Traceability changes could be costly

LEDUC, Alta. — The head of the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency says changes to traceability regulations could cost $1.5 million, causing the organization to look for ways to recoup those dollars.

Speaking June 1 at the Livestock Markets Association of Canada (LMAC) convention in Leduc, CCIA general manager Anne Brunet-Burgess said the high figure is a result of the organization estimating it needs to hire 20 staff for the first three years.

She said the new employees will primarily be entering data, considering that lots of movement documents will be submitted by paper or over the phone.

“The movement reporting may not come electronically,” she said in an interview after the convention.

“When it comes not electronically, we need a human to process it.”

The CCIA now needs to determine how it will recover those costs.

Brunet-Burgess said the board is dedicated to not raising the price of tags, which is its main source of funding, leaving the organization to look elsewhere.

“When we raise the price of tags, it affects one sector more than others, which is primary producers,” she said. “Not everyone along the chain buys the tags.”

The CCIA could ask for funding from the government to make up the costs or it could potentially implement fees for those receiving the animals.

Brunet-Burgess said a working group looking at costs has explored those options, although the organization has not made a final decision.

“We might take a hard look at our business model,” she said.

The traceability changes could come into effect by 2021, requiring producers and others along the value chain to get premise identification numbers when groups of animals are moved.

Details of the regulations are expected to be published during the first quarter of 2020, although people receiving animals will be required to report the destination and origin of the animals to the CCIA via movement documents.

Information can be sent electronically online or through the CLTS (Canadian Livestock Tracking System) mobile phone app.

The government wants a stronger system so it can improve the tracking of disease if big outbreaks occur, as well as potentially use the system to bolster market access if trading partners request it.

LMAC president Robert Bergevin said the organization supports group movement of animals.

He said LMAC is currently determining what the costs will be for auction marts when the traceability changes come into force.

“There are concerns with costs, and the numbers are staggering right now,” he said.

“In places where group animal movement is in place, they may be less impacted than in other provinces.”

Brunet-Burgess said getting all provinces up to speed on the personal identification number system has been slowly progressing, though there is still some time.

“If you don’t have one (a personal identification number), it’s time to get over it and get one,” she told convention members.

“Now is the time to do it.”

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