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Minister Horner’s Statement on Avian Influenza in Canada

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI (commonly known as bird flu)) in Canada, including a number of counties in Alberta. 

“The quick discovery of these cases is a testament to the effectiveness of our disease surveillance and response system and the commitment of our poultry producers.” said Nate Horner, Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development in a statement made April 12th, “The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is leading the investigation and response. Alberta has supported the CFIA with testing and mapping, and we have offered our help wherever possible and needed.”

HPAI causes severe illness and death in birds, however the ABVMA would like to emphasize that there is no risk to food safety, and the risk to human health is very low. There is no danger of acquiring HPAI or any variant of avian influenza from properly cooked poultry or poultry products. Avian influenza virus is easily destroyed by the heat of normal cooking. Standard good food handling practices for raw poultry are sufficient.

With the recent HPAI detection in Alberta, it is important for backyard/small-flock keepers to be aware of this disease and take extra measures to protect their flocks during the coming spring migration.

“This case is an important reminder of the importance of strict biosecurity measures and early detection. HPAI is a reportable disease, so if you suspect or confirm a case in your flock, you are required to report it to the CFIA or the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian… We are in regular contact with the CFIA, industry, producers and other stakeholders to ensure a timely, coordinated and effective response.”

So far, there is no evidence that reported HPAI outbreaks are farm-to-farm transmissions.

In his statement to the public, Minister Horner acknowledged this is an incredibly difficult time for the affected producers.

“We appreciate the steady support of all stakeholders as we continue working together to resolve this issue,” noted Minister Horner. 

A Note on Prevention

There are a number of tips that poultry producers can use to prevent the spread of avian influenza in their flock(s):

  • Prevent contact with wild birds and other animals.

  • Frequently clean coops, water sources, your clothing, and boots.

  • Spot the Signs of avian influenza and report to your veterinarian or CFIA.

  • Limit exposure to visitors.

  • Keep domestic birds, their water and food away from wild birds.

For producers, there is a risk of handling dead birds that were affected with avian influenza. Protective clothing including gloves and masks should be worn if handling dead infected birds.

With these tips in mind, the ABVMA wants to encourage producers to follow any and all biosecurity best practices to help guide and ensure the health of poultry flocks in Canada. 

Learn more about avian influenza prevention by consulting the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website.

Detection and Reporting of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

The CFIA has tracked all incidences of HPAI in Alberta counties, and across Canada. To find a list of reported HPAI infections, visit the following page.

To learn more about the clinical signs of avian influenza, as well as how to properly report cases of avian influenza, visit Please remember that you are required to report any cases of avian influenza to the CFIA or the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian.

Importation Restrictions

In response to the detection of HPAI in Canada and the USA, please note that there is currently a restriction on the importation of live birds, bird products, and by-products from States affected by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Learn about the details of this restriction by consulting the following notice.


To learn more about avian influenza, we encourage you to consult the following resources: