President's Message

Animal health has a direct impact on the health of Canadians, the environment and economy. Applying the proper risk assessment techniques, based on scientific knowledge and international best practices, can help to mitigate negative impacts of animal health events. The Council’s latest expert panel report, Healthy Animals, Healthy Canada, addresses this critical subject. The report was released this September at the University of Calgary and is available on the Council’s website.

In 2009, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, on behalf of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), asked the Council of Canadian Academies to assess the state and comprehensiveness of risk assessment techniques in animal health sciences (with particular attention to risks which could impact human health). In the age of BSE, SARS and H1N1, understanding the potential for and consequences of a disease is essential, so that governments, industries, and other stakeholders may better position themselves to take the necessary steps to mitigate the risks. Animal health risk assessment is a key tool that can be used for this purpose.

Given the frequency with which animals are shipped between countries, there is a risk that a disease can be brought into Canada if imported animals are infected or are carriers. The comprehensive evaluation of disease risks associated with animal imports will help to protect against this possibility. As well, it is important to understand the risks of emerging diseases within Canada, and how these may affect humans, animals, and the environment.

The findings outlined in Healthy Animals, Healthy Canada provide important evidence-based information to assist CFIA and other organizations, such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, as they develop future risk assessment policies and practices.

As a complement to both the recently released animal health report, and the upcoming launch of the expert panel report on the integrated testing of pesticides (to be released in early 2012), the theme of the Council’s fall newsletter is on risk assessment.

This issue’s Fellow in Focus is Dr. Ian R. Dohoo, FCAHS, Professor and Director at the Centre for Veterinary Epidemiological Research, Atlantic Veterinary College, at the University of Prince Edward Island. A member of the Expert Panel on the Approaches to Animal Health Risk Assessment, Dr. Dohoo discusses what he hopes the report will accomplish.

This issue’s Spotlight focuses on animal health risk assessment. And this fall’s Perspectives article by Kori St.Cyr, a Research Associate with the Council, considers the risks and rewards of ICTs for sustainable development.

As always, this issue includes Around the Council, which highlights the many accomplishments of Council staff and volunteers. In Expert Panels at Work you can find the latest details on our current assessments.

I hope you enjoy this latest issue of the newsletter and as always you can visit our website for past issues, as well as updates on all of our current assessments. The report, Healthy Animals, Healthy Canada can also be found on the Council’s website in both French and English.


Elizabeth Dowdeswell

Mailing List Signup

Receive our newsletter, notifications of new assessments topics, news releases, and more!
Preference English  Français
Council Feature

Food Security in Northern Canada

It is well established that in northern Canada food insecurity is a serious problem that affects the health and wellness...
read more