Implementing OIE’s Performance of Veterinary Services Tool “In Canada’s Best Interest”

Cattle vaccinated against foot-and-mouth disease, Takeo, Cambodia. ©N.Hungerford / OIE-SEAFMD

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) is strongly encouraging countries to partake in an assessment of veterinary services, developed in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA),

The assessment, called the Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) tool, is designed to assist countries in assessing current levels of veterinary service performance to identify weaknesses and strengths, as they relate to OIE international standards, and develop strategic directions for improvement.

“It’s an objective, neutral-based tool…which comes in and assesses 47 critical competencies for good governance in animal health and public health related to animal health,” said Brian Evans, deputy directory general (animal health, veterinary public health, international standards) for the OIE, at the Alberta Beef Industry Conference earlier this year.

“It’s delivered by trained experts, it’s not confrontational — it’s not an audit, it’s not meant to embarrass a country. What it does is it comes in and assesses countries against these 47 competencies so they know where they stand.”

So far the OIE has implemented 129 missions, including 53 in Africa, 25 in the Americas, 25 in the Asia-Pacific region, 19 in Europe, and 13 in the Middle East. Canada has not yet requested a mission, though it is (or at least was) on the radar.

In March 2015, a Canadian PVS Information Seminar was held at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s headquarters in Ottawa. At the end of the seminar, participants agreed that the PVS tool is objective, comprehensive and recognized by trading partners, thus it would be an appropriate way to assess the health of veterinary services in the country.

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The tool is available in several phases. Evans says the OIE is encouraging all countries to do the initial assessment, and then to take further steps if needed. For example, if a country isn’t able to do their own gap analysis with the findings of the initial assessment, they can arrange for a second tier assessment, followed by a third level, to determine how the investments are helping to improve veterinary services.

“My concern is…that if Canada doesn’t get on board with it, it could become a requirement for trade by other countries in the future,” Evans said.

“We really think it’s in Canada’s best interest to go down that road.”

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