The Canadian Verified Sheep Program is a voluntary program that was developed through a partnership among producers, industry and government personnel from across Canada. The CVSP incorporates multiple factors contributing to ‘social license to operate’ into one program. Social license is an term used to indicate the level of public trust that an industry holds. Increasingly for livestock industries maintaining public trust requires proving that good production practices are being followed through the setting measurable standards in areas such as food safety and animal welfare. The goal of the CVSP is provide sheep producers with an inclusive program that can help them meet these standards. The CVSP incorporates elements of three existing documents into one program.
The CVSP manual includes chapters covering:
- On-farm food safety (revised version of the Canadian Sheep and Lamb Food Safe Farm Practices (FSFP) program that was first approved as an official program in 2002).
- Animal welfare (all ‘Requirements’ from the National Farm Animal Council's Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Sheep and a Flock Health Program).
- On-farm biosecurity (based on Canadian Food Inspection Agency's The National Sheep On-Farm Biosecurity Standard).
Producers are required to follow the good production practices outlined by the program and to maintain associated records. To become certified on the program, producers are required to follow a 4-year audit cycle.
More information, access to on-line training, and all program documents (including the full manual and associated forms) are available on the Canadian Sheep Federation website.
The CVSP takes the place of the previous version of the FSFP program. Program training (but not certification) is currently required for producers requesting funding under the Growing Forward 2 Producer Food Safety Program.