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 currently in transition from co-ordination by federal government employees in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC), to coordination under the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare (NFAHW) Council.

Until a CAHSS Coordinator position within the Council structure is in place, the CAHSS Directors and current co-ordination staff are providing support, to enable a smooth transition to the new structure.

Governance structures within CAHSS and the NFAHW Council will shift to reflect the needs of both groups.  The proposed new governance structure will include the NFAHW Council and the Executive Director of Council, A CAHSS Coordinator, the CAHSS Directors Executive Committee, Network Leads and Co-Leads and all owning members of CAHSS.

Proposed roles and responsibilities are outlined in the Transition Plan.

Annual Report 2018-19


Click here for the full report CAHSS Annual Report 2018-19

Click here for an executive summary of the CAHSS Annual Report 2018-19