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Description of regulatory requirements

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The Health of Animals Regulations outlines the requirements for the identification of cattle, bison, sheep and pigs and how to report their movement. The following list is a summary of these requirements. For further precision, please refer to the Health of Animal Regulations and the resources listed below. Information provided on this page addresses federal traceability requirements only. For questions on specific provincial traceability requirements, please contact your provincial government.

General requirements


Compliance is achieved through a co-operative approach between the regulated party and the CFIA. To promote compliance, the CFIA, in co-operation with the responsible administrators, uses a number of different tools (consultation, publication of information, awareness campaigns, etc) to inform the regulated parties of the legislative and regulatory requirements they must meet.

In the event of a violation against a regulatory requirement, four enforcement actions may be taken under the program: seizure and detention (in the event of falsified tags), letter of non-compliance, notice of violation (with or without an administrative monetary penalty) and prosecution. The level of administrative monetary penalties is set under the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations.

Additional resources

For more information about livestock identification and traceability requirements:

Health of Animals Act

Part XV of the Health of Animals Regulations

Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations

List of responsible administrators

Provincial livestock identification and traceability regulatory requirements:

Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec - (French only)

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Questions and answers

Can you send or transport animals to an abattoir, and provide the approved tags to the operator of the abattoir in a bag for he/she to report the 'retirement' event?

No. Approved tags must be applied to the animals' ears before being transported. Abattoirs are not tagging sites.

Do cattle, bison or sheep slaughtered on-farm need to be identified with an approved tag?

No. They do not need to be identified with an approved tag if they have never left their farm of origin.

How does the export of an animal need to be reported to the administrator?

The exporter shall report an 'Exported' event to the administrator, not a 'Retired' event even though the animals are exported for immediate slaughter. The event 'Retired' is only used to report the death of an animal or the receipt of a carcass.

For how long do I have to keep my records?

Records specific to sheep movements have to be kept for 5 years. All other records are required to be kept for 2 years.

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