Office of the Chief Veterinarian for Ontario (OCVO)
September 23, 2022
Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies
Dear Vince Brennan:
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in Ontario domestic poultry.
While the CFIA leads the disease response for highly pathogenic avian influenza and may impose permitting requirements in defined areas of the province, I am writing to inform you and your members of the action that the province is taking to help limit the spread of the virus.
On my advice and recommendation as Chief Veterinarian for Ontario, the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has issued a Minister’s Order under the Animal Health Act, 2009, for the purpose of limiting the commingling of birds from different locations in Ontario to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission in domestic birds by limiting direct contact.
Effective September 23, 2022, this Order temporarily prohibits events where birds commingle, such as bird shows, bird sales and swaps, portions of fairs where birds are exhibited, sport and educational displays where birds are brought from multiple locations, vaccination gatherings for birds from multiple locations, and prohibits the movement of birds to those events. Temporarily reducing direct contact between birds from different locations will limit the spread of avian influenza and protect flock health.
This Order will expire on October 22, 2022 but may be extended if required. This Order is similar to the one issued during the Spring 2022 wave of the avian influenza outbreak, with which you may already be familiar.
I also encourage your members to maintain strict biosecurity measures to help reduce the risk of introducing avian influenza to their birds.
Avian influenza is not a threat to food safety but impacts domesticated and wild birds. Ontario poultry and eggs are safe to eat when, as always, proper handling and cooking takes place. People working with poultry should take additional precautions and are strongly encouraged to follow all public health guidelines and maintain strict biosecurity.
For more information on the Minister’s Order, please visit OMAFRA’s Avian Influenza webpage.
I continue to monitor this quickly developing situation and may implement further measures as part of the response to this disease.
I appreciate your cooperation in working together to enhance biosecurity and reduce the spread of avian influenza.
Original signed by
Cathy Furness, DVM
Chief Veterinarian for Ontario