Development Process for Codes of Practice

Table of Contents

Introduction and ObjectivesUnderstanding how Codes of Practice are intended to be used
Steps in the national development process of a new or revised CodeNFACC responsibilities
Code Development Committee responsibilities
Commodity or Specialized Industry Group responsibilitiesCode of Practice Format
Appendices

  1. Guiding Principles for Codes of Practice
  2. Code of Practice Development Process Letter of Understanding
  3. Scientific Committee Terms of Reference
  4. Code Development Committee Chair Terms of Reference
  5. Guidance for Code of Practice Staff Liaison
  6. Code Development Committee Confidentiality Principles
  7. Code Communication Strategy Guidance
  8. Code Development Committee Code of Conduct for External Communications
  9. Guidelines for Granting Observer Status
  10. Code Reporting Form
  11. NFACC Code Development Committee Secretary Terms of Reference
  12. Research Writer Terms of Reference

Introduction and Objectives

The Codes of Practice are nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of the different species of farm animals. They are intended to promote sound management and welfare practices through recommendations and requirements for housing, management, transportation, and other animal husbandry practices. 

Initiation of Code development and revision remain the responsibility of the individual commodity. The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) will keep a record of Code revisions and provide encouragement to commodities to do revisions on an ongoing basis.  Review and revision of Codes should occur regularly or as production practices, or our body of knowledge, changes through experience or research. It is expected that Codes will be reviewed at least every five years and updated at least every ten years. Changes in government policy and international agreements on animal welfare guidelines could also have an impact on the Code update schedules.

Each Code of Practice is audience specific with the scope related to the particular industry and species involved. Codes of Practice serve multiple purposes including:

  • Providing information and education
  • Serving as the foundation for animal care assessment programs
  • Providing reference materials for regulations.

Appendix A (Guiding Principles for Codes of Practice) offers further information on how these objectives are to be met. The development of a Code of Practice is anticipated to be at least a two-year process.

The Code Development Secretary, Code Development Committee Chair, Scientific Committee Chair and commodity group Staff Liaison each play pivotal roles in the Code development process. They must work closely together and are central to the success of the Code being developed. Appendices C, D, E and K provide terms of reference for each. 

Understanding how Codes of Practice are intended to be used

The Codes of Practice are the result of a rigorous NFACC Code Development process, taking into account the best science available for each species, compiled through an independent peer-reviewed process, along with stakeholder input. The Code Development process also takes into account the practical requirements for each species necessary to promote consistent application across Canada and ensure uptake by stakeholders resulting in beneficial animal outcomes.  Given their broad use by numerous parties in Canada today, it is important for all to understand how they are intended to be interpreted.

The Codes are intended to be used as guides and extension tools in promoting sound animal care practices. Codes should also form the basis of animal care assessment programs. All elements of the Codes, their implementation and ongoing review by a broad spectrum of stakeholders, experts and other interested parties, are designed to bring about continuous improvement in animal welfare outcomes.

Requirements refer to either a regulatory requirement, or an industry imposed expectation outlining acceptable and unacceptable practices and are fundamental obligations relating to the care of animals.  

Requirements represent a consensus position that these measures, at minimum, are to be implemented by all persons responsible for farm animal care. When included as part of an assessment program, those who fail to implement Requirements may be compelled by industry associations to undertake corrective measures, or risk a loss of market options. Requirements also may be enforceable under federal and provincial regulation. 

Recommended Practices may complement a Code’s Requirements, promote producer education and can encourage adoption of practices for continuous improvement in animal welfare outcomes.  Recommended Practices are those which are generally expected to enhance animal welfare outcomes, but failure to implement them does not imply that acceptable standards of animal care are not met.

Steps in the National Development Process of a New or Revised Code

The process, as outlined below, is the same for the development of new Codes and Code revisions.  Codes should be regularly reviewed (i.e. every 5 years), and revised at least every ten years, to ensure they are current with government policy/regulations, industry practices and scientific research. 

Step One

The national commodity or specialized industry group should first contact the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) to indicate its interest in developing a Code of Practice.

NFACC will supply materials outlining the Code process to the contact person of the national commodity or specialized industry group. 

Following this, if the national commodity or specialized industry group chooses to proceed, it will contact NFACC to request the development of a new or revised Code. The request will be accompanied by a signed Code of Practice Development Process Letter of Understanding identifying that the national commodity or specialized industry group is and has been made fully aware of this process and the financial responsibilities for Code development, revision and completion (Appendix B).

The commodity or specialized industry group is responsible for organizing its Code Development Committee based on the Guiding Principles of Codes of Practice (Appendix A) and assigning a Chair (see Appendix D for Code Development Committee Chair Terms of Reference). A Vice-Chair may be named at the discretion of the commodity or specialized industry group. When acting as Chair the Vice-Chair will follow the Code Development Committee Chair Terms of Reference.

The commodity or specialized industry group will contact a recognized national organization affiliated with NFACC to nominate a Code Development Committee representative from the required representative groups.

While the process for identifying individual representatives on a Code Development Committee is led by the commodity or specialized industry group charged with updating the Code the intent is that all organizations represented accept the Code Development Committee’s composition. A list of all participants on the Code Development Committee will be presented to all Code Development Committee members in advance of the first Code Development Committee meeting. A final list of Code Development Committee members will be submitted to NFACC. Appendix A provides further guidance.

If requested, NFACC will provide assistance to the commodity group as needed in populating the Code Development Committee. The commodity or specialized industry group must also assign a liaison person who will work with NFACC’s Code secretary and the Code Development Committee Chair to maintain communications and act as a key industry point of contact (see Appendix E, Guidance for Code Staff Liaison Person). 

At least 30 days in advance of the first Code Development Committee meeting NFACC will provide a notice on its website advising that a Code is to be developed or revised. 

Step Two

a) NFACC will strike a Scientific Committee (target of 6 scientists) familiar with research on the care and management of the animals under consideration. NFACC will request two nominations from each of 1) Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, 2) Canadian Society of Animal Science, and 3) Canadian Chapter of the International Society for Applied Ethology. Other professional scientific bodies may be solicited as appropriate (e.g., World Poultry Science Association). This committee will elect it's own chair. The Chair of the Code Development Committee (or designate) will sit on the Scientific Committee as an observer.

The Scientific committee will identify a priority list of issues; 3-6 specific and manageable topics that they consider to be particularly important for animal welfare in the species being considered and that will particularly benefit from a review of the available scientific literature. Some priority issues may not be addressed by the Scientific Committee for any number of reasons (e.g., inadequate available research, existing protocols provide good guidance). Welfare issues that are not addressed by the Scientific Committee will still be addressed in the Code’s development.

b) The commodity or specialized industry group’s Code Development Committee will identify its priority list of welfare issues.

c) The two committees will come together to collectively identify a final list of priority welfare issues for the species within the Code being addressed.

Step Three

Following the Scientific Committee Terms of Reference (Appendix C), the Scientific Committee will then write a review of the scientific literature for each priority welfare issue.

Step Four

After the Scientific Committee has finished its report it will be made available to the Code Development Committee to ensure that the report answers the questions originally posed relating to the priority welfare issues. The Scientific Committee report will be peer reviewed and made publicly available no later than when the Code is released for its 60-day public comment period.

Step Five

The Code Development Committee will be responsible for drafting the Code by utilizing the Scientific Committee report and following the Guiding Principles for Codes of Practice (Appendix A).  The Scientific Committee will continue to consult with the Code Development Committee as needed. The Chair of the Scientific Committee will sit on the Code Development committee. The Code Development Committee should consult as required with their constituents to arrive at a final draft of the Code utilizing NFACC’s communications guidance (see Appendix F: Code Development Committee Confidentiality Principles, Appendix G: Code Communication Strategy Guidance, and Appendix H: Code Development Committee Code of Conduct for External Communications).

Observers at Code Development Committee meetings can play an important role in building the necessary awareness and buy-in for a Code to secure its ultimate success. The participation of observers is at the discretion of the Code Development Committee (see Appendix I: Guidelines for Granting Observer Status). Observers are also subject to the confidentiality principles outlined in Appendices F, G and H.

Step Six

The final draft Code of Practice will be submitted to NFACC. The Code Development Committee Chair will complete and return the Code Reporting Form (Appendix J), which will provide NFACC with sufficient information to determine that the NFACC Code process was followed.  If the Code of Practice development process was appropriately followed, NFACC will support the Code. NFACC will make the draft available to the public for a 60-day comment period. A system for providing submissions will be made available for the public comment period to facilitate the organization and consideration of feedback received by the Code Development Committee.

Step Seven

Following the 60-day public comment period the Code Development Committee will consider any feedback, revise the draft if required and submit a final Code to NFACC for formatting and publication. 

Note:  In the event of contingencies causing delays in the Code development process, the Code Development Committee must notify NFACC as soon as possible. NFACC will work with the Code Development Committee to identify means of resolving any issues and address budgetary impacts.

NFACC’s Responsibilities

NFACC will:

  • Provide secretariat support for the Scientific Committee 
  • Provide secretariat support for the Code Development Committee to ensure the Code is completed in a timely fashion 
  • Provide a Secretary for the Code Development Committee, See Appendix K (NFACC Code Development Committee Secretary Terms of Reference
  • Host the public comment period process 
  • Coordinate the translation and publication of a new or revised Code of Practice
  • Make Codes of Practice available on its website.

NFACC will pay approved expenses for (a budget will be developed for each Code):

  • Scientific Committee meeting related expenses, including supplies, room rental, hospitality, travel expenses.  Receipts must be provided for reimbursement
  • Remuneration and expenses for a Scientific Committee research reviewer/writer with the appropriate science background to compile and synthesize information into a report
  • Code Development Committee meeting related expenses, including supplies, room rental, hospitality, and travel expenses. Receipts must be provided for reimbursement
  • Remuneration and expenses for the Code Secretary
  • Translation of drafts and final Code
  • Printed copies (English & French) of a new or revised Code.

Note:  NFACC’s ability to cover these expenses is ultimately tied to available funding.  NFACC reserves the right to further limit maximum expenses allowed as funding dictates.  NFACC will advise the commodity or specialized industry group of any required adjustments to the Code development budget prior to initiation of the Code development process.

Responsibilities of the Code Development Committee

The selection of Code Development Committee members is a critically important task. While representatives on a Code Development Committee are expected to consult with their constituents, they must also be empowered and entrusted to represent and negotiate in the best interests of their constituents.

Responsibilities include:

  • Represent the interests of their respective nominating organization, collaborate with other committee members and contribute to the development of the Code of Practice (Appendix A provides more information on guiding principles and participation)
  • Consult with their national constituent organization as needed to ensure acceptance and understanding of the Code. Where no national body exists, the Code Development Committee member should consult with an appropriate provincial or regional constituent organization(s)
  • Attend all meetings of the committee
  • Inform the Code Development Committee Chairperson of the number of copies of the Code required for their respective organizations. The Chair will advise NFACC, through the Code Secretary, of the total number of copies required
  • Ensure the distribution of the Code to their members
  • Cooperate as required to meet the requirements of any contribution agreement that provides funds for a Code’s development/revision
  • Submit expense claims in accordance with stipulated requirements (i.e., submit original invoices, reasonable expenses as per Treasury Board guidelines) and in a timely fashion 
  • Respect confidentiality of information as may be required and adhere to the communications guidance provided in Appendices F, G, & H.

Commodity or Specialized Industry Group Responsibilities

  • Ensure the NFACC Code process is followed and completed with a Code finalized in a timely fashion
  • Submit a completed Code Reporting Form to NFACC outlining how the Code process was followed
  • Assign a Staff Liaison to work with the Code Secretary and Code Development Committee Chair as per the Guidance Document for Code of Practice Staff Liaison (Appendix E)
  • Coordinate distribution of the Code across the country. Provincial commodity groups will ensure distribution to organizations within their respective provinces
  • Develop a communications/implementation plan for the Code to maximize awareness and uptake
  • Pay for any reprints of a Code
  • Make the Code available on its website.

Codes of Practice Format

Codes of Practice will be produced according to an established format so as to be instantly recognizable as a product of this development process. This is important in order that users of the Code will recognize the credibility of the information based on the process from which the Code was developed.

Copyright for each Code will be jointly held by the commodity association/industry group involved and NFACC. Each Code should also have an ISBN to ensure its availability through Library and Archives Canada.

The template and process that all Codes follow will be determined by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). Suggestions regarding any changes should be brought forward to NFACC for consideration at least annually.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 

Funding for the Codes of Practice is provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) through the Agricultural Flexibility Fund, as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.

 


 APPENDIX A 

Guiding Principles for Codes of Practice

All participating commodity groups agree to develop or revise their Codes in accordance with these guiding principles. NFACC will support Codes of Practice that follow these guidelines and the NFACC Code development process.  NFACC’s will facilitate an overall Code development process by ensuring that coordination and secretariat assistance is available for Code development. 

Guiding Principles

  1. Codes should be based on the best available science and other acceptable knowledge sources (peer-reviewed science, industry publications/experience, expert opinion, anecdotal evidence, etc.), referencing those sources wherever possible and providing a rationale for requirements and recommendations. Requirements and recommended practices should be defensible and changed as new and improved information is brought forward. In addition, requirements and recommended practices should be practical, manageable and consider economic implications. 
  2. Codes should be clearly articulated to ensure easy understanding by all users. The layout and design of Codes should facilitate an understanding of basic acceptable practices/requirements (musts) and recommendations that promote a higher level of care (shoulds).
  3. Codes should primarily deal with the criteria that need to be met in order to achieve an acceptable level of animal husbandry. Requirements should be clearly worded (i.e., using the term ‘must’) and have measurable components, recognizing that they may be used in an assessment process. 
  4. Codes should also strive for continuous improvement in animal care through recommendations that promote sound management and good animal care practices.
  5. Codes should be regularly reviewed (every 5 years), and revised at least every ten years, to ensure they are current with government policy/regulations, industry practices and scientific research.  
  6. Codes should take into consideration other standards or Codes that may have implications for Canadian producers. The Codes should meet or exceed OIE standards as a demonstration of Canada’s implementation of OIE standards (www.oie.int).
  7. Codes should avoid redundancy and aim to be consistent where there may be overlap (e.g., transportation Code and species specific sections on transport within a Code).
  8. Following the development of a Code, animal welfare research needs identified within the Code development process should be compiled and submitted to an appropriate funding body for consideration.  Research needs should be tracked to determine if efforts were made to address them as part of the 5 year Code review process and prior to the next update of a Code.
  9. All Codes must be publicly available
  10. Some critical topics should be addressed in each commodity-specific Code, even if not part of the normal practice of industry (e.g., euthanasia).  The following is a list of topics to be included in each commodity-specific Code:
    • Accommodation/Housing/Handling Facilities
    • Food and Water
    • Management (including young and cull animals/poultry)
    • Health (e.g., record keeping, lameness, condition scoring, sick and injured animals)
    • Transportation
    • Euthanasia
    • Husbandry/Stockmanship.

Participation

There should be broad participation of people with knowledge of the industry in the Code development process. The process should be transparent. The following participants must be involved in the Code development process, where applicable:

  • Producer (representatives from each production phase with a target of 4 producers)
  • Transporter (with expertise in the specific species)
  • Veterinarian (with expertise in the specific species)
  • National animal welfare associations
  • Provincial animal protection enforcement authority
  • Retail and food service organization
  • Processor
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and/or CFIA
  • Researcher/academic (Chair of the Scientific Committee)
  • Provincial government representative with responsibilities in animal welfare.

This list is not finite. Other participants may be included if their input would benefit the Code development process within a particular commodity (e.g., technical expertise).

Code Development Committees should be targeted to include no more than fifteen committee members. 

The commodity or specialized industry group will contact a recognized national organization affiliated with NFACC to nominate a Code Development Committee representative from the required representative groups.

While the process for identifying individual representatives on a Code Development Committee is led by the commodity or specialized industry group charged with updating the Code the intent is that all organizations represented accept the Code Development Committee’s composition. A list of all participants on the Code Development Committee will be presented to all Code Development Committee members in advance of the first Code Development Committee meeting. A final list of Code Development Committee members will be submitted to NFACC.

The selection of Code Development Committee members is a critically important task. While representatives on a Code Development Committee are expected to consult with their constituents, they must also be empowered and entrusted to represent and negotiate in the best interests of their constituents.

Guidance on Animal Welfare Criteria

The Codes of Practice need to contain requirements and recommendations that can be implemented, and criteria that can be used to tell whether a given practice or facility is in compliance with the Code.

Outcome-based or animal-based criteria should be used where possible because they are generally related most directly to animal welfare, and because they can be applied to a wide range of production systems. Such criteria can be qualitative (all animals should be able to lie down at the same time without lying on top of each other) or quantitative (no more than 1% of animals should be dead on arrival). Where possible, quantitative criteria should be used.

For certain measures, it is possible to identify ‘critical levels’ beyond which welfare is expected to be adversely affected. Such levels are normally determined by scientific research. For example, welfare in many species is noticeably affected if ammonia levels in the air exceed 25 ppm. For other measures (percent lame, percent dead during transport) there are no critical levels but it may be possible to set or recommend ‘performance targets’, for example, that no more than 1% of animals should fall while being moved in a slaughter facility.

In some cases, ‘conditional’ criteria can be used. These generally specify what actions should be taken under certain conditions. These can include both qualitative and quantitative elements. For example: (1) If more than 2% of birds arrive at the slaughter plant with broken wings, catching crews should be re-trained to catch birds in ways that are less likely to cause injuries. (2) In months where hot weather is expected, stocking density should be reduced so that birds have enough space to perform wing-stretching unimpeded.


APPENDIX B

National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) Code of Practice Development Process – letter of understanding

This letter of understanding confirms that <commodity organization or specialized industry group name> understands the process and responsibilities with regard to the update, development and completion of the Code of Practice for the care and handling of <species>. Questions should be directed to NFACC’s General Manager.

<Commodity organization or specialized industry group name> have received and is fully aware of:

  • the NFACC Code of Practice development process
  • respective financial and other responsibilities as outlined in the above-mentioned document or as provided by NFACC
  • requirements of any funding contribution agreement that will impact project activities, resource availability and information management.

Further <commodity organization or specialized industry group name> agree to work with NFACC to:

  • identify appropriate representatives for the Code Development Committee as required
  • ensure that NFACC’s Code of Practice development process is followed and completed for the development of the Code of Practice for the care and handling of <species>
  • submit a completed Reporting Form to NFACC (template to be provided) outlining how the Code process was followed
  • cooperate as required to meet the requirements of any contribution agreement that provides funding for the Codes update and completion
  • designate a <commodity organization or specialized industry group name> liaison person that will assist NFACC in industry communications
  • promote the Code of Practice for the care and handling of <species> within the industry and allied groups
  • make the Code of Practice for the care and handling of <species> available on <commodity organization or specialized industry group name> website
  • Coordinate distribution of the Code of Practice amongst producers across the country
  • Pay for any reprints of the Code of Practice. 
Signed, on this (date)_____________________________________________

Authorized signature of national commodity or specialized industry group 

_____________________________________________

Name of national commodity or specialized industry group

_____________________________________________

Signature of Project Manager or Project Coordinator

_____________________________________________

APPENDIX C

 Scientific Committee Terms of Reference

Background

It is widely accepted that animal welfare codes, guidelines, standards or legislation should take advantage of the best available knowledge. This knowledge is often generated from the scientific literature. 

In re-establishing a Code of Practice development process, NFACC recognized the need for a more formal means of integrating scientific input into the Code of Practice process. A Scientific Committee review of priority animal welfare issues for the species being addressed will provide valuable information to the Code Development Committee in developing or revising a Code of Practice. As the Scientific Committee report is publicly available, the transparency and credibility of the Code is enhanced.

For each Code of Practice being developed or revised, NFACC will identify a Scientific Committee. This committee will consist of a target number of 6 scientists familiar with research on the care and management of the animals under consideration. NFACC will request nominations from 1) Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, 2) Canadian Society of Animal Science, and 3) Canadian Chapter of the International Society for Applied Ethology. At least one representative from each of these professional scientific bodies will be named to the Scientific Committee. Other professional scientific organizations as appropriate may also serve on the Scientific Committee. 

Purpose & Goals

The Scientific Committee will develop a report synthesizing the results of research relating to key animal welfare issues, as identified by the Scientific Committee and the Code Development Committee.  The report will be used by the Code Development Committee in drafting a Code of Practice for the species in question. Some priority issues may not be addressed by the Scientific Committee for any number of reasons (e.g., inadequate available research, existing protocols provide good guidance). Welfare issues that are not addressed by the Scientific Committee should still be addressed in the Code’s development.

Note: the Scientific Committee report will not contain recommendations following from any research results. Its purpose is to present a compilation of the scientific findings without bias.

Timeframe

The Scientific Committee should expedite the completion of their report to the best of their ability.  A report is expected to take one year to complete.

Accountability

The Scientific Committee is accountable to NFACC in ensuring that they meet the requirements of this Terms of Reference.

Communication

The Scientific Committee, through its Chair, is expected to have an open line of communication with:

  • NFACC, through the NFACC General Manager
  • Code Development Committee Secretary
  • The Code Development Committee.

Implementation Framework

The Scientific Committee will elect its own chair. The Code Development Committee Chair (or designate) will sit as an observer. The committee is expected to operate using a consensus model for decision-making.

The committee will identify a priority list of issues (perhaps 3-6 items) that they consider to be particularly important for animal welfare in the species being considered, and that will particularly benefit from a review of the available scientific literature.

The Code Development Committee will follow the same process. The two committees will meet to collectively identify a list of issues for the species within the Code being addressed. Some priority issues may not be addressed by the Scientific Committee for any number of reasons (e.g., inadequate available research, existing protocols provide good guidance). Welfare issues that are not addressed by the Scientific Committee should still be addressed in the Code’s development.

Once this priority list of issues is developed the Scientific Committee will develop reviews of the scientific literature for each of these issues. NFACC will contract a research writer with the appropriate science background to assist the Scientific Committee to compile and synthesize information into a report (see Appendix L for Research Writer Terms of Reference).

In developing the report, the Scientific Committee should consider that evaluations of animal welfare can be based on three general overlapping types of concern: biological functioning (including health and productivity), how the animal ‘feels’ (including measures of pain and preferences), and the naturalness (including the animals ability to perform behaviours that are important to it). Veterinarians typically focus on the first, animal welfare scientists on the second and critics of animal agriculture on the third. Much previous confusion has resulted from these different concerns being poorly articulated, and in some cases different recommendations can be derived from the same scientific findings if different types of welfare concern are considered most important.

The Scientific Committee report should be based on a broad view of welfare that encompasses all aspects of animal welfare and explicitly describes the link between the literature, the type of welfare concern, and the conclusion. After the Scientific Committee has completed its report, the report will be made available to the Code Development Committee to ensure that it answers the questions originally posed relating to the priority issues. 

The Scientific Committee should generally only use only peer reviewed and publicly available literature in its report. In situations where the literature is abundant and over many years, it is acceptable and appropriate to utilize literature reviews rather than reviewing hundreds of primary sources.

The Scientific Committee will make its report available to the Code Development Committee for review on the following:

  1. Does the Scientific Committee report adequately address the PWIs identified by the stakeholders group?
  2. Does the Scientific Committee report refrain from making any recommendations?

It is not the task of the Code Development Committee to evaluate the scientific merit of the Scientific Committee report – this task will fall to the Peer Reviewers when the document moves into that stage. Subsequent to the Code Development Committee accepting the report it will proceed into the peer review stage.

A peer review coordinator will be identified to oversee the peer review process. Their role is to:

  • Identify and secure peer reviewers with the appropriate expertise
  • Present the Scientific Committee’s report and the Scientific Committee’s terms of reference to the peer reviewers, with guidance relative to timelines for completion of their task
  • Present the peer reviewers’ comments to the Scientific Committee
  • Review the Scientific Committee’s response to peer reviewer comments and determine if the report satisfactorily addresses concerns raised or provides a reasonable rationale for not addressing a concern
  • Accept the Scientific Committee report as a peer reviewed document.

The Scientific Committee report will only be finalized after it has gone through a peer review process. The peer review should be as broad as is practical within the timelines allowed, and should aim at achieving a scientific consensus. The Scientific Committee will undertake to reconcile issues raised during the peer review process to the satisfaction of the peer review coordinator. Following acceptance of the report by the peer review coordinator the Code Development Committee will use the report in developing/revising the Code of Practice in question. 

Upon finalization of the SC report, it will be presented to the Scientific Committee Chair, the Code Development Committee Chair and the NFACC Chair for decision on a release date.

The Scientific Committee report will be publicly available no later than when the Code of Practice is released for a 60-day comment period. A communication package will accompany the release particularly if it is in advance of the public comment period to avoid misunderstandings around what might be in the Code itself.

The Chair of the Scientific Committee will sit on the Code Development Committee as a full participant. The Scientific Committee will be available if questions or issues arise in the Code development process that requires expert scientific opinion or guidance.

Deliverables

A Scientific Committee report on identified animal welfare priority issues within the noted species that incorporates:

  • A review of research related to each priority issue
  • Synthesis of research results related to each priority issue
  • Some analysis of research studies to ensure the validity of the results compared to other studies (e.g., sample size)
  • Summary of any consensus of the scientific body of knowledge for each priority issue, taking into consideration the different perspectives for measuring animal welfare (e.g., biological functioning, feelings and naturalness).  In some cases there may not be a consensus.  This should be noted too, with possible explanations offered.
  • Identify gaps in knowledge and areas for further research
  • Other information relating to the priority issues that is deemed important in the development of a Code of Practice.

Cost/Budget

Travel and meeting expenses for the Scientific Committee will be covered by NFACC according to Treasury Board of Canada guidelines. NFACC will also cover remuneration for a research reviewer/writer with the appropriate science background to compile and synthesize information into a report (Appendix L).

Note:  NFACC’s ability to cover these expenses is ultimately tied to available funding. NFACC reserves the right to further limit expenses allowed as funding dictates. 


APPENDIX D 

Terms of Reference for Code Development Committee (CDC) Chair

The CDC Chair is appointed by the national commodity or specialized industry group for the Code being developed. The CDC Chair is a full member of the CDC and has observer status on the Scientific Committee (unless an alternate is chosen).

1. General Responsibilities

The CDC Chair works closely with the CDC Secretary and Staff Liaison, as required. The CDC Chair's primary roles are to:

  • act as the Chairperson at CDC meetings
  • ensure the CDC functions effectively and meets its obligations and responsibilities
  • provide leadership to enable the CDC to act as an effective team in carrying out its responsibilities
  • in collaboration with the CDC Secretary and Staff Liaison, ensure the NFACC Code Development Process is followed, and make NFACC aware of any issues
  • participate on the Scientific Committee as an observer (unless an alternate is chosen).

2. Working with the Code Secretary and Staff Liaison

The CDC Chair has the responsibility to:

  • act as an advisor to the CDC Secretary
  • ensure the CDC Secretary and Staff Liaison are aware of concerns of the CDC
  • work with the CDC Secretary and Staff Liaison to ensure the CDC is meeting its obligations and responsibilities.

3. Managing the CDC

The CDC Chair has the responsibility to:

  • in collaboration with the CDC Secretary and Staff Liaison, ensure that the appropriate issues are addressed at and between CDC meetings as required
  • ensure all CDC members have the opportunity to be heard at CDC meetings, and that interactions between CDC members are respectful and civil
  • encourage dialogue that builds consensus and develops teamwork within the CDC
  • receive and respond to requests for observer status at CDC meetings as per the Guidelines for Granting Observer Status at Code Development Committee meetings
  • ensure observers and “special observers” respect CDC meeting protocols. This can be facilitated by setting up meeting rooms such that CDC members sit at a main table, with observers positioned peripheral to the main table
  • facilitate and resolve conflicts that may arise. Contentious topics require an approach that allows each member of the CDC to communicate respectfully and be heard.  Resolving disagreements in a mutually acceptable manner ultimately determines whether a Code is successful or not. Any substantial issues should be brought to the attention of NFACC’s General Manager.

These terms of reference apply to a CDC Vice-Chair that is acting as Chair.


APPENDIX E 

Code Development Committee (CDC) Staff Liaison

General comments

The Code Development Committee (CDC) Staff Liaison plays a pivotal role within the Code development process. This person must work closely with the Chair of the CDC and CDC Secretary. The CDC Staff Liaison person is not a member of the CDC, unless otherwise named to the CDC.  Therefore, their role at CDC meetings is one of observer (as per the Guidelines for Granting Observer Status at CDC meetings document).

Responsibilities may include:

  • Present a final list of CDC members to NFACC to initiate the Code development process
  • Source appropriate meeting rooms for the CDC to meet face-to-face
  • Act as the key industry point of contact for the CDC Secretary
  • Work with the CDC Secretary in facilitating the CDC in meeting its objective of developing/finalizing a Code of Practice
  • Track in kind contributions from industry participants involved in Code development
  • Work with the CDC Secretary to ensure timelines are met relative to the Code’s development and finalization
  • Assist the CDC Secretary in compiling feedback from the CDC or Scientific Committee on the Code process
  • Work with NFACC to ensure all public communications issued by the commodity group (i.e., press releases, website notices, presentations, newsletter articles) relative to the Code being developed or Code process have AAFC approval as per the project contribution agreement
  • Work with NFACC to ensure industry communication messages are consistent and based on key messages as developed through the project
  • Work with NFACC on industry surveys to inform communications and promote buy-in for the Codes
  • Work with their commodity group to develop and implement a plan for promoting the industry’s Code of Practice, and communicate that plan as appropriate to NFACC for its reporting to funders.

In some cases the Staff Liaison may also be responsible for managing the expenses of industry CDC members. This may include tracking and acquiring all original receipts for eligible project expenses incurred and submitting them to for reimbursement.


APPENDIX F

Code Development Committee (CDC) Confidentiality Principles

It is the intent of the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) that CDCs operate in a transparent, inclusive manner. The complexity of issues being addressed by the CDCs is such that it will likely be necessary to seek advice from individuals or groups that are outside of the CDC process on occasion.

In addition, if CDCs are to arrive at a “preferred solution”, it is imperative that participants are able to share their views freely and openly.

On rare occasions, documentation may be provided to a CDC that contains confidential technical information, confidential business information, or information that may be subject to Canadian or provincial privacy legislationThis information will be labeled to identify its security level.

Therefore, in undertaking its affairs, CDC participants acknowledge the importance of confidentiality and agree to the following principles:

  1. Documentation provided to the CDC must be used by the members only for the purpose for which it was originally collected, i.e. consideration of issues, development of the Code of Practice, stakeholder consultation.
  2. Documents, marked as CONFIDENTIAL will not be shared outside of CDC meetings. The Code of Practice under development by the CDC will be clearly marked CONFIDENTIAL until such time that the Code is ready for the public consultation period.
  3. CDC deliberations are confidential. Specific comments, attributed to individuals, should not be discussed or disclosed.
  4. Documents or Power Point presentations developed for stakeholder consultative purposes will be clearly be marked as “Draft for Discussion Only” and will include a date and version number.
  5. In spite of best efforts, if information is disclosed contrary to this understanding, the Code Development Committee Chair, Code Secretary and NFACC are to be promptly notified.

APPENDIX G 

Code Development Committee (CDC) Communication Strategy Guidance

This guidance is for the use of Code Development Committee (CDC) members during the Code development process.

The ultimate success of the Code process will depend on the involvement and buy-in of the various stakeholders around the table. To ensure support for a Code once released, an effective communication strategy is needed throughout the Code development process. The following types of communications during a Code’s development are envisioned: general/public, stakeholder/internal and individual communications. All communications during a Code’s development must abide by the Code of Practice Committee Confidentiality Principles document.

General/Public Communications

At the initiation of a Code and throughout its development up to the public comment period, general public communiqués will be issued. These may be jointly or individually undertaken by NFACC and the national lead organization and include:

  • Media releases
  • Website updates
  • Newsletter updates
  • Surveys
  • Media interviews.

Consideration for general/public communications:

  • Public communications may include details on the final priority welfare issues, updates on general Code progress, list of Scientific Committee and Code Development Committee members, and opportunities for input (e.g., surveys, public comment period). NFACC’s General Manager should be consulted if there are any concerns around what constitutes public information
  • All public communications must include acknowledgement of federal government funding source
  • Drafts, in part or whole, of the Code or Scientific Committee report will not be made publicly available prior to the public comment period. The Scientific Committee report may be released prior to the public comment period only as agreed by the Scientific Committee Chair, CDC Chair and NFACC Chair
  • Media interviews on a Code should generally be conducted only by designated spokespersons of NFACC and/or the relevant commodity group. On occasion it may be appropriate for other groups represented on a CDC to offer comments (e.g., CVMA, CFHS). Media messaging should be prepared and circulated amongst relevant spokespersons.

Internal to Stakeholders

This section addresses the need for more detailed communications that may be needed to reach specific audiences/decision-makers and help ensure their commitment to the process and the direction being taken by the CDC. These communications pieces would be considered as semi-confidential and restricted to the audience/decision-makers identified (i.e., Boards, designated committees). A balance is required between the need for transparency while ensuring that the CDC remains in charge of the Code’s development. Each Code participant has the responsibility to ensure its membership is up to date on the Code process and direction. 

The target audiences include:

  • Code participant constituent groups
  • Retail-foodservice companies or organizations
  • Government officials – elected and non-elected.

Materials, including key messages, should be developed by the Code Secretary (in consultation with the staff liaison) and reviewed by the CDC and NFACC General Manager. Only CDC members and staff liaisons should have access to semi-confidential materials and be responsible for conducting internal consultations. The Code secretary will orient any CDC member in advance of an internal consultation to ensure consistent use of the materials.

Considerations for internal consultations:

  • Materials used for internal consultations (e.g., Power Point presentations) must be marked “Draft for Discussion Only”, include a date and version number, and not be circulated beyond the intended audience
  • As much as possible concepts being considered rather than the actual proposed text should be shared
  • The details of CDC deliberations are strictly confidential (i.e., specific comments attributed to individuals should not be discussed or disclosed)
  • CDC members should advise the Code secretary of where presentations are being made and to which groups so that consultations efforts can be compiled.

Individual Communications

There will be situations where individuals not involved in the Code process, or not party to internal communications, need information (e.g., for purpose of planning, building, etc). It is preferable to keep as much detail confidential until the public comment period. However, it may be important to provide the best information possible with the caveat that information is still under discussion and subject to change. The “need to know” nature of these discussions will primarily reside within the agriculture community. CDC representatives can, at their discretion, have private conversations about the Code where those conversations are deemed vital.

Guidance:

  • Any private conversation where details of the current draft of the Code are revealed need to include a caveat that the information provided is preliminary and not final, so while decisions may be informed by the discussion, they should not determined by the discussion. Conversations should start and end with the caveat
  • These kinds of conversations are strictly on a “need to know” basis meant to inform important decisions.

APPENDIX H 

Code Development Committee Code (CDC) of Conduct for External Communications (Public & Semi-Public) 

This Code of Conduct relates to communications about the Code that a CDC member may engage in outside of the CDC, particularly where media is present. The Code Communications Strategy Guidance and Code Development Committee Confidentiality Principles documents provide additional guidance for CDC members in abiding by this Code of Conduct. CDC members are expected to familiarize themselves with those documents prior to engaging in any communications on a Code under development.

Principles for external communications:

  • Only individuals identified as spokespersons for their organization should do media interviews and presentations where media may be present
  • Prior to any media interview, public or semi-public presentation, spokespersons should familiarize themselves with any speaking points and/or media messages provided by NFACC and the organization they represent
  • Specific information on draft Code content or other confidential Code related information must not be shared prior to the public comment period. If in doubt, please confirm the status of the information
  • Following the public comment period any edits made to the Code must not be shared beyond the CDC until and unless the CDC has defined a broader group that should be privy to such information prior to the public release of the final Code
  • CDC deliberations are confidential. Specific comments, attributed to individuals, must not be discussed or disclosed.

While some representatives on a CDC may not be a designated spokesperson for any specific organization (e.g., research representative), they are still expected to adhere to this Code of Conduct.


APPENDIX I

Guidelines for Granting Observer Status at Code Development Committee (CDC) Meetings 

  1. Additional observers can be accepted at CDC meetings at the discretion of the CDC
  2. All requests for observer status at CDC meetings shall be channeled to the CDC via the Code Secretary and CDC Chair
  3. Requests for observer status must be made at least one week in advance of any CDC meeting
  4. Observers at a CDC meeting will not participate in the discussions of the CDC, unless invited by the Chair
  5. Observers may be granted “special advisor” status to allow them to contribute relative to their specific expertise.  However, special advisors will limit themselves to relaying information in their area of expertise and will not be involved in CDC decision making
  6. Observers will respect the confidentiality of information distributed or discussed at a CDC meeting as required (Appendices F, G, H).

There are also benefits to identifying “standing observers” at the start of a Code’s development process. Standing observers may be utilized as Code champions down the road given their awareness of the process behind Code decisions. The expectation is that standing observers will attend all meetings. 


APPENDIX J

NFACC Reporting Form - Development Process for Codes of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals

The aim of this reporting form is to provide sufficient information to NFACC to determine that the NFACC Code development process was appropriately followed. NFACC will support all Codes that follow its Development Process for Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals. Check all boxes that apply.

  • Letter of Understanding has been signed identifying that the national commodity or specialized industry group understands the process and responsibilities with regard to the update, development and completion of its Code
  • A Code Development Committee was formed as per NFACC’s Guiding Principles for Code Development
  • A Scientific Committee was formed as per NFACC Code development process and priority welfare issues were agreed upon between the Scientific Committee and the Code Development Committee
  • The Scientific Committee finalized a priority welfare issues report as per the Scientific Committee Terms of Reference, which has undergone a peer review process
  • The Code Development Committee has utilized the Scientific Committee report in drafting the Code of Practice
  • The principles outlined within the Guiding Principles for Code Development have been followed in developing the Code
  • The format template provided by NFACC for Codes has been followed.
Signature of Code Development Committee Chair __________________________________________________
Date__________________________________________________
Signature of commodity group Staff Liaison__________________________________________________
Date__________________________________________________

APPENDIX K 

NFACC Code Development Committee (CDC) Secretary – Skill Set Required

General comments

The NFACC CDC Secretary plays a pivotal role within the Code development process. This person is central to the success of the Code being developed and must work closely with the Chair of the CDC, CDC Staff Liaison for the commodity group updating its Code, and the NFACC General Manager. The CDC Secretary must have strong facilitation, communication (written and oral), critical thinking and research skills. A willing, positive attitude and open mind are fundamental to the Code Secretary position. The position requires a person who is self-directed and motivated to succeed.   

Required Skills

  • Technical proficiency: typing skills, knowledgeable in the use of various software programs (e.g., Word, Excel, Outlook) and equipment (e.g., projector, computer)
  • Organizational competence: able to coordinate scheduling of meeting dates, meeting requirements (e.g., necessary equipment, translation, catering, printing), providing documents/drafts to CDC members in advance via email, interacting with the Chair
  • Research capabilities: on-line and other literature reviews, interviews of topic experts
  • Writing proficiency: capable of writing concisely and synthesizing multiple sources of information into coherent summaries. Also capable of hearing diverse views on a topic and configuring language that captures the essence of what needs to be communicated
  • Facilitation/conflict resolution: contentious topics require an approach that allows each member of the CDC to communicate respectfully and be heard. Resolving disagreements in a mutually acceptable manner ultimately determines whether a Code is successful or not
  • Communication ability:  able to communicate effectively in a group setting and one-on-one.

Responsibilities

  • Use the Code of Practice Development process as a guide in carrying out Secretarial duties
  • Work with the CDC and Scientific Committee to identify the 3-6 priority welfare issues for the Scientific Committee to develop a report on
  • Organize and attend meetings of the CDC (includes preparing minutes as required)
  • Prepare and revise drafts of the Code as required using the Code document template provided (this includes writing, literature reviews and other communications as needed to create drafts of the Code that can be reviewed by the CDC)
  • Facilitate the work of the Scientific Committee and/or its contract writer as needed to complete their task (as per Scientific Committee TOR) and ensure seamless incorporation of the Scientific Committee’s input to the Code
  • Ensure communications/documents (via email, print, and at meetings/teleconferences) are available in both official languages as necessary
  • Facilitate the CDC in meeting its objective of developing/finalizing a Code of Practice. This includes supporting the CDC Chair in resolving any conflicts that arise and making NFACC aware of substantial issues
  • Coordinate the 60-day public comment period by advising the NFACC General Manager when a Code is ready for public review, submit the document for website upload, receive, compile and organize feedback for consideration by the CDC
  • Assist as needed to coordinate copyright and ISBN for the Code
  • Provide a print-ready copy of the finalized Code once complete
  • Compile a list of research needs that resulted from the Code development process and submit to the NFACC General Manager
  • Compile any other feedback from the CDC or Scientific Committee on the Code process and submit to the NFACC General Manager.

Reporting Structure

The CDC Secretary reports to the NFACC General Manager. However, the Code Secretary should have a close working relationship with the CDC, CDC Chair and Staff Liaison for daily matters (e.g. matters pertaining to specifics of the Code).


APPENDIX L

Scientific Committee Support Personnel Terms of Reference 

Reporting Structure

Support personnel will take direction from Scientific Committee members in the development of the Scientific Committee’s report, working closely with the Chair of the Scientific Committee. Ultimately, research writers are accountable to the NFACC General Manager/Project Coordinator. Support personnel may also need to work with the respective Code Development Secretary for the species being addressed and be capable of working independently as required. 

Qualifications:

  • Post graduate education in animal welfare science including the completion and defense of a graduate thesis
  • Technical proficiency:  typing, spelling, and proof-reading skills, knowledgeable in the use of various software programs (e.g., Word, Excel, Outlook, Endnote)
  • Strong organizational and teamwork skills
  • Literature review capabilities and access to on-line and print research books and scientific journals (including Scopus, PubMed, ScienceDirect, major scientific journals), including the ability to contrast and compare study methods and results in a meaningful way
  • Writing proficiency: capable of writing concisely and synthesizing technical information into coherent, accurate, and precise summaries that are understandable by a layperson.   While the primary language used will be English, French language skills are an asset.

Responsibilities include providing support as needed and directed by the Scientific Committee:

  • Organize and attend meetings/teleconferences
  • Drafting sections of the report as needed and directed by the Scientific Committee
  • Prepare, revise drafts and track edits of the priority welfare issues report as directed
  • Conducting literature searches and compiling and citing report references
  • Literature reviews and preparing summaries of the key points of research reports
  • Proof reading
  • Guide and support as needed to keep the report’s completion on track and on time
  • Ensure the report is consistent with the Scientific Committee’s terms of reference
  • Prepare the Scientific Committee response to peer reviewers for consideration by the Peer Review Coordinator
  • Copy editing as per NFACC’s Scientific Committee template, including reference style
  • Compiling gaps in knowledge and areas for further research
  • Provide a print-ready copy of the finalized priority welfare issues report once complete.