December 2012 CFIA VM Group Newsletter
A. Foreign Animal Disease Emergency Response Team
CFIA-VM Group Executive Position Statement
Veterinarians in CFIA play an important role in the planning, preparation and response to foreign animal disease outbreaks in Canada.
The requirement of CFIA to respond to animal emergencies is found within the Emergency Management Act.
4. (1) The Minister’s responsibilities under section 3 include
(a) establishing policies, programs and other measures respecting the preparation, maintenance, testing and implementation by a government institution of emergency management plans
The requirements extend beyond the simple preparation of an emergency response plan and include the testing and maintenance of that plan. CFIA has responded to Avian Influenza outbreaks starting in 2004 where trial and error was the predominate theme. Through time, working groups and the efforts of many dedicated CFIA employees, the response plans for avian influenza have been refined into an effective procedure.
The same can not be said for other animal diseases such as classical swine fever or foot and mouth disease. CFIA may have a plan to eliminate those diseases when they enter Canada, but that plan doesn’t include how those animals will be destroyed or disposal of carcasses. Practicing a plan to determine if it works and what improvements need to be made is a critical part of any emergency planning. The real planning is not deciding IF we will eliminate FMD, the real planning is deciding HOW we will eliminate FMD or control it while we are eliminating it.
CFIA has never clearly identified the managers who have the authority, the responsibility and the budget to ensure our emergency preparedness plans for diseases like foot and mouth are fully developed and tested. Without the necessary funding and staff, the project management for such a large responsibility has fallen on individuals who recongize the importance of this work and who have tried to maintain working groups in spite of their lack of authority and budgets.
CFIA veterinarians understand that while the probability of FMD or other serious terrestrial animal disease of multiple species entering Canada and infecting our livestock industry remains thankfully low, so long as import conditions are met, the consequences of such an outbreak are so severe and economically devestating to this country that CFIA must have an effective emergency response plan. The cost of a tested and effective plan vs an ineffective one that was never tested can mean the difference between a relatively short outbreak and one that spreads thoughout the country and establishes the disease within our territory, making it much more difficult to eradicate. Without rigourous real time testing of plans we have no idea where our weaknesses lie.
B. CFIA-VM Group Bargaining
Bargaining has entered the mediation phase, with a meeting scheduled for December 10th-13th, 2012. The mediator will attempt to facilitate a new Collective Agreement between CFIA and PIPSC VM Group. Should an agreement not be reached, either side may seek to have the dispute go to an adjudication board. Adjudication boards have been reached for other groups; you can locate these decisions at the following website.
C. Individual Learning Plans
Members of the CFIA-VM Group are encouraged to add attendence at the Professional Update Course to their Individual Learning Plan. The course needs to be supported by VM’s in this way to demonstrate to CFIA that VM’s support this training initiative.
D. Work Description Grievances
The process is continuing with PIPSC engaging CFIA to move these files forward.
E. VM Group Executive Elections 2012
Call for Nominations will be sent out shortly for elections to be tabulated no later than March/April, 2013. Five positions are open: the Atlantic Representative; the Ontario Representative; the Quebec Representative, and two Members at Large positions.
December 12, 2012