National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) Winnipeg

The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) Winnipeg is located on Treaty 1 territory, the traditional land of the Anishinaabeg (Ojibway), Ininiwak (Cree), Anishiniwak (Oji-Cree), Dakota Oyate (Dakota) and Denesuline (Dene) peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.

About the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is a science-based regulator with a mandate to safeguard the food supply, protect the health of plants and animals, and support market access. The Agency relies on high-quality, timely and relevant science as the basis of its program design and regulatory decision-making. Scientific activities inform the Agency's understanding of risks, provide evidence for developing mitigation measures, and confirm the effectiveness of these measures.

CFIA scientific activities include laboratory testing, research, surveillance, test method development, risk assessments and expert scientific advice. Agency scientists maintain strong partnerships with universities, industry, and federal, provincial and international counterparts to effectively carry out the CFIA's mandate.

Winnipeg Laboratory - Aerial shot of building, main entrance

The NCFAD in Winnipeg is part of the National Centres for Animal Disease within CFIA Science, along with the National Centre for Animal Diseases in Lethbridge, Alberta. The NCFAD is located within the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, a secure facility shared with the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory.

NCFAD provides state-of-the-art scientific expertise and technologies for the prevention, detection, control and reporting of foreign animal diseases, zoonotic infections and emerging diseases. The adverse health effects, as well as the high cost of control and eradication, make these diseases serious threats to the health and economic wellbeing of Canadians and their animal resource base.

In addition to operating containment level 2, 3, and 3Ag (for larger agriculture) laboratories, the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease also operates a containment level 4 laboratory, which provides the ability to work safely with the most serious zoonotic viruses. A level 4 laboratory is designed for dangerous agents that usually produce very serious and often untreatable diseases in humans, which can be spread easily through airborne or casual contact.

What we do

Laboratory services

  • Laboratory scientists and technical experts diagnose a large number of foreign animal diseases including, but not limited to:
    • avian influenza virus
    • foot-and-mouth disease virus
    • classical and African swine fever viruses
    • Nipah virus
    • Hendra virus

Research activities

  • Research activities include test method development, test validation and pathogenicity studies for foreign animal diseases and emerging or zoonotic diseases. National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease provides proficiency testing for the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance Network.

Reference laboratories

The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease is designated as a reference laboratory by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH; founded as Office International des Épizooties (OIE)), with the following areas of expertise:

  • African swine fever
  • classical swine fever
  • highly pathogenic avian influenza and low pathogenic avian influenza (poultry)
  • foot-and-mouth disease

WOAH Reference Laboratories are designated to pursue the scientific and technical problems relating to a specific disease or topic. Its role is to function as a centre of expertise and standardisation of diagnostic techniques for its designated disease.

The reference laboratory is involved in cutting-edge research and training of highly skilled personnel from countries all over the world.

FAO Reference Centre

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recognises NCFAD as a reference centre, with the following areas of expertise:

  • foot-and-mouth disease and vesicular diseases
  • zoonotic and emerging pathogens

In this role, NCFAD provides scientific advice and expertise, training and proficiency testing.

Support services

  • The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease offers a course on foreign animal disease recognition, diagnosis and pathogenesis for CFIA field veterinarians, private-practice veterinarians, and veterinary pathologists from Canada's teaching colleges, provincial diagnosticians, as well as international veterinarians.

Scientific techniques

  • National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease has developed a strong capacity in bioinformatics, especially genomics, in foreign, zoonotic and emerging diseases. With the use of state-of-the art instrumentation, National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease scientists can identify, sequence and characterize known and unexpected pathogens, as well as trace their origin and evolution.

Quality management

All CFIA laboratories are accredited in accordance with the International Standard ISO/IEC 17025, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) provides accreditation for routine testing, test method development and non-routine testing, as identified on the laboratory's Scope of Accreditation on the SCC website. Accreditation formally verifies the CFIA's competence to produce accurate and reliable results. The results are supported by the development, validation and implementation of scientific methods, conducted by highly qualified personnel, using reliable products, services, and equipment, in a quality controlled environment. Participation in international proficiency testing programs further demonstrates that our testing is comparable to laboratories across Canada and around the world.

Physical address

National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease
1015 Arlington Street
Winnipeg, MB
R3E 3M4

More information

Learn about other CFIA laboratories.