Taking Stock of Abattoir Regulations

The NFU’s Taking Stock of Abattoir Regulations report reviews provincial regulations on slaughter, meat processing (cut/wrap), and marketing across Canada. It highlights common points and differences among the regulations, and identifies where specific aspects of these regulations (or how they are applied) create barriers to local and regional meat production, as well as those pieces that support thriving local and regional food systems and local producers.

Each province has acts and regulations associated with the abattoir and meat processing sector. In some provinces, there are also guidelines or codes used, for example, by inspectors or auditors to help assess facilities’ compliance with the regulations. These guidelines or codes are updated more frequently than regulations and acts, where change involves a lengthier process. When multiple government departments or agencies have responsibility for inspecting or ensuring compliance, as is the case in several provinces, it is more complex to understand who has responsibility for which aspects.

In general, provinces have overarching Acts regarding food safety which enable the more specific Regulations. Common rules for abattoir or meat processing operations include  requirements regarding built infrastructure (the building and materials), sanitation, exclusion of pests, storage of materials, temperatures, record keeping, inspections, licenses, personnel, labeling, and legal sale of meat and meat products. Some provinces have longer and more detailed rules (prescriptive, for example Ontario) and others describe the desired outcomes (outcome-oriented regulations, for example, B.C.). An Appendix to the Report outlines the main acts and regulations that apply in each province.

Regulatory frameworks are based on food safety concerns and history in each province. However, where provinces have found ways to meet food safety concerns that impose fewer barriers on abattoir or meat processing facilities, their experience may apply to other provinces.

Download the PDF to read the full report.