Charolais were first imported to Canada in 1956 from the United States. Later, cattle were imported directly from France. In 1959 the Canadian Charolais Association (CCA) was formed and in 1960 it was formally recognized as a Breed Association under the Animal Pedigree Act of Canada.
The CCA is a non-profit organization that derives funding from member subscriptions and the Whole Herd Enrolment (WHE) fees. The Canadian Charolais Association operates a number of performance testing initiatives on behalf of its members. However the backbone of the performance program is Whole Herd Enrolment in which breeding and calving information is tracked on each cow every year. This tracking ensures the highest possible level of accuracy in Charolais pedigrees and allows breeders to monitor reproductive traits. Research has shown that fertility is the most economically important trait in beef production and total herd reporting sets Charolais apart as an industry leader. All performance data from the past is utilized in producing a high accuracy, scientifically proven Canadian Expected Progeny Difference (EPD). EPD’s indicate genetic differences in cattle and may be used for comparison across herds.
Due to the diverse landscape and the extremes in both temperature and precipitation in Canada, Canadian Charolais are highly adaptable to not only the Canadian environment and production systems but to climates and production systems throughout the world. Charolais cows have performed well under a variety of environmental conditions and are selected as very structurally sound animals with exceptionally good feet and strong legs. This is important when cattle are managed in large herds and on vast areas of land where walking distances for feed and water is necessary.
It has been said that no other breed has impacted the North American beef industry so significantly as the introduction of Charolais. Canadian Charolais are highly compatible with the indigenous cow base and the cross is second to none. In Canada the Charolais crossbred calf receives a premium price at the auction market.