Canada's application for negligible risk status for BSE passes an important milestone

News release

March 12, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

Today, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced that Canada is an important step closer to being recognized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a negligible-risk country for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The Scientific Commission of the OIE has recommended to OIE delegates that Canada's application to change its status from a controlled-risk country for BSE to one of negligible risk fulfills the necessary requirements.

This recommendation has been sent to OIE Delegates who will officially vote on Canada's application at the next World Assembly of OIE Delegates General Session at the end of May 2021.

A change from controlled to negligible BSE-risk status would help secure and negotiate access for Canadian cattle and beef products to trade markets that require products to originate from negligible BSE-risk status countries.

The Government of Canada worked closely with provinces and industry to put forward a strong application based on data. The diligence of Canada's approach is reflected in this recommendation to proceed to a vote at the OIE General Session.

Canada awaits the World Assembly of OIE Delegate's final decision, to be announced in May 2021.


“Today, beef producers can be pleased that Canada has taken an important step to being recognized as negligible risk for BSE. Although we still need to await the final vote, I am optimistic that this will soon allow them to expand their markets for cattle and beef exports to the U.S. and other foreign markets. Our government will continue to stand up for our hard-working beef producers who provide top-quality products.”

–The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Quick facts

  • There are 182 Permanent Delegates of the OIE.

  • The CFIA's Dr. Jaspinder Komal is the OIE Delegate for Canada. He represents Canada on the international stage and plays an integral role in Canada's participation in the OIE's standard-setting process for the development and adoption of animal health standards and guidelines. Dr. Komal ensures that the standards are appropriately and consistently implemented in Canada, and is responsible for notifying the OIE of reportable animal disease occurrences in Canada.

  • Since 2007, Canada has been recognized by the OIE as a controlled BSE-risk country.

  • One of the OIE criteria for Canada to be categorized as a negligible BSE-risk country is to demonstrate that infected domestic animals were born more than 11 years prior.

  • The last case of BSE in Canada was in 2015 in a cow born in 2009.

  • The CFIA continues to lead on other initiatives to improve animal health, veterinary public health and animal welfare in Canada.

  • The OIE also evaluated Canada's veterinary services and recognized Canada as a top-performing country for its veterinary services and a leading example in meeting international standards.

Associated links


Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Media Relations
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
613 773-6600

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