulations, animals are not to be left anywhere by the transporter until the written transfer of care has been provided. The written transfer of care must contain the names of the transporting company and drive, the receiving company and their representative, as well as date, time of arrival, the condition of the animals and the date and time of the last feed, water and rest. The receipt of the animals must then be acknowledged by the consignee.

What Kind of Records Do I Need to Keep Under CFIA Regulations?

Keeping records helps to ensure that you’re ready for an inspection. These records will be assessed by CFIA officials and they’re required under the agency’s regulations. Any commercial carrier and anyone else who transports animals in the course of their business needs to record and keep written records of each animal shipment. These records must be made when loading animals and require, at least, the following details:

  • The name and address of the producer or shipper, as well as the receiver and the transport company and driver’s name
  • The registration number or other form of ID number of the conveyance used to transport the animals
  • The number of square meters or feet available to the animals in the container or conveyance
  • The date and place that the conveyance and container were last cleaned, including disinfectant cleaning
  • The date, time and location that the animals arrived in the driver’s custody
  • Details of the animals in the load, including species, class and other information that’s relevant
  • The last time the animals were provided with feed, water and rest
  • The date time and place of unloading

As we discussed above, there are certain types of information that need to be provided in the written transfer of care document. Some of that information will be the same as the information provided in the records here. If there’s an overlap, there’s no need to repeat the same information twice. The transfer of care document should simply be recorded and can then be used to assess that information if and when an inspector from CFIA wants to access it.


Commercial Animal Imports into CanadaCommercial Animal Imports into Canada

There are important requirements set out by the National Animal Health Program and CFIA. These requirements apply to both farmed animals and pets, including non-traditional pets. Non-traditional pets such as goats, sheep, pigs and poultry pose the same kinds of risks as many farmed animals. This means they are subject to the same conditions.

The CFIA can refuse any animal presented for importation entry into Canada. That’s why it’s important to understand the import restrictions and requirements outlined by CFIA. The Automated Import Reference System makes this easy. You can make an application to import animals this way and then track your application.

When importing dogs commercially, the age of the dogs matter. If they’re younger than 8 months, a permit is required before you can legally import the dog or dogs into Canada. But if they’re older than 8 months, no permit is required at all. There are some exceptions, such as if a dog is registered in a competition, show or trial; then they won’t need a permit even if they are under the age of 8 months. Importing dogs from Canada into the United States comes with similar guidelines.

Commercial Animal Exports from Canada

There’s an export program in place in Canada that oversees the exportation of animal products and their by-products in a safe and humane way. There are many different rules and regulations depending on the breed of the animal and these must all be paid close attention to if you’re going to be exporting animals. Live animals need to have Animal Health Certificates before they can be exported from Canada.

There’s a wide range of rules and regulations relating to the import rules in the countries you’re exporting to that need to be taken into account too. The Canada Food Inspection Agency website provides all of these details. You can easily find the information you need regarding the animals that you’re exporting from Canada and which Canadian International Health Certificates they might need depending on where they’re being exported to.

Certificates and Permits Needed to Export and Import Animals

As mentioned above, there’s a range of certificates, including Canadian International Health Certificates that are required if you want to export animals from Canada. The animals you’re exporting from Canada must also be of Canadian origin, so you can’t export animals that have already been exported into Canada from another country. This is only possible if a re-export request is agreed to. 

When applying for certificates to export animals from Canada, information regarding the mode of transport will be needed. This is done to ensure the right health and safety standards are met and animals are transported in humane ways in accordance with the regulations set out by CFIA, as discussed above in this guide. It’s also necessary for any relevant permits to be sought from other Canadian government agencies or other countries ahead of exportation.

In terms of importing animals into Canada, permits are required and can be applied for. Things like details of housing and care for the animals will need to be provided, as well as measures taken to ensure their proper care as they’re being imported into the country. 

Humane Transport for Animals and Logistics PartnersHumane Transport for Animals and Logistics Partners

Transporting animals into or out of Canada is a big task and as you now know, there are lots of regulations that have to be followed during the process of transporting them. That’s why using logistics partners with good reputations and an ability to carry out this work carefully and compliantly is so important for many companies. These partners can take care of a lot of the work for you, making life easier for you processors, sellers and owners.

Any reliable logistics company that deals in the transportation of animals and has a good track record will know the importance of humane transport. They’ll understand the CFIA transportation regulations very well if they have experience of importing and exporting in Canada. That’s what you need because they’ll be representing your business when you’re using their services to commercial transport live animals.

Many logistics partners offer worldwide services and are able to meet the needs of sellers and anyone looking to commercial import or export animals. For most, it makes sense to use logistics partners and have this work carried out by providers and professionals who have the expertise and experience to get it right every time.

A partner that follows the regulations is essential but what also separates a great transporter from a good one is that they can hit the required transport time. Which is an alternative way to say that they make on-time deliveries. You should aspire to find such a partner, since it will make your operations run better.

Transporting Animals with R+L Global Logistics

If you’re looking for a logistics partner who will be sure to comply with CFIA transportation regulations, R+L Global Logistics is the best choice. Offering leading professionals in domestic and international shipping, our company has proven itself a reliable and high-quality provider of freight services. We offer humane animal transportation services in alignment with CFIA transportation regulations. They understand the needs of their clients and the regulatory requirements they’re obligated to meet.

R+L Global Logistics offers a wide range of importing and exporting services, as well as global logistics services, domestic shipping and international shipping with more than 99% on-time delivery. This makes R+L Global Logistics a strategic partner for the humane transportation of animals, whether domestically or internationally. We also offer high-quality client support and services that are specific to your industry. R+L Global Logistics can help with freight forwarders in Canada and how to ship freight to Canada. Other services offered by R+L Global Logistics include:

  • Warehousing
  • Fulfillment services
  • Product distribution consulting
  • Customs house brokerage services
  • Kitting and assembly
  • Pick and pack
  • And more

You can contact R+L Global Logistics to find out more about the services and how they can help with your particular transportation needs. They work in several states and cities across the border, including Idaho and in Oroville, Wa. also appreciate the importance of animal welfare and put regulatory compliance high on their list of priorities when carrying out this kind of work, so can trust in them to deliver the outcomes you’re looking for.

R+L Global Logistics understands CFIA transportation regulations and is ready to get your live animal shipment on the move.


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