Swine Health

Swine Health Initiatives and Partners

The Canadian Swine Health Initiative

The Swine Health Initiative addresses key animal health challenges of concern to pork producers. Through national coordination and communication, policy development and program integration, the Swine Health Initiative ensures that important issues such as disease surveillance, biosecurity or antimicrobial resistance are tackled and a national strategic plan is in place.

CPC, through the initiative, develops national health positions on critical issues like antimicrobial stewardship or surveillance. 

The Swine Health Initiative, also works to ensure that all the provinces are aware of national biosecurity standards and best management practices to follow in order to maintain consistency across Canada.   


PigTrace is an industry led, live animal traceability initiative designed to ensure protection, prosperity and peace of mind for the Canadian pork industry and its customers.

In the event of a food safety issue or foreign animal disease outbreak in the pork sector, traceability gives animal health officials and food safety officials the tools to quickly and effectively contain and deal with the situation.  Improved response time reduces the economic impact on the industry, producers and all Canadians.

veterinarian looking over some pigs

Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network (CSHIN)

The Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network is a group of swine health professionals who oversee the pork industry from an animal health point of view. They help manage health conditions on the farm, and share their observations to help control potential disease outbreaks. In doing so, they increase the knowledge and the ability of veterinarians to assist the pork industry with ongoing health challenges.

Funded by the Canadian Pork Council, the Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians and Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System, the network consists of swine health professionals (practitioners, researchers, pathologists, and epidemiologists) from three regional networks : Canada-West Swine Health Intelligence Network, Ontario Animal Health Network-Swine and Quebec RAIZO (Réseau porcin).

Swine Health Partners

Antimicrobial Stewardship

Pork producers raise hogs to give consumers a wholesome, nutritious and affordable product.

A farmers’ priority is the care they provide to animals. Pork producers rely on rigorous on-farm management techniques to prevent illnesses in their pigs. But sometimes, they need to administer antimicrobials such as antibiotics to prevent or treat infections and other diseases caused by bacteria, and to prevent the rest of the herd from becoming ill. In order to ensure their animal’s welfare, they need to have access to veterinary pharmaceuticals that work. 

Producers understand that prudent use of antimicrobials is key to mitigate the development of antimicrobial resistance. In their commitment to a responsible use of antimicrobials, producers are supporting Health Canada’s regulatory changes to strengthen oversight of veterinary drugs. 

The CPC’s Drug Use Policy provides pork producers with the tools for a judicious use of antimicrobials on their animals, ensuring a safe food supply. For example, pigs that have received antibiotics will not be sent to slaughter before all traces of the medicine is out of their system.

Through the partnership of provincial associations and Swine Innovation Pork, pork producers support research and the development of new technologies.

The latest data from CIPARS revealed that in 2016 the total antimicrobial use per kg of pig (mg/PCU) decreased by 35% when compared to 2015.


(PCU refers to the ‘Population Correction Unit’ and takes into account the animal population as well as the estimated weight of each species)

Antibiotic usage has declined in 2016 for grower finisher pigs, particularly for antimicrobials used for growth promotion.

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One pillar of improving swine health in Canada is to improve the biosecurity of the Canadian pig herd. A biosecurity plan puts measures and processes into practice to reduce the risk of introducing and spreading disease agents (pathogens). 

The primary concern is external biosecurity: keeping disease agents out and keeping them from getting out into other farms. Internal biosecurity, that is, containing the spread of disease within the farm or system is also an important issue managed by individual farms. Lastly, biocontainment prevents the spread of pathogens to other populations or animals.

In January 2010, based on recommendations of the Canadian Swine Health Board Biosecurity Advisory Committee, a Technical Committee was formed and given the mandate to develop a first draft of the National Swine Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard. This voluntary standard is a tool for producers and industry stakeholders to use to tailor biosecurity measures to individual farm needs and regional considerations. It is a means to improve the economics of the industry. 

The Swine Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard is being revised and will be integrated as a Biosecurity module in the Canadian Pork Excellence platform.