Jean Szkotnicki

With her unique brand of quiet determination, Jean Szkotnicki has provided tireless leadership to the Canadian agricultural industry. She’s a passionate advocate, a respected leader and an inspiring role model.

Jean began making her impact at an early age when she was awarded early admittance from high school to study agriculture at the University of Guelph majoring in animal science and then doing graduate work with a focus on meat science. It was a sign of things to come, and the start of her decades-long work on what’s best for animals and people.

For more than 25 years, Jean has led the Canadian Animal Health Institute by skillfully balancing the responsibility of advocating for veterinary pharmaceutical companies with the needs of veterinarians, livestock producers and our public. She was an early supporter of a more globally harmonized approach to technical requirements of regulatory programs for animal health products – one that would encourage investment, innovation and competitiveness.

One of Jean’s major achievements for Canadian agriculture was closing abused legislative loopholes that permitted importation and use of veterinary pharmaceuticals through Own Use Import and use of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients policies that allowed large quantities of non-Health Canada licensed medications to be imported and used in Canada. Her persistence over more than two decades ultimately brought together all stakeholders – farmers, industry, veterinarians and regulators. New regulation was introduced in 2017 to close the loopholes in support of responsible use of drugs in animal medicine benefitting food safety, animal welfare, and trade of food animal products.

Jean is an international champion for antimicrobial resistance – an issue of major concern to agriculture as it impacts the use of antibiotics in farm and companion animals. She’s been instrumental in ensuring antimicrobials are used properly as part of a One Health approach to human and animal antibiotic use in Canada.

Her passion for public trust in the Canadian agriculture industry plays out in her work on numerous industry boards including the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity and the Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph. She is a longstanding contributor to Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Canadian Animal Health Product Regulatory Advisory Committee, International Federation of Animal Health and International Cooperation on Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Registration of Veterinary Medicinal Products.

An articulate problem solver, Jean has earned the trust and respect of government regulators in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. She always acts with the best interests of Canadian agriculture and Canadians. Jean is an outstanding leader, working tirelessly and persistently for the sustainability of Canadian farm families, and to ensure Canadian farmers continue to provide safe and high quality food for the world.

Nominated By:
  • Byron Beeler
  • Canadian Animal Health Institute