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Canadian Johne’s Disease Initiative

What is Canadian Johne’s Disease Initiative?


The Canadian Johne’s Disease Initiative (CJDI) was created to reduce the prevalence of Johne’s Disease in Canadian herds.  JD is a costly disease of ruminant animals and a potential trade barrier that affects the sustainability of livestock agriculture in Canada.  JD in cattle is caused by an organism (Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis- MAP) that may have human health implications. CJDI is a collaborative activity of industry, governments and veterinary schools, led by Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and the Canadian Animal Health Coalition (CAHC).  The CJDI focuses on:

  • Education and awareness - Develop and deliver coordinated educational information and communications about JD to farmers, veterinarians, government and other target audiences.
  • Provincial coordination - Facilitate communications amongst provincial JD working groups, share JD awareness and extension messages, as well as recommend minimal program standards.
  • Research - Scan international JD programs and research activities, as well as facilitate collaborations to enable priority Canadian research and cost-effective JD program delivery.

Initially the CJDI encourages provincial delivery of the Prevention Pathway of the JD program. Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec have initiated programs. Other provinces, including Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and the Atlantic region are considering program options.


Funding from the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Program (ACAAF) and industry, with leadership from CCA, DFC and CAHC, resulted in the development of the Canadian Voluntary Johne’s Disease Prevention and Control Program (2005-6). A follow-up project (2008-9) developed guidelines for the national coordination of provincially-delivered JD control programs and initiated a plan for moving forward.


The CJDI will work to highlight the importance of JD prevention at the national level and coordinate key activities beneficial to provincial JD programs, such as: working group networking, interaction with other national initiatives, educational forums, communications, MAP research priority setting and the study of a future JD Status program for seed-stock producers. The CJDI will remain vigilant of opportunities to combine JD programs with other production-limiting and trade-linked diseases or food safety programs, to streamline delivery to Canadian veterinarians, beef and dairy producers. JD prevention in Canada is a targeted management assistance approach, not a regulatory program.

Prevention Pathway program on the farm:

Many private veterinary practitioners have received training in the standard risk assessment approach to JD prevention. To initiate the Johne’s Disease Prevention Pathway on the farm, a trained veterinarian works with the herd owner to gather the herd’s history related to JD and make recommendations about testing and the use of the risk assessment document to evaluate management practises related to the spread of MAP. Finally, the herd owner and the veterinarian develop a plan to implement cost effective Best Management Practices (BMPs) to minimize JD in the herd. Confidentiality of results is strictly maintained.  

Provincial contacts:

  • Atlantic- Greg Keefe - Atlantic Johne's Disease Initiative - gkeefe@upei.ca or 902-566-0725 
  • Quebec- Geneviève Côté - Programme Volontaire de Prevention et de Contrôle de la Paratuberculose - Genevieve.Cote@mapaq.gouv.qc.ca or 418-380-2100 ext. 3874
  • Ontario - Ann Godkin - Ontario Johne's Education and Management Assistance Program - ann.godkin@ontario.ca or 519-846-3409
  •  Manitoba - Glen Duizer - Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Initiatives,  Glen.Duizer@gov.mb.ca or 204-945-4174
  • Saskatchewan - LeeAnn Forsythe - LeeAnn.Forsythe@gov.sk.ca or 306-787-6069
  • Alberta - Emily McDonald - Alberta Johne's Disease Initiative - emcdonald@albertamilk.com or 1-877-361-1231 
  • British Columbia - Brian Radke - British Columbia Johne's Disease Initiative - brian.radke@gov.bc.ca or 604-556-3066

CJDI Advisory Committee members:

  • Pauline Duivenvooden, Dairy Farmers of Canada (co-chair)
  • Pat Rutledge, Canadian Cattlemens’ Association (co-chair)
  • Louis Desautels, Canadian Cattlemens’ Association
  • Rejean Bouchard, Dairy Farmers of Canada 
  • Herman Barkema/Shawn McKenna- Technical Committee co-chairs
  • Geneviève Côté, Comité directeur, Programme volontaire de prévention et de contrôle de la paratuberculose au Québec
  • Ron Versteeg, Ontario Johne’s Education and Management Assistance Program 
 CJDI Technical Committee:
  • Herman Barkema, University of Calgary (co-chair)
  • Shawn McKenna, University of Prince Edward Island (co-chair)
  • Amanda Amaratunga, Canadian Food Inspection Agency 
  • Reynold Bergen, Canadian Cattlemens’ Association
  • Rejean Bouchard, Dairy Farmers of Canada 
  • Geneviève Côté, Programme volontaire de prévention et de contrôle de la paratuberculose au Québec
  • Gilles Fecteau, University of Montreal
  • Ann Godkin, Ontario Johne’s Education and Management Assistance Program
  • Steve Hendrick, University of Saskatchewan
  • David Kelton, University of Guelph

 October, 2011


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