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The CSIP is governed by the federal Health of Animals Act and the Health of Animals Regulations.

The Health of Animals Regulations have been amended to allow for the national identification of sheep. The amendment was published in Part II of the Canada Gazette on December 31, 2003 and came into force on January 1, 2004.

The approved regulatory amendment is available at:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Enforcement Information

How Will The Program Be Enforced?
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the enforcement of the Canadian Sheep Identification Program, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Health of Animals Act and Regulations. The compliance and enforcement strategy will comprise a combination of education, information and enforcement actions. The objective of the strategy is full compliance. Where non-compliance exists, the CFIA has the authority to issue administrative monetary penalties. The monetary penalty for the majority of ID violations is $500 per violation, or $250 if paid within 15 days.

Prosecution is also an enforcement option. The CFIA reserves the right – for example, in cases involving significant risk to the health and safety of sheep or the public, or in cases of flagrant non-compliance – to proceed with a prosecution under the Health of Animals Act.

Enforcement Strategy
CFIA inspectors routinely inspect production and marketing sites for disease control, humane transport and trade certification purposes. These inspections provide a parallel opportunity for monitoring ID compliance.

Enforcement and Producers
Producers are required to apply an approved national ID ear tag to all lambs born on their premises before they leave the farm, and to ensure that all ovine animals bear an approved tag before they leave the premises. Producers are also required to keep a record of all sheep or lambs entering their flock for breeding purposes, and of all sheep 18 months or older leaving their farm unless being transported directly to a federally or provincially registered abattoir for immediate slaughter.

Enforcement and Truckers
There are no exemptions for the transportation of unidentified ovine animals. It is illegal to transport an unidentified ovine animal.

Enforcement and Auctions
There is no exemption for the reception of an unidentified ovine animal unless the animal lost its approved tag during transit. Auction operators must maintain records and make them available, if requested, to a CFIA inspector. Inspectors will visit auction markets to meet with producers and truckers, and to assess the program’s degree of compliance.

Enforcement and Abattoirs
Abattoir operators can not receive unidentified ovine animals unless the approved ID tag was lost during transit. Operators must also maintain the identification of the carcass until the completion of the meat inspection process. The CFIA provides continual meat inspection services at all federally registered abattoirs, and on a contractual basis at federal-domestic abattoirs in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The regular presence of CFIA inspectors will permit enforcement of the ID program at those sites. The same requirements will apply at provincially inspected abattoirs. The CFIA may periodically visit provincially inspected and uninspected abattoirs to monitor compliance.

The Role Of The Marketplace
Experience tells us that public attitude has a significant influence on compliance with program requirements. The CFIA and the Canadian Sheep Federation expect that an industry attitude will develop during the maturation of the program, which encourages producers to tag all ovine animals leaving their herds of origin. The CFIA also expects that transporters, order buyers and feedlot operators will help to ensure that the animals they handle are properly identified. Strong support from abattoir management, accompanied by enforcement of the regulatory requirements by CFIA inspectors, will send a strong message of program compliance back through market channels to the producer level.

Enforcement Is Everyone’s Responsibility
The Canadian Sheep Identification Program represents a considerable advance that will markedly improve the CFIA’s capacity in continuing its mandate of food safety, consumer protection and animal health.

The program’s integrity, however, depends directly on industry’s compliance with its regulatory requirements. This will be best served by early demonstration of that compliance.

For Further Information
Contact the nearest office of the CFIA, listed under Government of Canada in the blue pages of your telephone directory.

You can also visit our Web site at www.inspection.gc.ca.

Record – Keeping Requirements
The legislation requires producers to record the movement of breeding animals. Records must be kept for all breeding stock entering the farm and; all sheep and lambs 18 months or older leaving the farm to a destination other than a provincially or federally inspected abattoir. These records will be used by CFIA to trace the origin of any disease or animal health concern that occurs.

A Record of Movement Form has been designed to help producers meet these requirements. Download the Form here PDF


January, 2004

Dear Sheep Producers,

As you are aware, a mandatory system for the identification of the Canadian national sheep flock began on January 1, 2004. The Canadian Sheep Identification Program (CSIP) was developed by the sheep industry to address consumer issues around food safety and quality assurance and to provide a traceback system for disease control in the livestock sector.

From the outset, industry leaders in charge of developing the program, set as a goal, a system that is simple, effective and affordable for lamb producers. Part of that process was selecting a tag that is affordable for producers and allows adequate opportunity to trace animals back to the farm of origin if necessary. To reduce the cost of administration fees, the plan was developed to require producers to keep on-farm records of the sale and receipt of all breeding and cull animals. This requirement replaces the need to read and retire identification numbers of slaughtered sheep and lambs from the database.

During the period of time allowed for public comment on the regulations which came into effect on January 1, 2004, there were comments made by parties unknown that the CSIP may be rendered less effective if sheep producers do not keep accurate on-farm records as required by the legislation. There is the suggestion that the CSIP should be altered to require the retirement of tag numbers for sheep and lambs that have been slaughtered. This change would significantly increase the administrative fees charged to the producer.

It is therefore extremely important that producers follow the guidelines of the program and maintain on-farm records. Forms have been designed to help record the entry of all breeding stock onto the farm and the exit of all cull sheep over 18 months of age that leave the farm. By doing so, producers will insure that they will not face an expensive monetary penalty from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for failure to comply with the regulations. Also, this will insure that they and their fellow lamb producers do not have to pay heavy increases in administrative fees to read and retire identification numbers from the database.

It is anticipated that as the program evolves, there will be electronic tagging options that are affordable and that will allow for a completely traceable system without the need to maintain paper on-farm records. But, for the moment, please do your part and maintain accurate on-farm records.


The Canadian Sheep Federation Board of Directors



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