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Prevention and Control of Antimicrobial Resistance Flagged as Inadequate by Auditor General of Canada

The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) welcomes the 2015 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada. Report 1-Antimicrobial Resistance is of particular interest and reflects the intent of our recent awareness campaign “Time is Running Out”. The Auditor General’s report highlights several key regulatory issues that must be addressed in assuring the protection of the public and food safety in regards to the ongoing use of antimicrobials in the veterinary and animal health sectors. These issues are well identified in the reaction to the report by our national partner, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association

In addition the ABVMA, the professional regulatory body responsible for registration of veterinarians and veterinary technologists in Alberta, believes the report should serve as a reminder of the role and responsibility we all have in assuring the continued access to effective medications for the treatment of animals. Prudent use demands that antimicrobials are used only when an appropriate diagnosis is established or reasonably expected. Following this, the correct medication must be used at the proper dose for as short a time as possible and for as long as necessary. For more information regarding antimicrobial; stewardship in animals please refer to our antimicrobial resistance topic page.

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association's news release: 


April 28, 2015

The spring 2015 Auditor General of Canada’s Report concludes that key responsibilities have not been fulfilled by the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada to address inadequacies to help the prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

“The Auditor General’s report on AMR highlights concerns raised by the CVMA for many years,” says Dr. Jean Gauvin, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) President. “CVMA has expressed the need for a comprehensive national all-sector strategy to address the growing concerns surrounding AMR and the unregulated importation and use of active pharmaceutical ingredients in animal agriculture, which poses a potential risk to Canadian public health and food safety.”

The report states there is currently no national strategy to address antimicrobial resistance, which was first identified 20 years ago by the Federal Government. CVMA is pleased to see the recommendation for the Public Health Agency of Canada to “identify priority actions, clarify roles and responsibilities, and establish clear and realistic deadlines for the development of a pan-Canadian strategy to address antimicrobial resistance.”

The report also identifies regulatory loopholes that allow producers to import unlicensed antimicrobial drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients for use in their own animals, and the need to expand the collection of surveillance data to provide an overall, integrated picture of AMR and use in Canada. CVMA supports Health Canada’s recent announcement of its intention to strengthen regulations that encourage prudent use of antimicrobial drugs used in food-producing animals and increases veterinary oversight of medically-important ones.

“While there is much work to be done to address AMR in Canada,” says Dr. Gauvin, “we are pleased to see commitments to action by the Federal agencies and look forward to collaborating with stakeholders from agriculture, veterinary medicine and human medicine to ensure we stay on target with the December 2016 deadline to align Canada’s stewardship regime with international standards.”

Additional Resources:

Kudos to the Auditor-General for raising the alarm about antibiotic resistance

Canada public health hasn’t developed strategy for combating antimicrobial drug resistance: AG

Antimicrobial use in livestock under the microscope

AG slams Health Canada for lack of action on antibiotic use in livestock

Statement from the Honourable Rona Ambrose Minister of Health - Auditor General's Findings on Antimicrobial Resistance

Health Portfolio Actions on Antimicrobial Resistance