Statement from Canada’s Chief Veterinary Officer on World Rabies Day 2023


September 28, 2023 - Ottawa, Ontario

Dr. Mary Jane Ireland, Canada's Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), issued the following statement in recognition of World Rabies Day:

It's World Rabies Day and this year's theme is All for one, One Health for all. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is doing its part to prevent rabies from spreading in Canada.

Rabies is a fatal disease that poses a serious risk to human and animal health. While human rabies deaths are rare in Canada, globally, rabies kills an estimated 59,000 people every year, with 99% of cases originating from dog bites. Rabies poses a risk to wildlife populations, pets and livestock, as well as humans. That's why it's important to keep pets and livestock vaccinated against rabies.

Eliminating rabies requires a One Health approach that recognizes the interconnections between people, animals, plants and their shared environment. As One Health partners, the CFIA's actions include:

  • Setting conditions for importing animals to Canada to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases, such as rabies;
  • Collaborating with other regulatory authorities in the Animal Health Quads Alliance on companion animal import standards, such as rabies vaccination requirements and detecting fraudulent activity;
  • Working within the Council of Chief Veterinary Officers to the mitigate the risk of rabies to human and animal health; and
  • Diagnosing rabies in samples submitted to CFIA laboratories and reporting geographic and species statistics on a monthly basis.

The CFIA Ottawa Animal Health Laboratory is designated as a rabies reference laboratory by the World Organisation for Animal Health and rabies collaborating centre by the World Health Organization. It functions as a centre of expertise and standardization for the diagnosis of rabies and is involved in collaborative research and training of highly skilled personnel from countries all over the world.

This World Rabies Day serves as a reminder to vaccinate animals following veterinary recommendations. These actions make a great impact to help protect the health of people and animals.

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) touches the lives of all Canadians in so many positive ways. Every day, hard-working CFIA employees—including inspectors, veterinarians and scientists—inspect food for safety risks, work to protect plants from pests and invasive species, and respond to animal diseases that could threaten Canada's animal resource base and human health. Guided by science-based decision-making and modern regulations, the Agency works tirelessly to promote access to and verify safe food in Canada and to support access to international markets for our high-quality agricultural products. To learn more, visit

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