CANADA'S REGIONAL CENTRES

National Office | British Columbia | Alberta | Western/Northern | Ontario/Nunavut | Quebec | Atlantic

CWHC National Office

Overview

The CWHC National Office works to maximize the breadth, depth and efficiency of the CWHC across Canada. It is responsible for the governance of the organization, coordinating national and international programs, and serving as the hub of Canada's active and diverse network of health professionals.

The role of the National Office is to facilitate and lead national plans, enable and support program design and coordination, and provide expert advice. Through partnership, facilitation and advocacy the National Office works to mobilize knowledge, coordinate response and inspire action.

Projects and Activities

Based on its role within the organization and partnerships without, the National Office serves as a focal point to coordinate and link federal, provincial and territorial programs, priorities and information. This includes the development of CWHC strategic plans as well as being a spearhead, secretariat and facilitator of national strategies and plans to address wildlife health challenges. The national strategies for White Nose Syndrome (WNS) and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) are two examples.

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In addition to strategy development the National Office is engaged in the development and maintenance of CWHC communications, including social media and health intelligence reporting. Centralized governance and administration of the CWHC is another important activity.

Key national services include data management, policy development, risk assessment, knowledge mobilization, strategy development, facilitation, communications and wildlife health research.

Examples of current projects

  1. National Avian Influenza Wild Bird Surveillance Program – coordinator
  2. National White Nose Syndrome Response Program – coordinator
  3. Vulnerability Assessment of Canadian Amphibians to an Emerging Fungal Disease
  4. Scandinavian Brown Bear Project
  5. Developing a wildlife health business case with the United States Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Centre
  6. Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases: Integrated Intelligence and Response initiative.
  7. Research to support the Recovery and Long Term Conservation of Grizzly Bears

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CWHC BRITISH COLUMBIA

Overview

The goal of the CWHC BC is to gather and utilize knowledge regarding health and disease in British Columbian wildlife in order to improve the health of animals (both wild and domestic), people, and the environment. In order to do this, the CWHC BC participates in CWHC national programs, initiates and runs its own projects, and facilitates work being done by stakeholder groups.

The CWHC BC operates as a partnership between the BC Ministry of Agriculture and BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations. It is based out of the Animal Health Centre, Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Projects and Activities

As part of the national CWHC strategy, the CWHC BC examines and/or collects data on wildlife sampled alive or found dead in the province. We also participate in the National Avian Influenza, White Nose Syndrome, Bovine Tuberculosis, and Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance projects.

Wildlife issues of special concern to the CWHC BC include Avian Influenza in wild waterfowl, Bovine Tuberculosis in wild cervids, bat health, boreal ungulate (caribou and moose) health assessments, zoonotic disease risks, and outreach to a variety of communities living with and utilizing wildlife. 

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Examples of current projects

  1. Avian Influenza surveillance in wild waterfowl and wetland sediments
  2. Bovine Tuberculosis surveillance in wild cervids
  3. The Vancouver Rat Project (an interdisciplinary study focused on the ecology of urban rats and rat-associated zoonotic diseases)

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CWHC ALBERTA

Overview

The Alberta regional centre is located within the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary. CWHC Alberta performs wildlife diagnostics and contributes to Canada's national wildlife health surveillance program.

CWHC WESTERN/NORTHERN

Overview

The Western Northern region provides diagnostics, education and research activities to our sponsors across Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the NWT and Yukon territories.  Our responsibility is to ensure early detection of wildlife diseases through passive and targeted surveillance and provide our sponsors with the knowledge and expertise to adequately manage wildlife health.

Projects and Activities

Western Northern region has developed a number of research initiatives, including a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)hunter surveillance program in Saskatchewan that ran from 1997-2012 and a subsequent research project on CWD starting in 2006 to investigate factors affecting the spread of CWD across the province.  Past projects have included investigation of fish die-offs in Saskatchewan, assessment of management strategies in the control of avian botulism outbreaks and investigation of lamb mortality in bighorn sheep in B.C.

We currently participate in the national white nose syndrome and avian influenza virus surveillance programs as well as several provincial programs including rabies, wild boar disease surveillance and wild bird mortality investigations.

CWHC ONTARIO/NUNAVUT

Overview

The Ontario/Nunavut regional centre is located within the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. The team, which is made up of faculty members, pathologists, technical and administrative staff, provides expertise in wildlife disease diagnostics, contributes to Canada's national wildlife health surveillance program, provides educational programs, information, and consultation to government and non-government agencies, and participates in research and wildlife health management activities.

Projects and Activities

Wildlife mortality investigation is a central activity in the region that contributes directly to regional, national and international surveillance programs. In addition, the regional team teaches university and college courses and labs, engages with many groups interested in wildlife health through educational seminars, meetings and conferences, and hosts a wildlife hotline where members of the public can report sick or dead wildlife or find information about wildlife disease issues in their region. Finally, the region collaborates with various agencies on wildlife health research projects. Current projects topics include: Canine Distemper Virus in carnivores, Baylisascaris procyonis infection in raccoons, and enhanced surveillance of avian botulism on the Great Lakes. The new information generated from these research projects and ongoing wildlife surveillance contributes to wildlife management and conservation strategies in the region as well as public health and agricultural health initiatives.

CWHC QUEBEC

Overview

The CWHC Quebec Regional Centre is located at the Faculté de medicine vétérinaire, Université the Montréal in St. Hyacinthe. The veterinary teaching hospital as well as the Complexe de diagnostic et d'épidémiosurveillance vétérinaire du Québec (MAPAQ) provide state-of-the-art facilities for the diagnostic and research activities of the Quebec Regional Centre. Our team provides expertise in wildlife pathology and health to different governmental and non-governmental agencies, including the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, Environment Canada, Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans.

Projects and Activities

In addition to the ongoing mortality event investigations, part of the wildlife health surveillance program, the Quebec Regional Centre is involved in targeted investigation activities and research projects. These include: diagnostic and surveillance of raccoon rabies, health monitoring of St. Lawrence beluga whales, lead intoxication in eagles, diseases in caribou and muskoxen, fish health and conservation in captive settings and ethical aspect of wildlife harvesting and research.

CWHC ATLANTIC

Overview

The CWHC Atlantic region's primary focus is to provide scanning wildlife health surveillance for the provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. As required, it also does targeted wildlife health surveillance for diseases of particular interest, which currently include Bat White-nose Syndrome and Avian Influenza Virus. To participate in this aspect of wildlife health, the CWHC Atlantic Region works in close partnership with its sponsors in provincial and federal governmental departments, often in an advisory capacity to interpret wildlife health issues as they directly relate to mandates of those various departments.

The CWHC Atlantic region is housed in the Department of Pathology & Microbiology in the Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island. This academic affiliation permits its staff to be actively engaged in research related to wildlife health as well as to provide educational opportunities in the undergraduate and graduate programs of the Atlantic Veterinary College, Department of Biology at the University of Prince Edward Island, and Wildlife Management program at Holland College. Particular activities of this regional centre pertain to the health of animals in the marine environment; the health of endangered species, including bats, piping plover, and Nova Scotia mainland moose; the health of amphibian populations; and animal welfare issues related to exploitation of wildlife resources.

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Projects and Activities

The CWHC Atlantic region's involvement in various projects and activities is dynamic and fluid, most often determined and influenced by wildlife health issues as they are identified in, or become important to, the wildlife populations of the Atlantic Region. The scanning and targeted wildlife health surveillance programs often lead to the recognition of specific issues that require more in-depth study and investigation. Current and recent projects include, among others, identification of bat hibernacula on Prince Edward Island, trichomonosis in Maritime finch populations, health of the endangered Nova Scotia mainland moose population, avian reovirus infections in eastern Canadian populations of American crows, best methods of euthanasia for cetaceans, seal herd health, and iridovirus infections in amphibians.

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