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Helping Canada’s Pets
How we help care for Canada’s Pets – Animal welfare is everyone’s business
As a trade association that supports Canadian pet businesses there can be a misconception that we do not have an interest in the wellbeing of animals and that the welfare of animals is found only in the humane, rescue and health care sectors. The truth is, that the welfare of animals is at our core and drives our efforts as an organization. We believe that animal welfare is everyone’s business from pet professionals to media, government and the public.
We are an organization which offers resources, guidance and best practice recommendations. It is important to note that we are not an enforcement agency. PIJAC Canada believes in empowering our industry, giving them the tools to succeed in what they do. First and foremost, this success means providing the highest level of care for pets in our communities through reputable products and services.
Here is what we do to help care for Canada’s pets:
Recommended Practices for pet businesses
Membership in PIJAC Canada is voluntary. For each new business that joins we provide them with our association’s recommended practices to use as a guide for conducting a reputable pet business. For our retail members we offer our free Best Management Practices program which provides guidance and support for pet stores in their day to day operations.
Pet Care Program for pet professionals
A qualified pet care giver is an educated one. Our Certified Companion Animal Specialist Program (CCASP) was developed by veterinarians and pet industry experts to effectively train people who work with pets on a regular basis in the field of proper animal husbandry. The CCASP covers six specialties; canine, feline, avian, small animal, fresh water fish and reptile. Topics covered include disease and illness recognition, prevention, treatment, record keeping and breed identification.
Specialized animal care workshops
These workshops are created to enhance the information in the Certified Companion Animal Specialist Program and can also work as a stand-alone learning module. Currently, our specialized workshops include:
- Canine behaviour
- Rabbit Nutrition
- Canine and Feline Food Allergies
- Reptile Lighting and Heating
Our goal is to create additional workshops and expand our educational offerings for pet professionals.
Collaborative initiatives with animal health and welfare agencies
We are a founding member of the National Companion Animal Coalition which includes the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, Canadian Kennel Club and Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. This group has worked together to develop tools which promote socially responsible pet ownership. Examples of these tools can be found by visiting the Resource section of this website.
As a trade association our primary focus has always been to assist pet related businesses. As such we have developed tools for our members to use with their own clientele to help educate them about various issues such as a definition of a puppy mill, safe handling posters for pets, invasive species education, salmonella prevention, checklists to purchase/adopt a dog or cat.
We recognize and support the need for municipalities, provinces and the federal government to enact animal control legislation, which addresses issues of nuisance control, threats to public health and public safety. Collaboration has always been one of our driving forces which is why we have contributed to hundreds of pieces of pet related legislation over the last 25 years. We offer assistance through consultation and by providing guidance papers to municipalities and provinces on various issues such as our exotic pet policy, stocking density guidelines for different species and sample municipal animal bylaw. Other government partners include the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Environment Canada, Foregin Affairs, Agriculture and Agrifood Canada and Health Canada.
Striving to make things better
At PIJAC Canada we pride ourselves on taking a proactive approach. Not every business operates at the same level so if we are presented with a member of our association or industry company whose business practices come into questions we address the issue head on. Our first action is to contact the company, assess the situation and offer advice should changes be required. We believe that turning our back on a situation where animals or a business are in need of assistance does nothing to make things better. If it happens that a member of the association decides not to make necessary adjustments, a process is started to revoke membership. Again, our role is to offer guidance where possible and to do our part to ensure the highest standards of animal care possible.
We are a national non-profit dedicated to ensuring the highest level of pet care and equitable representing all facets of the industry.
PIJAC Canada History
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council began its operations in the United States on December 7, 1971. The purpose was to put together a concerted effort to defeat proposed changes to legislation affecting the transport of live animals. Today the PIJAC acronym is recognized around the world as a leading authority for the pet industry in areas such as education, information and advocacy.
PIJAC USA has been instrumental in bringing the international recognition the movement presently enjoys. From this original organization, other PIJAC or similar like-minded associations have emerged in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The on-going need for sharing of information and resources has in addition resulted in the creation of IPAC, the International Pet Advisory Council, of which PIJAC Canada is a founding member.
PIJAC Canada became a recognized legal entity in March of 1988. As with PIJAC USA, the association came about as a result of the need for industry representation on legislative issues, initially at the municipal level and later at provincial and national levels. At that time, other existing pet trade associations were asked to join PIJAC Canada. This established PIJAC Canada as the unified voice of the Canadian pet industry.
Since its inception, PIJAC Canada has experienced tremendous growth, both in its membership base and in the services it offers to the industry at large. With its 6 regions, PIJAC Canada has continued to build the support from its members as well as its credibility through its actions in three key areas:
PIJAC Canada develops policies and guidelines on key pet industry issues and informs its members of all the latest legislative and industry developments through its publications, newsletters, updates, policies, guidelines, seminars and trade shows.
PIJAC Canada offers continuing education and programs that are specifically designed to meet the needs of pet industry professionals. These include training in pet care, husbandry and behaviour, retail store certification and business training for pet retail owners and staff.
PIJAC Canada effectively represents the interests and concern of its members at all levels of government, on many issues that have an impact on their day-to-day operations, such as responsible pet ownership, breed bans, imports of pets and pet food products and animal health.
As a result of the continued support of its members and, in an effort to respond to the Canadian pet industry’s ever-changing needs and challenges, PIJAC Canada continues to grow and evolve as a strong, unique, national organization.
PIJAC Canada – Thirty years of history
1988 PIJAC Canada is incorporated (March 3rd)
- Established the first national pet industry trade association
- Created with the help of Rolf C. Hagen Inc. and PIJAC USA
- Put together to help fight harmful legislation
- Held in Toronto this show is run by pet industry people for pet industry people
1989 PIJAC Canada hosts its first pet industry trade show (September)
- Key part of the association’s revenue model along with membership dues
- Initiatives spearheaded by Rolf C. Hagen himself
1991 Quebec retailers unite to express their views on the government’s inquiry into animal protection legislation
- Louis McCann is hired as a consultant to testify on their behalf, in front parliamentary commission (May)
- Louis McCann is hired as E.D. of the PIJAC Canada Quebec division (August)
1992 PIJAC Canada
- Hires its first employee (Louis McCann) in January as its first Executive Director
- Gets involved in the regulatory consultation exercise that would lead to the enactment of WAPPARIITA. This regulation is important as it resulted in the regulatory tool for the implementation of CITES in Canada. Set the foundation for a strong working relationship between PIJAC Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECC)
- Participates in discussions with the Qc government on the issue of animals in captivity. Results in a favorable regulation on exotic pet ownership
- Lobbies against proposed changes to the Qc Medication Act, resulting in retailers maintaining their ability to sell flea collars, powders and shampoos
- In collaboration with PIJAC Canada Quebec, hosts the first two pet consumer shows, taking the lead in promoting high standards of animal care and a positive pet industry in front of consumers. A total of seven of these events were created before they ended in 1995
- Represents the interests of its live animal members at CITES conference in Kyoto, Japan (CoP12)
1993 PIJAC Canada
- Works with Health Canada on the issue of Salmonella in pet turtles. This resulted in our Safe Handling of Pets poster information series, which promotes proper hygiene as the best practice to avoid contamination
- Completes a national tour, meeting with members and potential members to find out what they wanted from their association. This can be summarized in three things:
1) national representation
2) education/training and
3) A way of separating the good operators from the bad.
1994 PIJAC Canada
- Restructures the association, creating divisions to ensure representation from each region of the country on the national board
- Negotiates and obtains from PIJAC USA the right to make use of their Pet Care Training Programs in Canada. The first seminar dealt with reptile care and was held in Edmonton and counted over 100 participants
1995 PIJAC Canada
- Is instrumental in modifying the final outcome to the federal Health of Animals regulation
- Is a founding member of the National Companion Animal Coalition (NCAC), regrouping four national associations (CFHS, CKC, CVMA, PIJAC Canada) and one government agency (AAFC). This coalition is responsible for developing numerous tools like: Canadian RFID standard for companion animals. Sample municipal bylaw, dog bite prevention strategy, etc.
- Is a founding member of IPAC (international Pet Advisory Council), regrouping like-minded pet industry trade associations from around the world, sharing expertise and collaborating on issues of common interest.
- Finalizes an agreement with Environment Canada that provided us with the financial and technical assistance to be able to offer our very own Canadian version of the Pet Care Training Programs in both official languages. The programs, refined over the years, continue to this day and have generated numerous topic specific seminars and workshops. They have been taken by a wide variety of students: retailers, shelters, law enforcement officers, animal health technicians, veterinarians
1996 PIJAC Canada
- Implements first Canadian standard for electronic identification of companion animals, allowing maximum recovery of lost pets
- Participates in the discussion over proposed federal regulation to ban the importation of turtle eggs
- Assists the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) in the Canadian pavilion exercise at Interzoo in Germany. Such exercises provide tools for our exporting member companies to access foreign markets. It will become an important service offered by the association to many of our members
1997 PIJAC Canada
- Represents the interests of its live animal members at CITES conference in Harare, Zimbabwe (CoP17)
- Takes over from DFAIT the administration of the AIMS/CAFI funding program for manufacturing companies interested on exporting their products to foreign markets
1998 PIJAC Canada
- Participates in discussions with various hobby groups and government agencies on invasive species. This resulted in the creation and distribution of a poster information strategy sent to all garden centers and pet stores to help them spread the message not to release aquarium fish, reptiles and invertebrates in the environment. With help of aquarium manufacturers, a smaller version of the poster was put in all the aquarium kits sold in Canada. This material was the first of its kind to be produced in Canada in both official languages. PIJAC Canada’s role in reducing the threat of alien invasive species would develop in the future years.
- Joins with hobby groups to fight proposed exotic animal ban in Toronto. Achieves successful outcome through its Exotic Animal Policy and accompanying two-meter/three-meter rule. This policy will be instrumental in helping us battle harmful legislation, at the municipal and provincial levels, for the next ten years
- Leads its first delegation of exporting member companies in a Canadian pavilion exercise in Germany. Over the years, this activity will grow to host similar activities in Russia, Italy and France. Trade missions to Japan, Spain and China have also been added to the list of activities offered to our member companies
- Sits on Pet Food Labelling Committee hosted by Industry Canada. Results in the creation of the Guide to Pet Food Labelling document
1999 PIJAC Canada
- Creates and hosts its first pet industry trade show in Quebec (Expozoo). Tailored to cater the French pet industry sector. This event: Offers French member companies their own show; Provides an additional revenue to help the association carry out its mission and objectives; Offers training, membership recruiting and networking opportunities
- Intervenes in numerous municipal bylaw exercises that would severely restrict ownership of less traditional (non-cat and dog) pets. Such challenges would take place in several municipalities for the next ten years
- Intervenes with the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and has them modify their new position statement on exotic pets
2000 PIJAC Canada
- Creates and hosts its first pet industry trade show in Western Canada (Western Pet Expo). Tailored to cater to the western pet industry sector. This event: Offers member companies their own show; Provides an additional revenue to help the association carry out its mission and objectives; Offers new training, membership recruiting and networking opportunities
- Represents and delivers industry position on live animal transport (CITES), to federal and provincial law enforcement personnel
- Delivers, under the NCAC, a dog bite prevention strategy in collaboration with the Canada Safety Council and the BC SPCA
- Collaborates with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to the creation and distribution of a message to retail operators and their customers on how to protect themselves against the threat of salmonella from handling pet treats
2001 PIJAC Canada
- Under NCAC, produces revised standard for RFID in companion animals. This initiative builds on the initial objective of reaching for maximum pet recovery, by aligning Canada with what’s being implemented at the international level.
- Participates in consultation exercises that will eventually lead to a revised Animal Protection Act in New Brunswick
- Increases its offerings of seminars and workshops across the country adding more subjects and locations
2002 PIJAC Canada
- Launches its Retail Store Certification Program (RSC). This program aims at recognizing facilities that comply with minimum standards in the areas of animal care and husbandry, customer information and record keeping. This program included a mandatory onsite inspection and led to the store’s certification. First certify staff through Pet Care Training Program, and the facility through the RSC program
- Is appointed by the Quebec Minister of Agriculture to the Board of ANIMA Québec, a new not for profit para governmental organization, whose mission is one of education and enforcement of the newly created provincial animal protection regulation
2003 PIJAC Canada
- Gets involved in the discussions on proposed changes to the import and export of pet foods following confirmed cases of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy a.k.a. mad cow disease) in Canada and the USA. PIJAC Canada, in collaboration with PFAC (Pet Food Association of Canada) works with the CFIA to ensure the interests of our pet food importing and exporting members are well protected
- Produces and distributes a New Addition to the family brochure. This document offers information to perspective pet owners that can help them make an informed choice when it comes to identifying a reputable source when it comes to getting a dog. This document is endorsed by the four NCAC member associations and features the first written definition of what is a puppy mill and a check list to help pet owners find a reputable source.
2004 PIJAC Canada
- Intervenes with CFIA officials over an outbreak of avian influenza in British Columbia. Without this timely intervention, we would have looked at the death of numerous parrots as this province has a certain number of outdoor aviaries. PIJAC Canada brings science to the discussion and expertise from its membership.
- Similar situations would occur over the years, for example: Monkey Pox, Seoul virus, Tularemia outbreaks and the potential spread of a deadly fungus to our native newt populations. In all these cases PIJAC Canada consults its members, collaborates with the relevant government agencies and communicates the relevant information/action to the concerned industry players and by extension, the public
2005 PIJAC Canada
- Hosts a national symposium with PHAC and CFIA on the threat of salmonella transmission to humans via pet treats. First meeting of its kind where industry players and government academia meet in person to discuss this issue. From this activity came the following actions:
1) PIJAC Canada creates Best Management Practices for pet treat manufacturers, focusing on recall practices.
2) PIJAC Canada creates an information poster on the safe handling of Pet treats aimed at informing retailers and their customers on how to safely handle these pet treats.
- Conducts a review of its own Exotic Animal Policy
- Starts work on recommended space requirements for animals kept in a retail environment. This exercise would eventually produce a separate document for dogs, cats, small animals, birds, reptiles and fish. These documents would later be referenced in Manitoba’s Animal Care Act
- Reassesses its Retail Store Certification Program, in response to comments made by the membership
- Testifies in front of the Ontario legislature against breed specific legislation. Under the umbrella of the NCAC, creates a position statement against breed specific legislation (BSL)
2006 PIJAC Canada
- Designs and launches its own website dedicated to reducing the threat of alien invasive species. Called Habitattitude™, it educates the public on the importance of our natural habitats, talks about embracing safe habits and preaches the proper attitude when it comes to preventing the spread of alien invasive species.
- This project is made possible in part through a grant from Environment Canada. License to use this brand was obtained from PIJAC USA and the US Fish and Wildlife Service
- Participates in the organization of the first Summit for Urban Animal Strategies (SUAS). This event fostered collaboration and recognized initiatives carried out by the different pet industry sectors. During the nine years this event took place, Lasting relationships were created, producing results to this day
2007-2008-2009 PIJAC Canada
- Provides its expertise on a variety of provincial legislative initiatives, and other proposed regulatory changes. This resulted in numerous favorable outcomes for our members:
1) New controlled alien species regulation in British Columbia;
2) New Pet establishment licensing Act and Exotic Animal Regulation in New Brunswick;
3) In Quebec, numerous regulatory exercises that would lead us to the Safety and welfare of Animals Act;
4) In Quebec, swift representation to the CSST (work safety agency) resulted in massive savings to our retailers’ monthly insurance premiums
5) In Quebec, PIJAC Canada participates in the newly formed working group, at the request of the Minister of Agriculture. This group offers an opportunity to get to know the different animal welfare stakeholder groups and have good discussions on the issues affecting animal welfare in this province.
- At the request of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), PIJAC Canada joins a working group to discuss the country’s National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP). We were representing ornamental fish importers, making sure their concerns and expertise was heard. This resulted in a program that meets its objectives, while still allowing our members to do business. As usual, the CFIA accepted our offer to come to the National show to meet with industry players and answer their questions.
- In collaboration with the Pet Food Association of Canada (PFAC), PIJAC Canada works with CFIA on new import measures for finished pet food products from the United States. We ensure that member importers are well informed, and their interests well represented
2010-2011-2012 PIJAC Canada
- Increases its efforts to fight harmful municipal bylaws, looking to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores. This leads to the creation of a Municipal Tool Kit and Media Tool Kit.
- Modifies its approach, developing tools that assist and empower the member, helping him to fight for his business.
- Conducts a thorough review of its bylaws to comply with the new Not for Profit Corporations Act; Goes through various governance actions, leading in the issuance of the association’s Certificate of continuance
- Testifies in front of a Quebec parliamentary Commission on Bill 51 The Safety and Welfare of Dogs and Cats Act
- Works with the government of Newfoundland and Labrador on proposed changes to the province’s Animal Protection Act
- Works with Quebec’s ministry of health in the creation, design and distribution of a poster information campaign on the Safe Handling of Reptiles and Amphibians, sharing in the belief that education is better than banning.
2013 PIJAC Canada
- Presents and obtains approval of the association’s revised bylaws at the Annual General Meeting. This represented the last step towards reaching full compliance under the new Not for Profit Corporation’s Act
- Delivers another of its training programs (small animals) to the new online format (distance learning)
- Presents its revised canine behavior workshop (dog talk)
- Adds communication tools (new website, e-newsletter, blog) in accordance with our Strategic objectives
- Contributes its expertise on regulatory exercises that affect pet food and alien invasive species. Maintains an active presence, enabling us to showcase our efforts, our expertise and work collaboratively with the relevant government agencies
- Is part of an advisory group to the government of Quebec on the review and potential changes to the existing animal protection legislation
- Provides its Exotic Animal Policy to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), for distribution to their 2000-member municipalities
- Begins work on the association’s Best Management Practices (BMP’s)
2014 PIJAC Canada
- Co-Chairs a working group that will look at ways to promote the pet experience. We lead the charge in identifying what represents a positive pet experience as well as the barriers to having it.
- Participates in the first ToP2ToP pet industry conference networking with top industry leaders, exchanging information and gathering some important pet industry research.
- Presents at the SBSTTA (a technical working group of the (CBD)Convention on Biological Diversity), showcasing what the pet industry is doing to prevent the threat of alien invasive species
- Works with PHAC (Public Health Agency of Canada) at developing proper messaging to address the recent cases of salmonella contamination linked to pet reptiles and feeder rodents
- Leads the review process on the first draft of its Best Management Practices (BMP’s)
- Continues to fight harmful municipal legislation
- Introduces its new slogan: Animal Welfare is Everyone’s Business™ (AWIEB)
2015 PIJAC Canada
- Works with Alberta pet industry members to successfully block a new provincial government regulation that would have prohibited the keeping of pet frogs
- Provides its expertise to the government of Quebec on proposed Bill 54, An Act to improve the legal status of animals in Quebec, and on proposed changes to the province’s animals in captivity regulation
- Provides guidance to the Ontario government as it considers changes to its exotic animal regulation.
- Initiates a review process for all its policies and position statements
- Creates a Succession Committee, with the objective of putting in place a succession plan for the Board and the senior executive
- Launches a new education website, dedicated to hosting the association’s distance learning (web based) education programs. This format is more user friendly, accessible through smart phone, tablets, etc.
2016 PIJAC Canada
- Launches its Best Management Practices program, offering retail operators a tool that helps recognize their commitment to animal welfare and differentiate themselves from dubious operators
- Exhibits for the first time at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Annual Conference and Trade Show, providing information and having conversations about our programs like our new Best Management Practice’s (BMP’s)
- Works with PHAC (Public Health Agency of Canada) to disseminate the Healthy Animals Healthy People infographic series to prevent salmonella contamination linked to pet reptiles, small animals and feeder rodents
- Participates in the National Invasive Alien Species Workshop, showcasing our website habitattitude.ca
- Participates in a working group hosted by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)) on scientific names of Plants, Animals and Microorganisms
- Expands its reach to consumers by taking part in three consumer shows
- Is consulted by the provincial working group appointed by the Premier of Quebec to look at the dangerous dog issue
- Gives a presentation on the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) standard for companion animals used in Canada
- Participates in the BC government’s consultation exercise, looking at the need to regulate the commercial breeding of dogs and cats
- Collaborates with the (MOHLTC), Ministry of Ontario Health and Long Time Care, in the development of guidelines for the keeping of animals in child care centers
2017 PIJAC Canada
- Presents at the National Invasive Species’ Workshop, showcasing the history of our involvement with this issue and introducing PIJAC USA’s Pet Pathway Tool Kit
- Launches its new association website. It’s more user friendly and accessible through various intelligent devices
- Exhibits at the National Animal Welfare Conference (NAWC), the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Annual Conference and Trade Show and a Veterinary technician conference, showcasing our BMP’s and Pet Care Training Programs
- Works in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to address the threat to indigenous salamander and newt populations
- Creates and disseminates a joint message with (PHAC) Public Health Agency of Canada, addressing an outbreak of the Seoul virus in pet rats
- Joins its effort with numerous stakeholders to oppose Quebec’s Bill 128, an Act to promote the protection of persons by establishing a framework with regards to dogs, maintaining our stance against breed specific legislation
- Consults with the government of New Brunswick on proposed changes to its exotic animal regulation
- Adopts a new Strategic Plan which focus on the development of better communication tools to our members and the public, growing our brand and being active on the legislative front
2018 PIJAC Canada
- Faces several municipal bylaw challenges in British Columbia and Quebec
- Expands and develops its social media presence/strategy
- Participates in private in house shows in Alberta and Quebec, accepting the opportunity to showcase our programs and services, meet existing members and recruit new ones
- Implements recognition program (awards) at all our pet industry trade shows
- Implements the final step of its Departure Defined Senior Executive Succession Plan, with the hiring of its new President and CEO, Stéphanie Girard.
- Hits record attendance and exhibitors at all three Canadian shows
- Increases its social media presence drastically, with a 1491% growth on Facebook and 257% growth on Instagram. (June 2018-June 2019)
- Grows its membership from 674 members at the end of 2017 to 773 at the end of 2018.
2019 PIJAC Canada
- Hits record attendance of visitors and exhibitors at all three Canadian shows for the second year in a row
- Participates in international shows, including Zoomark in Italy, Pet Fair Asia and the China International Pet Show, both in Shanghai, China
- Collaborates with Federal, provincial and municipal government levels in pet industry projects.
- Grows its membership from 773 members at the end of 2018 to over 1500 at the end of 2019.
- Introduces the PIJAC Canada Dog Talk program, which is designed to help people who work with dogs or who encounter dogs daily to increase and refine their knowledge to offer the best and safest care possible.
- Partners with several companies to offer new member benefits, including: StreetDog Marketing, WestJet, Motel 6, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), and Air Canada.