After a meeting of the Federal, Provincial, and Territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture in Canada, Ministers confirmed their “commitment” to responding to animal disease outbreaks through the establishment of a Foot-and-Mouth (FMD) vaccine bank. $57.5 million has been allocated to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to support an FMD Vaccine Bank for Canada as well as FMD response plans.  

Supporting industry and stopping the spread 

A statement from CFIA emphasises that funding this “dedicated vaccine source” will “support” the Agency and industry in the event of an outbreak, providing another tool for disease prevention and management. The investment “complements Canada’s current access to vaccines”; the North American Food and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank (NAFMDVB) ensures readily available vaccines for producers. 

The new Vaccine Bank will comprise concentrated FMD vaccines that can be “rapidly transformed” into usable vaccines in a “timely and cost-effective manner”. These are an essential component of “effective and efficient” disease control to maintain public confidence in the Canadian food supply, limit economic consequences for producers, and help mitigate prolonged market disruptions to trade. 


Although Canada reports being free from FMD since 1952, it maintains “strict measures” to prevent disease recurrence. It is a “devastating” viral disease that is highly communicable among cattle and swine; although many animals can recover, they are often left “weakened and debilitated”. Despite the risks to animals, it is “not a public health risk” or a food safety issue, according to CFIA. However, an outbreak would devastate Canada’s export potential and could cost between $19.4 billion and $65.2 billion to the overall economy.  

A key investment in resilience 

Minister of Agriculture and Agir-Food, The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, commented that the creation of the vaccine bank means that, should an outbreak occur, Canada would “have the ability to reduce the duration and spread by half”.  

“The new vaccine bank will add to Canada’s existing emergency response plans to limit the impacts of an FMD outbreak, support our farmers and the livestock industry in Canada.” 

The Vaccine Bank is one aspect of the commitment to “protect the health of our animals, the resilience of our livestock industry”, and to enable producers to “continue to access international markets”.  

Colleen McElwain, Executive Director of Animal Health Canada, described the bank as a “key investment in emergency preparedness”.  

“Having a vaccine on hand in the event of an FMD outbreak will reduce the potential number of animals to be infected and in turn reduce the magnitude of a complex multi-species emergency response effort.”  

In a “global economy” reliant of movement of people, animals, and goods, a potential outbreak is “only one flight away”.  

“Having the FMD Vaccine Bank in place is a critical piece of insurance for Canadian farmers.”  

For more updates on animal health and investment in vaccines, don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.