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 2016-17

Click here for a copy of the CAHSS Annual Report Summary 2016 17

Click here for the full report CAHSS Annual Report

In 2016-17 approximately 150 people representing 58 organizations collaborated on their surveillance priorities in CAHSS supported activities. To date the sectors involved include Swine, Poultry, Equine, Dairy Cattle and Aquatics; an ad hoc cross sectoral Antimicrobial Use surveillance collaboration, as well as the Directors and Champions. Initial discussions have been initiated with the wildlife and beef cattle sector networks to engage in CAHSS sponsored workshops in the coming year. The Community for Emerging and Zoonotic Disease has engaged with the CAHSS Directors and Champions for review of the CEZD annual and semi-annual reports, and provision of strategic advice.

The CAHSS business case and a review of data integration and interoperability were completed by members of the Director’s group. An evaluation of the effectiveness of three surveillance components (Canada West – Swine Health Intelligence data network, Poultry industry flock sheets and the Ontario Animal Health Network) was carried out using the SERVAL tool, and feedback on successes and areas for improvement was provided.

As the report demonstrates, a vast amount of effort has been undertaken within the sector networks; the efforts of individuals and organizations require a great deal of time, energy and expertise, to create collaborative solutions to complex national challenges. Highlights in the networks achievements include the creation of collaborative proposals for surveillance priorities in swine and dairy cattle; the initiation of sharing of information on poultry diseases with a focus on avian influenza; the sharing of information among the network members on the notifiable diseases of horses; the initiation of a trial participatory surveillance system in aquatics; and the movement towards identification of the minimum data set required for successful antimicrobial use surveillance.

During the coming fiscal year, network connections are expected to be made with all major species groups. At that point, CAHSS energies will shift from rapid growth of the network of networks, to stabilization, sustainability, increased linkages among groups, and project work.