About Us

The Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System (CAHSS) is an initiative of the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council (NFAHWC), with broad based collaborative support of industry and governments. It has been designed to fill the need for strengthened animal health surveillance in Canada, as identified in the NFAHWC's report, "Surveillance in a Time of Transition in Farmed Animal Health".

Who are we? Our Philosophy

CAHSS is a network of animal health surveillance networks, with no control from government or any one group. Individual network groups are self-organizing and self-governing; linked through CAHSS by shared purpose and principles.

Core Principles

Purpose of CAHSS
A shared national vision leading to effective, responsive, integrated animal health surveillance in Canada

Principles of Practice:
• Support the protection of animal health, public health, and economic prosperity
• Consider the balance between scientific rigour and the practicality of the real world
• Encourage openness, collaboration and innovation 
• Resolve conflict compassionately, productively, cooperatively and respectfully 
• Freely and fully exchange information relevant to the Purpose while respecting confidentiality
• Provide clarity in communications by providing relevant background and contextual information 

Principles of Organization
• Individuals or groups subscribing to the Purpose and Principles are eligible for Owning Membership and participation
• Groups can self-organize around activities consistent with the Purpose and Principles; innovation and flexibility are encouraged
• Methods used for deliberations and decisions reasonably represent all relevant and affected parties
• Participating network members retain full authority to independently manage and implement their own roles, resources and priorities 
• Members agree to consult with other network members to find efficiencies and avoid unintended impacts on others



CAHSS is open to all of those involved in or affected by animal health surveillance. To join CAHSS, read and complete the CAHSS member declaration and send it to info@cahss.ca .

How can I be involved?
Actively participating members of the network are being solicited. To participate, members and groups must sign a declaration that they agree to the purpose and principles of CAHSS.

Individuals or groups retain control of their surveillance activities, but benefit from the experience and expertise of other members.

The cost is the time volunteered by the member.

To join CAHSS fill out the membership declaration and send it to info@cahss.ca

Click to see Owning Member's Declaration

Click to see Associate Member's Declaration

Click to see Organizational Member's Declaration


To accomplish together, what cannot be done alone  

Today, industry, provincial, regional and national groups participate in many independent animal health and disease surveillance activities. CAHSS brings together stakeholders from all sectors, in animal and public health, to share information and address gaps associated with the multiple surveillance activities currently planned or underway.

Activities can involve ongoing partnerships among stakeholders to: 
• exchange information and intelligence 
• set shared priorities 
• leverage resources, and 
• address needs for animal health surveillance in Canada

The central role of CAHSS is to:
• encourage and support the network groups with expertise and experience where possible 
• foster open communications within and across the systems and networks 
• and serve as a source of information with a website of catalogued resources, results and other surveillance infrastructure 
• facilitate the development of social networks to share health intelligence with the appropriate stakeholders 
• help to develop the ability to quickly activate coordinated surveillance network in response to animal health emergencies

The desired outcomes of CAHSS are to:
• strengthen animal health surveillance 
• ensure the strategic use of surveillance technology, and 
• improve emergency response capacity

Long term value:

Improved animal health outcomes and costs, better response to emerging diseases, consumer and public health confidence in animal agriculture, and improved market access.

Click for presentation to NFAHW Council Forum 2015



CAHSS is governed by two groups the Champions Group and the Directors Group. These groups include representatives from industry, veterinary associations, academia, provincial governments, and the federal government.

CAHSS Champions ensure animal health surveillance is given an appropriate level of priority by providing national leadership and strategic direction, fostering innovation and supporting the work of the CAHSS Directors and surveillance networks.

CAHSS Directors provide leadership in developing, supporting and achieving the CAHSS activities and surveillance networks through oversight and governance, open collaboration and communications.

Network groups are self-governing and develop their own terms of reference within the guiding principles of CAHSS. 

Annual Report 2017-18

Click here for the full report CAHSS Annual Report

During the 2017-2018 fiscal year approximately 207 people representing 91 organizations collaborated on their surveillance priorities in CAHSS supported activities, including Swine, Poultry, Equine, Dairy Cattle, Beef Cattle, Wildlife and Aquatics sectors. All major commodity sectors are now linked within the network-of-networks. Cross sectoral efforts include interdisciplinary Antimicrobial Use surveillance collaboration, the CAHSS Directors and Champions, as well as the Community for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases.

Highlights and achievements this year include:

Workshops and face-to-face meetings occurred for beef cattle, wildlife and the CAHSS Directors. In addition, the Alberta poultry industry held a workshop to demonstrate an integrated poultry data platform.

After three years of development, the first phase of the creation of the network-of-networks is nearing completion. Growth during this time has been substantial, in terms of the numbers of people and organizations involved, and the cross linkages that have been developed across the country. During the coming year, the transition in CAHSS co-ordination, from government to the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council will be initiated, and the second phase of development of the network of networks will begin.