Dairy farmers have built up valuable systems that mitigate risks to animal and human health. In Canada, the sector has several powerful tools to leverage: two cattle traceability programs (SimpliTrace in Quebec and the national program DairyTrace for dairy farmers outside of Quebec) and the proAction Biosecurity module. These are strengthened by the farmers who do the hard work building up the databases for traceability and reporting. 

How traceability helps Canadian dairy farmers 

In conjunction with the proAction Traceability module, DairyTrace and SimpliTrace provide many safeguards by tracing an animal’s past and present locations. Dairy farmers had been diligently identifying their animals and reporting move-in data, imports, exports and tag activations and retirements for years, setting up DairyTrace for national success with its full implementation in 2020. In Quebec, farmers have been using the SimpliTrace program within the province. Both set the Canadian dairy industry up for faster response times in the event of an emerging disease emergency.

Now, the two databases generate essential traceback information, helping authorities understand where dairy cattle are and where they have been (e.g., their movement to and from an infected farm). This information will help our industry and the government respond to an outbreak rapidly and effectively, limiting economic impact on the sector.

Under proAction, farmers have time windows to report a movement; in an outbreak, however, it is of utmost importance that farmers make these reports as quickly as possible.

How proAction and the biosecurity module help dairy farmers

Under the leadership of Dairy Farmers of Canada, Canadian dairy farms worked together to create proAction, an incredible system that can trace health issues across provinces. Completing the database through the proAction Biosecurity module is essential to on-farm safety. Under this module, farmers focus on managing risks and preventing disease introduction and spread within a herd. Every aspect of the biosecurity module is designed to protect cattle health, maintain farm efficiency and ensure the high quality of Canadian milk.


Working closely with veterinarians reduces the risks of introducing existing and emerging animal diseases to a particular farm. It also makes it easier to control diseases should they be detected in a herd. Doing so not only improves the overall health of Canadian herds but also positively impacts farm productivity, a key factor of sustainability.

Shoring up our tools by working together

There is much we can do to keep both programs working as efficiently and effectively as possible. Under DairyTrace or SimpliTrace, farmers are encouraged to review and update herd inventories and replace any missing tags as soon as possible. To keep the reports up to date, they should promptly report animal movements into the herd, preferably within 24 hours.

Farmers are also encouraged to report animal movements out of the herd. It tells the system that the animal has left the farm and that the next person, farm or facility will report the animal’s move-in. These practices help accelerate traceback investigations and protect dairy cattle in a health emergency.

Off-farm, work is being done behind the scenes to make reporting easier. DairyTrace has recently completed significant improvements to its portal and app, making event reporting simple and more convenient for dairy farmers. DairyTrace and SimpliTrace are also accessible by government authorities to facilitate traceback and disease management.

These two modules of proAction – Traceability, partnered with DairyTrace and SimpliTrace, and Biosecurity – accentuate farmers’ diligent attention to accurate, up-to-date databases. Canadian dairy is well-equipped to manage an emerging disease in ways that mitigate risks to animals and farmers.

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is the national policy, lobbying and promotional organization representing Canadian dairy producers. DFC strives to create stable conditions for the dairy sector in our country. It also seeks to maintain policies that promote the sustainability of Canadian dairy production and promote dairy products and their health benefits. Visit DFC's website for more information.