VSFCP National Standards (Revised June 2017)

National Standards Index

1. Roles and Responsibilities

1.1 National Standards Development and Audit

This role and the associated responsibilities will be assumed by the CFIA in all situations. The CFIA is responsible for the development, using a consultative process, of national (minimum) standards for a scrapie flock certification program. Modifications and updates to these standards will be undertaken as required. The CFIA is responsible for providing the current national standards to the organizations responsible for regional administration. (See point 1.2 below.)

Where the regional administration is assumed by organizations other than the CFIA, it is the CFIA’s responsibility to review any scrapie flock certification program proposed for the specific region of Canada and determine equivalency to the published national voluntary scrapie flock certification program standards. International negotiation for recognition of the program and endorsement of export certification by the CFIA will only be done for those scrapie flock certification programs judged by the CFIA to meet the national standards.

The CFIA is responsible for conducting audits of program design and implementation to verify that the scrapie flock certification program in a particular region of Canada meets the national standards.

The CFIA is responsible for the design and implementation of a quality assurance program for non-CFIA laboratories performing transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) testing, and laboratories providing genotyping for scrapie susceptibility. All confirmatory testing on suspect or positive scrapie tissue samples will be performed by a CFIA laboratory. In the case of a confirmed positive animal, the CFIA will implement an official disease control program. Discrepancies between genotyping results from two laboratories will be subject to final genotype testing by a CFIA laboratory.

The CFIA is responsible for ensuring a publicly accessible report (e.g. published on the website) of all enrolled flocks and herds and their status is maintained. This report will be updated on a quarterly basis.

1.2 Regional Administrator

This role and the associated responsibilities may be assumed by a national or provincial industry group, the provincial government or the CFIA Program Network. The regional administrator is responsible for overseeing enrolment and membership in the scrapie flock certification program for a particular region of Canada, including the following:

  • developing a program that meets the national standard;
  • developing and distributing a contract (application form) for entry into the program;
  • developing and distributing forms required for the program, including application forms, annual reports, inventory reports and flock/herd status certificates;
  • collecting and collating all data on enrolled flocks or herds in that region;
  • issuing certificates indicating the status of a flock/herd;
  • issuing a certificate indicating that a sheep is a member of a herd enrolled in the certification program and indicating the status of the flock/herd;
  • informing the CFIA VSFCP coordinator of the status of all enrolled flocks/herds on a quarterly basis; and
  • designing an appeal process for decisions made with respect to the voluntary flock certification program, e.g. regarding compliance with national standards.

Scrapie Information & Facts


Prior to shipping any samples, be sure to read all information concerning packing and shipping samples.


52 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK, CANADA, S7N 5B4
PHONE: 306-966-7316


Agri-Food Laboratories Branch
TSE Laboratory
6909 – 116th Street
Edmonton, AB Canada, T6H 4P2
Phone: 780-422-4830
Facsimile: 780-415-4527



Laboratory Services, a division of
the University of Guelph
Building 49, OVC, Box 3612,
Guelph, ON, Canada, N1H 6R8
Phone: 519-824-4120 X: 54544
Fax: 519-821-8072


Veterinary Services Branch
Veterinary Diagnostic Services
545 University Crescent
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 5S6
Telephone: 204-945-8220

1.3 Status Assessment or Status Assessor

The role of assessor of flock/herd status may be assumed by a national or provincial industry group, the provincial government or the CFIA district office. The status assessor is responsible for the following:

  • receiving and reviewing completed applications for enrolment into the VSFCP;
  • accepting a flock or herd into the appropriate level of the program or informing the producer or the responsible veterinarian of any outstanding requirements that prevent enrolment at that time;
  • verifying that initial and annual flock/herd inventories and additional records for all additions and deletions are complete;
  • suspending VSFCP status in the event of reported irregularities;
  • investigating flocks/herds that are suspended and proceeding with reinstatement or revocation of VSFCP status;
  • updating the regional administrator of the VSFCP of changes in the status of a flock or herd (additions, suspensions, revocations) as they occur; and
  • implementing the appeal process to determine whether an exemption should be granted for enrolled owners who failed to comply with national standard program requirements.

1.4 Program Delivery

Program delivery is carried out by a veterinarian accredited by the CFIA. A CFIA veterinarian or a veterinarian who is an employee of a provincial department that is the status assessor or regional administrator may also carry out program delivery, and can be substituted anywhere the services of an accredited veterinarian is required in the standards. The inventory portion of the initial or annual report may be conducted by an accredited veterinarian, an animal health technician supervised by the accredited veterinarian, a CFIA veterinarian, or staff of a provincial department or agency that is the status assessor or regional administrator.

Veterinary practitioners are authorized (accredited) by the CFIA or the appropriate provincial government to perform inspections, to take samples for diagnostic or genotyping purposes and to check records.

To obtain accreditation, a veterinarian must successfully complete the training indicated in the Accredited Veterinarian’s Manual or its provincial equivalent.

The accredited veterinarian must sign the application form completed by the owner.

If the owner decides to stop doing business with the accredited veterinarian who signed the original application form, the new accredited veterinarian must be asked to sign a copy of the form, or – if the situation has changed – a new application form.

In rare instances where a flock or herd has been subject to CFIA disease control actions as a result of being declared positive for scrapie, a CFIA veterinarian may act as the program delivery person for the VSFCP during the mandatory follow-up period for deadstock surveillance, for a period of five years, regardless of pathway joined.

Program delivery personnel are responsible for the following:

  • reviewing the requirements of the program and responding to questions from the owner of the premises applying for or enrolled in the program;
  • teaching the owner to recognize the clinical signs of scrapie, and providing information on the epidemiology of the disease and flock/herd management;
  • conducting or supervising a flock/herd inventory including verifying requirements are met for any males with an individual status level;
  • assessing the health of the flock/herd to determine whether any sheep or goat is demonstrating signs of scrapie;
  • immediately notifying the CFIA of the existence of any animal suspected of having clinical scrapie;
  • reconciling records to ensure that the program requirements are met;
  • signing reports, including the annual inventory, and submitting them to the status assessor;
  • collecting or supervising the collection of samples, and submitting them for genotyping;
  • collecting and submitting tissue samples from deadstock if there is a request from the owner to do so; • identifying structures on a premises that may have been used to feed, water, contain or birth small ruminants (if necessary);
  • being familiar with priocidal agents and the correct concentration to which they must be made; and
  • supervising and approving appropriate cleaning and disinfection of a premises (if necessary).

1.5 Laboratories

Laboratory approval is accompanied by training and the implementation of a quality assurance program established by the CFIA. A member of the laboratory staff must have taken CFIA training in order to be able to supervise scrapie tests and ensure that the quality assurance program is followed. Laboratories providing diagnostic testing services for the VSFCP are responsible for the following:

  • collecting, preparing and testing tissue samples in accordance with the CFIA national protocol for the diagnosis of scrapie or genotyping blood samples for codon 136 and 171 of the scrapie incubation gene;
  • participating in the quality assurance program designed by the CFIA Laboratories Directorate;
  • forwarding suspect samples to the appropriate CFIA laboratory (Ottawa –Fallowfield) for confirmation (the results not being reportable to the owner or the accredited veterinarian);
  • providing the required forms;
  • providing appropriate shipping containers;
  • notifying the owner, the accredited veterinarian responsible for the flock/herd and the status assessor of negative test results;
  • assessing whether a tissue sample is adequate to permit diagnosis of scrapie and notifying the owner, accredited veterinarian and status assessor of samples that are not adequate; and
  • disposing of tissues and carcasses in accordance with the environmental regulations in force in the province and territory. (Positive carcasses must be disposed of by burial or incineration.)

1.6 Producers

In this program, an owner is a person who owns the premises and the animals on the premises. A producer is a person who has responsibility for the care and handling of all animals on a premises; this person may or may not be the owner.

The owner of a flock/herd wishing to enrol in the VSFCP is responsible for the following:

  • identifying animals in the flock/herd;
  • providing the necessary facilities and assistance for inspection and handling of the animals;
  • obtaining the services of a veterinarian accredited by the CFIA or the province to deliver the VSFCP;
  • assisting the accredited veterinarian in conducting annual inventories;
  • obtaining, maintaining and compiling all relevant documentation of animal acquisitions and departures (keeping records);
  • depending on the program pathway being followed, submitting the appropriate tissue samples for laboratory analysis with appropriate animal identification;
  • immediately reporting to the CFIA district veterinarian any animal suspected of being clinically affected by scrapie;
  • agreeing, with reasonable notice, to make the animals and records available so that the accredited veterinarian, the provincial regulatory agency and the CFIA can inspect them; and
  • if stocking a new flock/herd on a new premises for the purpose of retaining a higher status, determining whether small ruminants have been contained on the premises in the last 10 years.
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