Part 2: Mandatory ID Gets Grassroots Start





Canadian Cattlemen’s Association drives nation-wide support 

Today, when you visit the CCA website (they’re now known as Canadian Cattle Association), you’ll see some impressive industry stats. At last count, there were over 11 million head of cattle in Canada, 60,000 beef operations and the red meat processing sector is credited with contributing over $16 billion in revenue and 58,000 jobs. With so much at stake just from an economic standpoint, it’s no wonder this group of hardworking ranchers and farmers had the foresight to develop a national identification and traceability system to protect their livelihood, a way of life and the Canadian herd. Back in the 90’s the late Carl Block was the head of CCA’s Animal Health Committee, and it was his voice that first brought forward the vision of establishing a mandatory ID system that would sustain the industry for the long term. Block pled his case, the CCA rallied behind him, and work began to get every cattlemen’s association in every province on board. A tall order.

To get the ball rolling, in the spring of 1997, CCA hosted a national ID and information workshop and invited many different stakeholders from across the country, representing cattle and other species. And they achieved consensus that industry needed to move forward, quickly. That same year, the concept for a mandatory ID program was endorsed at the CCA annual meeting and a business plan developed. There was a lot of input from producers, guided by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and their mandate to promote animal health. There was nothing complex about industry’s plan. It was designed for success – simple to buy into and easy to roll out. In 1998, Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) was incorporated as an industry-led not-for-profit initiative. A staff of two were charged with implementing the program across all of Canada, multiple species, working closely with government while keeping industry informed and engaged.

One of CCIA’s immediate priorities was to work towards the development of an information system and database that could handle basic information. The initial system release of what’s now known at the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS) took place in January 2000, followed by the full system implementation in July 2002.

Today, when we talk about livestock identification and traceability, we are referring to the ability to follow one animal or group of animals from one point in the supply chain to another. And the Health of Animals Regulations apply to cattle, bison, sheep, pigs and farmed wild boars. CCIA is now a Responsible Administrator of Canada’s livestock identification program and traceability initiatives. We do this by helping all those involved meet regulations and by managing the nation’s livestock tracking database. While our scope has broadened to include bison and sheep and pending regulation cervids and goats (which some exceptions in Québec), we celebrate the work of our earliest pioneers from the cattle industry and credit their work in shaping a system our nation can be proud of.

More from our history will be posted throughout 2023, so come back often and don’t forget to check out our social media feeds on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

If you have a story, memory, or photo to share about the CCIA, we’d love to hear from you.

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To read the third part of our 25th Anniversary retrospective please click here > >

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