CTA Message to CFIA: Time for Fairness Review in Enforcement

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) and its members are vocal supporters of the need for a more regimented system of enforcement to be put in place so that users of livestock transportation services can only use trained and certified drivers to move livestock.

CTA has advocated that all members of the supply chain who utilize uncertified drivers should be fined and enforcement should be at pickup and delivery. CTA has also been calling for more fairness in how and why fines are levied on violators in the supply chain. Recently CTA raised two such matters with CFIA — in-transit losses (hogs) and lost tags in-transit.

Recent research conducted by officials at the University of Guelph and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture  has shed some light on why hog haulers in many circumstances should stop being fined for in transit losses. Currently, when hogs die in-transit the transporters may be held liable and issued fines by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).  The rational for this practice is that if three or more hogs die on route, there was likely some sort of mal-practice on the part of the driver, for example, going over capacity or driving recklessly.

“This point has long since been an issue for those represented by the Livestock Transporter’s Division of the CTA, as many have emphatically insisted that they abide by industry best-practices and should not be held liable for these deaths, now we have the research to prove it,” said Stephen Laskowski, Senior Vice President, Canadian Trucking Alliance.

In the past because the hogs that died in-transit were seldom subject to an autopsy, these deaths were simply believe to be as a result of stress, heat and in some cases drive mal-practice- a point the drivers had no way of disproving. Recent research titled ‘Investigating in-transit losses of market hogs’ has largely disproved these beliefs, demonstrating the overwhelming majority of in-transit losses of market hogs are due to pre-existing heart conditions in the hog.

“Based on this new research, CTA is requesting that CFIA review its enforcement policy regarding in-transit losses and hogs; unless CFIA can dispute these findings we see no reason why trucking companies should be paying these fines,” added Laskowski.

In addition, CTA is asking once again that CFIA, in the interest of fairness, to review its fining policy regarding the issue of lost tags in the transit of animals.  Currently, in order to facilitate traceability throughout Canada, many species are currently required to bear approved RFID tags. Tags are applied to animals by their owner or an approved tagging facility, and it is prohibited to transport animals not bearing an approved tag. Should an animal be transported not bearing an approved tag, the producer, transporter and receivers are currently subject to enforcement action by the CFIA.  CTA does not dispute the necessity for tagging or its enforcement, however, the issue of who is liable for missed or otherwise lost tags remains a salient issue.

“It is the CTA’s position that because the transporter is in no way responsible for the tagging process, they should not be held liable for failures in this area, as is current practice.  It’s like fining a car owner for a vehicle manufacturer defect. Fines may need to be applied when lost tags occur, but apply them to the individual who’s behavior can actually change the outcome,” said Laskowski

For more information on these issue please contact CTA’s Jonathan Blackham (jonathan.blackham@ontruck.org)