Chapter 1 - Overview
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- 1.1 Accredited Veterinarian's Mandate
- 1.2 Accreditation Agreement
- 1.3 Quality control (updated July 2021)
- 1.4 Special provisions (updated July 2021)
1.1 Accredited Veterinarian's Mandate
This module describes the authority for activities and duties performed by accredited veterinarians.
1. An accredited veterinarian is a veterinarian who is authorized under the Health of Animals Act to perform certain duties and functions in support of the National Animal Health Program.
2. Canada's earliest accredited veterinarians date to December 18, 1896, when the Minister of Agriculture for Canada and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agreed that the services of veterinarians in private practice could be used in the examination, testing, and certification of livestock being exported to either country.
3. The duties and functions of an accredited veterinarian, as well as the terms and conditions of accreditation, are described in the Accredited Veterinarian Agreement (CFIA/ACIA 1625). The Accredited Veterinarian's Manual provides instructions and specifications for the conduct of those duties and functions. Knowledge of and adherence to the agreement and the instructions in this manual will permit the delivery of the National Accredited Veterinarian Program in a consistent and uniform manner that addresses the combined needs and expectations of the Canadian livestock industry, the public, and Canada's international trading partners.
4. The Embryo Export Program is a specific process that lies outside the Accredited Veterinarian Agreement and the scope of this manual.
Health of Animals Act and Regulations
5. Accredited veterinarians perform their functions under the authority of the Health of Animals Act, which provides the enabling legislation for the Health of Animals Regulations.
6. The purposes of the Health of Animals Act and Regulations are to prevent the introduction of animal diseases into Canada; to control and eliminate diseases in animals that either affect human health or could significantly affect the Canadian economy; and, to provide for the humane treatment of animals during transport.
7. The sections of the Act and Regulations which provide the authority for accredited veterinarians are:
- Section 34 of the Health of Animals Act, which provides authority for the Minister to enter into an agreement with any qualified person to perform such duties or functions as the Minister may specify, on such terms and conditions as the Minister may specify;
- Section 69 of the Health of Animals Regulations, which requires that no person shall export out of Canada livestock, poultry, animal embryos, or animal semen unless the importation requirements of the country to which it is being exported have been met and the person has obtained a certificate of a veterinary inspector, or a certificate of an accredited veterinarian endorsed by a veterinary inspector, issued before shipment that clearly identifies the livestock, poultry, animal embryos or animal semen and the animal source. The certificate must show that a veterinary inspector or an accredited veterinarian has inspected the livestock, poultry, animal embryos or animal semen and found them to be free from any communicable disease. The certificate must also show the date and place of inspection and, if tests have been performed, the nature of each test and that the livestock, poultry, animal embryos, animal semen or the donors of animal embryos or animal semen proved negative to such tests. The export certificate must bear the mark of the official export stamp;
- Section 73.1 of the Health of Animals Regulations, which provides for an accredited veterinarian to test animals for disease in an eradication area;
- Subsection 99 (2) of the Health of Animals Regulations, which provides for an accredited veterinarian to mark or otherwise identify any animal inspected.
- Section 102 of the Health of Animals Regulations, which provides for an inspector to affix seals or other devices to a conveyance, container or other thing, for the purposes of the Act and these Regulations.
8. Irrespective of provisions of the agreement, any veterinary practitioner has a legal obligation under the following:
- Section 5 of the Health of Animals Act to provide notification of the presence of a reportable disease to a veterinary inspector;
- Sections 138, 140, 142-144, 148 of the Health of Animals Regulations with respect to the transportation of animals;
- Section 177 of the Health of Animals Regulations with respect to the identification requirements of transported or received animals and section 187 of the Health of Animals Regulations with respect to the reporting of approved tags to the responsible administrator.
1.2 Accreditation Agreement
The Accredited Veterinarian Agreement (CFIA/ACIA 1625) is a legal instrument authorizing licenced private veterinarians to perform duties such as completion of international health certification under the authority of Health of Animals Regulations. Veterinarians wishing to perform duties under the CFIA's National Accredited Veterinarian Program must enter into an agreement with the CFIA. There is an additional legal authority separately required. This module describes the process of obtaining accreditation, the scope of an agreement, renewal and termination of an agreement, and the separate legal authority.
How to obtain accreditation
1. Veterinarians must be licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the place where they will perform duties and functions as an accredited veterinarian, and in the case of the Yukon be authorized in accordance with Government of the Yukon policy and practices.
2. Veterinarians must either attend a "Pre-accreditation Orientation and Training Session" for accredited veterinarians or have successfully completed an approved Regulatory Medicine Undergraduate Certification Program at a Canadian veterinary college.
3. Veterinarians must possess the knowledge and skills required to fully perform all duties and functions of an accredited veterinarian in accordance with the terms and conditions specified in the agreement.
4. The veterinarian's conduct and performance must not compromise, or otherwise impair, the ability to perform duties and functions as an accredited veterinarian. Any improper or illegal activity, action, or inaction on the part of the individual that is deemed to compromise one's ability to perform duties and functions as an accredited veterinarian, or that conflicts with the intent or objectives of the National Animal Health Program, will render the individual ineligible to be authorized to perform duties and functions as an accredited veterinarian.
Application and authorization
5. Veterinarians seeking to become accredited should contact the CFIA district veterinarian responsible for the geographic area in which the veterinary practice is located.
6. The district veterinarian will review the terms and conditions of accreditation with the individual, outline the role and responsibilities of accreditation, and complete an Accredited Veterinarian Agreement (CFIA/ACIA 1625) with the veterinarian. The agreement is not valid until authorized.
7. The completed CFIA/ACIA 1625 is reviewed and individuals are authorized to perform duties and functions identified on the completed form only after it is signed by the Area Animal Health Program Manager.
Modifications to scope of agreement
8. The activities that an accredited veterinarian is authorized to perform are limited to the specified province or territory and to the duties identified on the agreement. Veterinarians seeking expanded authorization to perform duties in additional provinces in which they are licenced, or veterinarians wishing to perform additional duties at the current location, will require authorization of a new agreement. The first step is contact with the district veterinarian and completion of the CFIA/ACIA 1625. In the case of new duties, the district veterinarian will provide training on performance of the new duty before forwarding the application for authorization.
Renewal of the Agreement
9. The expiry date for an Accredited Veterinarian Agreement is displayed in the "Authorization" section of the agreement. It is the responsibility of the veterinary practitioner to reapply in advance of the expiry of an agreement by contacting and meeting with the district veterinarian. The district veterinarian will evaluate the work performance of the accredited veterinarian and complete the form CFIA/ACIA 1625 with the accredited veterinarian seeking re-accreditation. Veterinarians whose agreements have lapsed must receive confirmation of authorization of a replacement agreement to continue performing accredited duties beyond the expiry date of existing agreement. Veterinarians, who have allowed their agreements to lapse, will have their names removed from the list of authorized accredited veterinarians. Nevertheless these veterinarians may reapply for accreditation within 18 months without being required to attend the training and orientation course.
Termination of the Agreement
10. An accredited veterinarian may terminate the agreement before expiry by forwarding a notice in writing to the responsible district veterinarian. The CFIA may terminate an agreement when the individual ceases to be a licenced veterinary practitioner or when there is evidence of failure by an individual to meet the terms and conditions of the Accredited Veterinarian Agreement.
11. If there is evidence that an accredited veterinarian failed to meet the terms and conditions of the agreement or predecessor agreements, the CFIA may without notice suspend the authorization of that individual as an accredited veterinarian. When authorization is suspended, a notice of suspension will be issued in writing to the veterinarian stating:
- the grounds for suspension;
- that it is proposed that the veterinarian's accreditation and agreement (CFIA/ACIA 1625) be cancelled;
- that the veterinarian will have an opportunity to be heard in respect of the proposed cancellation;
- the proposed date of the hearing or other such date, within a limited period of time, that the veterinarian advises is suitable;
- that the veterinarian may attend the hearing in person, with or without counsel or other representation; and
- the notice shall be communicated by personal delivery to the veterinarian.
12. An accredited veterinarian's authority to perform duties and functions as an accredited veterinarian and the accreditation agreement will not be cancelled unless:
- the accredited veterinarian was advised of the opportunity to be heard in respect of the cancellation and was given that opportunity; and,
- a notice of cancellation of accreditation and the accredited veterinarian's agreement was delivered to the veterinarian.
13. The Minister's decision with respect to the suspension or cancellation of accreditation is final.
14. When an accredited veterinarian's authority to perform duties and functions as an accredited veterinarian have been cancelled, the CFIA may disclose and release information in respect of the cancellation to the responsible veterinary licensing body. The information shall include and not be limited to the reason for the cancellation.
Additional legal authority
15. Accredited veterinarians and technicians employed by accredited veterinarians require specific authorization and designation as inspectors under the CFIA Act to apply seals to conveyances in respect to the export of cattle, bison, sheep and/or goats to the U.S. Apply for designation at a CFIA district office.
1.3 Quality control (updated July 2021)
This module describes quality control measures for inspection and certification by accredited veterinarians.
1. The primary focus of the National Accredited Veterinarian Program is to maintain and enhance confidence in domestic and international markets for Canadian animals and animal products through its reliance on an inspection and certification process that consistently meets specific requirements or standards.
2. The quality control measures employed by the CFIA in this program aim to provide assurance that individuals conducting inspection and other authorized activities are qualified by means of professional licensing and training, have access to and have thorough understanding of the requirements, and that the individuals establish controls over inspection processes so that the requirements can be uniformly met.
3. In addition to professional licensing requirements, eligibility requirements for accreditation demand that a veterinarian possess the knowledge and skills required to perform the authorized duties and functions. The accredited veterinarian is therefore responsible for the ongoing maintenance of current knowledge. While maintaining current knowledge is the responsibility of the veterinarian, the CFIA may offer specific technical and non-technical training to accredited veterinarians from time to time.
Inspection or certification requirements
A clear understanding of requirements is necessary before commencing any tests or inspections.
4. Requirements are articulated specifically in export and other certificates, with additional instructions and guidelines found in this manual. The current electronic version of this manual and certificates, as well as a print version, is available. A module list is located at the beginning of the manual and can be referred to for the status of the modules.
5. In addition, the CFIA provides a subscription service for accredited veterinarians to be notified by e-mail of updates to this manual. It is strongly recommended that individuals sign up to receive these automated e-mail notifications in order to remain current on program requirements.
6. A significant resource to the accredited veterinarian in addressing requirement needs is the district veterinarian who can provide current documents, information and advice, and where necessary, references to external guidelines or standards such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH; founded as Office International des Épizooties (OIE)).
7. As part of the quality control system, the accredited veterinary practitioner is required to keep current and up-to-date copies of the procedures and instructions contained in this manual that are relevant to functions for which that individual has been accredited. Old documents and certificates are to be discarded to prevent the unintended application of outdated requirements.
Process controls and protocols
8. Test, inspection and export certification documents completed by an accredited veterinarian are routinely reviewed by a district veterinarian during the process of providing the required CFIA endorsement. From this ongoing monitoring of paperwork, an accredited veterinarian can expect to receive communications from the responsible district veterinarian if there are deviations in work performance that compromise the certificate or program.
9. An accredited veterinarian should not certify animals, animal products and other things that do not or cannot conform to the requirements for which they are being inspected. The source of nonconformance may arise from the nature of the requirements, or from the ability of a producer or processor to present animals or products that are suitable for inspection and certification. In the latter situation, application of suitable process controls may be of assistance in mitigating nonconformance.
10. In maintaining and enhancing confidence in the ability of the Accredited Veterinarian Program to meet the inspection and certification requirements for Canadian animals and animal products, the CFIA requires accredited veterinarians to conform to the terms and conditions of the Accredited Veterinarian Agreement (CFIA/ACIA 1625) and, if there is nonconformance, to undertake actions to bring activities into conformance. Depending on the nature and degree of nonconformance, the action initiated may include simple instructions from the district veterinarian, a more formal verbal or written warning, or in rare instances suspension and cancellation of the CFIA/ACIA 1625 as outlined in 1.2 Accreditation Agreement.
Supervision and audit
11. Test, inspection and export certification documents completed by an accredited veterinarian are routinely reviewed by a district veterinarian during the process of providing the required CFIA endorsement. From this ongoing monitoring of paperwork, an accredited veterinarian can expect to receive communications from the responsible district veterinarian if there are deviations in work performance that compromise the certificate or program.
12. Each CFIA district veterinarian is required to formally visit each accredited veterinarian at regular intervals to verify that the work performed is in compliance with the authorized CFIA/ACIA 1625 and with the instructions set out in this manual. As part of the verification process, the district veterinarian may require that on farm activities are witnessed.
1.4 Special provisions (updated July 2021)
The CFIA's National Accredited Veterinarian Program allows accredited veterinarians to perform certain testing and regulatory functions. This module details the use of technicians and areas of professional obligation.
Use of technicians
1. For the purpose of the Accredited Veterinarian Program, the CFIA allows the delegation of dutiesFootnote 1 of an accredited veterinarian to a technician. A technician is defined under these circumstances as an individual who is employed by the accredited veterinarian and has been thoroughly trained by the accredited veterinarian to assist with the testing and inspection of animals.
2. An accredited veterinarian may be assisted by a technician when inspecting and testing animals in the course of performing duties and functions as an accredited veterinarian. Except for technicians designated as inspectors under subsection 13(3) of the Canadian Food Inspection Act for the purposes of the Health of Animals Act as described below, any activity performed by a technician in assisting an accredited veterinarian must be done under the direct supervision of the accredited veterinarian.
"Direct supervision" means the veterinarian is close by so that the veterinarian is available to attend to the animal as competent veterinary practice requires.
3. Any report or test submission form prepared by a technician must be signed by the accredited veterinarian who performed the inspection of the livestock, poultry, animal embryos, or animal semen identified on the certificate.
4. The accredited veterinarian is responsible for his/her employee(s) and assumes all financial obligations and liability in relation to activities performed by employees when assisting in the performance of duties and functions as an accredited veterinarian.
5. Digital signature can only be used for submitting Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) information electronically through a CFIA-approved electronic certification system. Accredited veterinarians are responsible for the security and proper use of their digital signature when its use is allowed, and shall take reasonable care to prevent its misuse. Only accredited veterinarians are authorized to sign documents using their password protected electronic signature. Other clinic staff does not have the authority to be part of the signing process. Utilization of your electronic signature by anyone other than yourself would be considered a breach of your agreement as an accredited veterinarian and would render the form invalid. Please note that provisions of article 10 from your Accredited Veterinarian Agreement also apply to the electronic submission of documents through an electronic system.
6. Technicians who are employees of accredited veterinarians may apply to be designated as inspectors under the Canadian Food Inspection Act specifically for the purpose of affixing CFIA approved seals to conveyances carrying cattle, bison, sheep and/or goats to the U.S. or Mexico under section 102 of the Health of Animals Regulations.
7. Accredited veterinarians must provide the CFIA district office with the names of technicians working under their supervision that require designation as inspectors, so that the appropriate designations may be completed. Accredited veterinarians also have the responsibility to update (add/delete) this information with the supervising district office.
8. Accreditation is on a province-by-province basis. Accredited veterinarians must inform their CFIA district veterinarian if they would like to perform accredited veterinarian functions in another province. A pre-requisite is that the accredited veterinarian must be licenced to practice veterinary medicine in that province or territory before accreditation will be authorized. Export documents relevant to a particular location are to be stamped for export and endorsed by the district veterinarian or veterinary officer responsible for the local district, unless prior suitable arrangements have been made. The district in which the practice is headquartered is responsible for audits.
9. If an accredited veterinarian moves:
- to another location within the same district, the accredited veterinarian only needs to advise the district veterinarian of a change of address;
- to another district in the same area or province, the accredited veterinarian is required to contact the district veterinarian responsible for that district to assure the transfer of files and responsibility;
- to another province, the accredited veterinarian is required to report to the district veterinarian responsible for the district. A new authorized agreement (CFIA/ACIA 1625 - Accredited veterinarian agreement) will be required;
- to another country, the accredited veterinarian is required to report the intended move to the district veterinarian. The accreditation agreement will be suspended. If the accredited veterinarian returns before the agreement has expired, the accredited veterinarian can have the accreditation reinstated if the district veterinarian is satisfied that duties can be performed.
10. Export documents should be endorsed by the district veterinarian responsible for the district in which the animals originate except when prior suitable arrangements have been agreed upon.
Conflict of interest
11. Unless otherwise stated in this Manual, it is considered a conflict of interest for accredited veterinarians to inspect, test and/or certify their own animals, or any animal in which they have a financial interest, in performing duties as an accredited veterinarian. Having a "financial interest in" refers to any arrangement where the accredited veterinarian directly benefits financially from the performance or sale of the animal.
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