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New federal food safety, veterinary chiefs named

The federal government has named two new chiefs to replace the veterinarian doing double duty as Canada’s chief food safety officer and chief veterinary officer.

Dr. Martine Dubuc, currently the vice-president of science at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, becomes Canada’s chief food safety officer on top of her previous duties.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ian Alexander, already the executive director of CFIA’s animal health directorate, will become the country’s chief veterinary officer in addition to his duties. Both replace Dr. Brian Evans, who had been the CVO for 14 years and food safety officer for two years.

"Dr. Evans has played an important part in shaping Canada’s animal health policies over the years, first at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and at the CFIA," CFIA president George Da Pont said in a release Tuesday.

Evans, Da Pont said, "will continue to share his knowledge, expertise, and international perspective in his new role" as special advisor to the CFIA president.

Evans will continue both as Canada’s delegate to the World Organization for Health (OIE) and on the OIE Council representing the OIE region for the Americas, which includes 30 member countries.

The chief food safety officer, according to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz in Tuesday’s release, "plays a key role in ensuring our food safety activities benefit from the latest science and continue to contribute to the health of Canadians and to Canada’s overall economic performance. Dr. Dubuc will be a tremendous asset in her new role."

As CVO, Alexander is to provide "national leadership to ensure that Canada’s animal and veterinary public health infrastructure is positioned to effectively manage current and emerging disease threats in order to protect animal and human health, and to maintain international trust in Canada’s inspection and certification systems in support of market access," the agency said.

Alexander joined CFIA in 2010 after 23 years with Health Canada’s veterinary drugs program, where he’d served as director of its clinical evaluation division and acting director general of the Veterinary Drugs Directorate.

He was also Canada’s representative to the steering committee of VICH (International Co-operation on Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Registration of Veterinary Medicinal Products) from 2002 to 2010.

Dubuc came to CFIA in 2008 from the Quebec government, where she held senior roles responsible for provincial-level animal health and food safety, and took part in national food safety efforts in her work with the federal/provincial/territorial assistant deputy ministers group.

Related story:
Food safety oversight goes to Canada’s chief vet, May 26, 2010

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