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Governments invest over $2 million to strengthen animal disease preparedness

The governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing $2.2 million to modernize the provincial Animal Health Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).

“Manitoba’s agricultural producers are committed to the health and well-being of their animals,” said Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. “Investing in this innovative data analysis tool will help the sector quickly contain the spread of disease. It will help farmers protect the health of their animals and ensure a consistent, high-quality supply of Canadian food. Our government will continue to support initiatives that strengthen public confidence in Canadian agriculture.”

LIMS is computer-based information technology infrastructure that manages all laboratory animal disease diagnostic information and results generated by Veterinary Diagnostic Services (VDS), Manitoba’s animal heath laboratory whose existing diagnostic testing technology is at the end of its life cycle.

“This information technology modernization project will strengthen Animal Health’s ability to provide valuable and timely diagnostic and surveillance data to stakeholders and clients, which will help to improve decision making and to mitigate financial losses associated with animal disease outbreaks in the agriculture sector,” said Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson. “It will also assist veterinarians, producers and the government of Manitoba to prevent the spread of disease and protect the health of humans, animals and the safety of the food supply.”

LIMS allows for the collection, analysis and reporting of test results for users and clients including producers, private and provincial veterinarians, livestock sector companies, commodity groups and government partners, as well as surveillance networks and researchers across Canada. The LIMS modernization will:

- strengthen the provincial animal disease surveillance program and improve overall diagnostic service delivery in the agriculture sector, and
- enhance Manitoba’s ability to prepare for new and emerging animal diseases by increasing efficiency and capacity to diagnose.

The ministers noted this initiative highlights a commitment by both governments to improve resilience and preparedness for animal disease outbreaks.

“Veterinary Diagnostic Services, and the people who work there, are critical components of disease preparedness and management in Manitoba,” said Rick Préjet, chair, Manitoba Pork Council. “Enhancing the diagnostic and surveillance data management capacity of the laboratory is welcomed by Manitoba pork producers, particularly given that effective disease response is measured in hours and not days. This is a significant investment that will pay dividends for many years to come.”

Testing by VDS supports industry-wide herd and flock disease diagnostics and surveillance programs for new and emerging diseases. Each year on average, VDS receives 17,000 submissions from veterinarians and the agriculture sector in Manitoba and reports more than 135,000 test results to clients and animal health surveillance networks across Canada.

A vendor will be selected through a public tendering process. Up to $2.2 million has been set aside for the purchase, installation and commissioning of software and equipment.

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