Last month’s update focused on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) annual audit with Scrapie Canada. The article explained that the goal of this audit is to evaluate the National Scrapie Project Coordinator’s compliance when it comes to processing producer files for the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program (VSFCP). The article highlighted that the Scrapie Project Coordinator’s compliance is based upon the rules and regulations laid out in the VSFCP’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
This month’s update is a continuation of that discussion, detailing how the annual audit and required compliance of the SOP impacts producers enrolled on the VSFCP.
Scrapie Canada is required to process all files in line with the rules laid out in the SOP. As a result, producers should be aware of, and adhere to, all program rules so they can continue to successfully advance on the VSFCP. A full copy of the SOP can received by calling Scrapie Canada or by going online to: http://www.scrapiecanada.ca/VSFCPappeal.html
Some of the more important rules that producers need to be aware of are stated below:
Temporary suspensions and revocations can be appealed by the producer. This means, if a producer does not agree with an imposed temporary suspension or revocation, or can give justification for missing an imposed deadline, he/ she can send a formal letter of appeal to Scrapie Canada.
All appeals are reviewed by a separate Scrapie Appeal Committee made up of representatives from the Canadian sheep and goat industries. The Scrapie Project Coordinator sits on the appeal committee as a non-voting representative, as does a representative from the CFIA.
Appeals can also be made when a producer’s situation falls outside of the program’s SOP, meaning it is not covered in the current set of rules.
The SOP is reviewed on an annual basis and producers are encouraged to offer suggestions for changes, questions and/ or feedback. Any feedback received through the year will be considered in the subsequent review. The SOP review usually takes place between June and July each year.
As mentioned in last month’s update, the CFIA uses the annual audit report and compliance to the SOP as evidence that Canada is running a credible and consistent program that is being audited and improved on an annual basis. This evidence is presented during trade negotiations with partners like the U.S. or other international communities.
It is important to once again emphasize that while the credibility of the program is imperative to our trading partners, it is also important to ensure that the program is working well and in the best interest of Canadian producers.
Scrapie Canada encourages producers to offer any questions or feedback regarding the VSFCP. The most important goal is to have a strong, credible program that works for the industry.
Funding for the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program is provided through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) AgriFlexibility program. Opinions expressed in this document are those of the Canadian Sheep Federation and not necessarily those of AAFC.