Ottawa, ON (May 28, 2020) – The Canadian Sheep Federation (CSF) is pleased to see the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA’s) public announcement of the temporary Ministerial Exemption process to allow inter-provincial trade of meat and poultry products from establishments that are not federally licenced.  The announcement was posted on the CFIA website May 21st, 2020, and details shared with industry groups in a meeting that same day.

“We were pleased to see the CFIA pull together the details of this Ministerial Exemption so quickly” says Allan Ribbink, Canadian Sheep Federation Chairman.  Ribbink adds “this really demonstrates how when we all work together as a sector, we can overcome long standing issues that really needed to be fixed in this emergency.”

The Canadian Sheep Federation first raised this issue during the March 20th Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) COVID-19 Working Group meeting, encouraging AAFC and CFIA to prepare for possible disruptions in the meat supply system should processing facilities suffer from reduced capacity related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Through April and May, the CSF met with CFIA to discuss the Ministerial Exemption process, review draft protocols and work through logistics of applying for the Exemption.  Likewise, the CSF met with provincial representatives in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta to discuss the process and opportunity for granting Ministerial Exemptions for lamb.

“We appreciate the amount of work the CFIA has put into developing the Ministerial Exemption protocols” says CSF Executive Director, Corlena Patterson, “and hope they can be readily accessed when they are needed the most”.

Information about the Ministerial Exemption can be found on the CFIA website at https://www.inspection.gc.ca/covid-19/cfia-information-for-industry/temporary-ministerial-exemption/eng/1590085149461/1590085150008.  If you are a provincially inspected lamb processor and need help navigating the ME protocol, please contact the Canadian Sheep Federation by calling 1.888.684.7739 or by emailing info@cansheep.ca.