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April 19, 2022

FAQs: Health of Animals transport regulations

In Canada, Health of Animals regulations around transport require those who load, confine, or transport animals to determine and document details around the animals and their movement.

This includes: livestock manifests, Transfer of Care (TOC) documents, and Animal Transport Records (ATR), where applicable.

“At the time of loading an animal for transport, a commercial carrier or any other person transporting the animal in the course of business or for financial benefit shall determine the date, time and place where the animal was last fed, watered and rested.”

Health of Animals Regulations: Part XII: Transport of Animals

There are some overlaps in the requirements between the different documents. According to CFIA, information does not need to be repeated, as long as it is recorded somewhere.

To follow, please find frequently asked questions (FAQs) around TOC and ATR, and forms created for both.


Transfer of Care (TOC) Factsheet:

When animals are left at any slaughter facility or assembly centre, including an auction market, the transporter must provide notice that the animals have arrived.

It shows who is responsible for the care of animals.

The (TOC) tells CFIA who was responsible for the animals at a specific time.

It gives everyone involved in the transport chain a chance to record what happened, show that they did the right thing, and took steps to protect the welfare of transported animals.

What is a TOC notice ?

TOC is proof of when a load of animals has arrived and the responsibility/care of animals is passed from a transporter to a receiver.

What information is needed on a TOC?

Three pieces of information:

  • The date and time the animal arrived at the slaughter establishment, auction market or assembly yard.
  • The condition of the animals on arrival (any comments you have about the load).
  • When and where the animals were last fed, watered and rested.

Who writes and keeps the TOC notice?

The transporter writes this document. It is their proof of what condition the animals are in, and when they arrived.

It is recommended that both parties keep a copy for two years.

Is there a special form to use?

No, there is no special format. Transporters can write the information in any way that works for them.

It can be hand written, an email, or a text message (using a cell phone to make a screen shot for your files can also work).

It does not matter so long as it is readable, contains the required information, and is easily found if requested by an inspector.

How does a TOC protect animal transporters?

A transporter has a lot of responsibility for the animals on their load, and sometimes doesn’t have much control over when and how animals are loaded/unloaded and what happens to them after.

The transfer of care document is the place to document their side of the story.

Where does a transporter need a TOC?

A TOC is only needed when leaving animals at assembly centres and slaughter facilities.

Who accepts a TOC?

Someone designated at the assembly center or slaughter facility should accept that the animals are now in their care so they know when the animals were last fed, watered and rested, and if any welfare actions are needed.

This is important to the welfare of the animals in the load and the transporter is required to get this acknowledgement.

What do transporters do if no one will accept the TOC?

It is the transporter’s responsibility to make the receiver aware when their role stops, and the receiver’s role starts for the responsibility for care of the animals.

Transporters can’t make receivers accept the responsibility, but can make a record of the interaction to protect themselves.

If transporters don’t have any proof that they handed over responsibility for the animals on their load, they could be held responsible if something goes wrong later.

Is the TOC requirement the same as the record-keeping requirement in the amended regulations?

No. These are two different requirements in the amended regulations.

Records (section 154) must be kept by all commercial transporters and those transporting livestock for business or financial benefit.

Transfer of care (section 153) is a separate requirement but transporters may want to use the same document for both requirements.


Animal Transport Record (ATR) Factsheet

Why is the Animal Transport Record needed?

It is a communication tool that documents and protects the welfare of animals in transport.

It ensures information about the animals’ journey is available and can be shared when needed with everyone involved in humane transport (producers, transporters, dispatch, assembly personnel, receivers and buyers).

Who needs to make and keep the ATR?

If you are a commercial transporter, someone in the business of transporting animals, or if you are transporting animals and a financial transaction is taking place, you need an animal transport record.

Animal transport records are not needed for routine animal husbandry/management movement if no transfer of stewardship takes place.

What information is needed on an ATR ?

9 pieces of information:

  • Name and address of the shipper, consignee, and the driver of the animal transport vehicle.
  • Date and time when, and the place where, the animals are loaded.
  • The number, description, and weight (actual if available or estimate) of the animals.
  • Date, time and place of arrival of the animals at the destination.
  • Date and time when the animals were last fed, watered and rested (FWR) prior to loading, and then update this information if animals are FWR during the journey.
  • Some truck specific information (that may not change from load to load)
    • identifying number of the vehicle (e.g. license plate, registration number);
    • the floor area available to the animals
    • the date, time and the place where the conveyance or container was last cleaned and disinfected (whenever that was).

Who writes and keeps the ATR?

The transporter writes this record.

It moves with the load of animals as they are transported.

The animal transport record must be kept by the transporter for two years.

Is there a special form to use?

No, there is no special format. Transporters can write the information in any way that works for them.

It can be hand written, an email, or recorded electronically as long as it is readable, contains the required information, and is easily found if requested by an inspector.

A lot of this information overlaps with information already on provincial livestock manifests. There is no need to repeat information that is already available.

How does an ATR protect animal transporters?

A transporter has a lot of responsibility for the animals on their load, and sometimes they don’t have much control over when and how animals are loaded/unloaded.

If someone asks you to load an animal in a way that you don’t agree with, or if there is a delay in unloading, or anything unusual happens, this is a way to record your side of the story.

What do transporters do if they are not given all the information they need for a ATR or if they don’t think an animal should be loaded?

It is a non-compliance for you to transport animals without this information.

It is also your responsibility to assess the animal(s) before transport.

If your assessment is questioned, or information you need is not provided, document the interaction.

If you arrive without the required record(s), or with an unfit animal on your load, you could be held responsible.

Is the Animal Transport Record (ATR), the same as the Transfer of care (TOC) ?

No. These are two different requirements in the amended regulations. Transfer of care is a separate requirement but transporters can, and may want to use the same document for both requirements.

The ATR does not need to be accepted/acknowledged by receivers.


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