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Canadian Sheep Identification Program (CSIP)

About the program

The Canadian Sheep Identification Program (CSIP) is a mandatory, industry-led initiative to develop a traceback system that will lead to a full-scale traceability system and the capacity to address producer concerns about sheep health, provide valuable management feedback to producers, and meet consumer expectations for quality assurance and food safety.

In June 2010, the Canadian Sheep Federation (CSF) approved a motion to move the sheep industry towards mandatory Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. In addition to supporting a national identification program, RFID technology provides new management tools that offer many benefits to sheep producers.

CSF, in collaboration with industry, continues to work to ensure that RFID technology systems and electronic tools work for the entire industry. For instance, tools and systems that are practical and easy to use, and that ensure traceability requirements can be met on-farm and throughout the value chain.

The CSIP became mandatory on January 1, 2004.

Program Requirements

Under the current CSIP, producer and stakeholder responsibilities include:

  • ​All sheep and lambs must bear an approved CSIP ear tag before they leave their farm of origin. This includes animals leaving the premises temporarily (e.g. exhibitions, veterinarian clinics, community pastures). It is illegal to transport animals not bearing an approved tag.

  • CSIP tags must be purchased from an approved distributor.

  • Sheep producers and feedlot operators are required to keep a record of:

    • All sheep or lambs entering your flock for breeding purposes​.​

    • All sheep 18 months or older leaving your farm, other than those sold directly to a federally or provincially inspected abattoir.

  • ​Imported sheep must have an approved CSIP tag. Please see CFIA website for complete information on import requirements.

  • All sheep purchased must bear an approved CSIP ear tag. Please see CFIA website for complete information.

  • Auction marts, livestock dealers and packing plants are required to accept only sheep and lambs bearing an approved CSIP ear tag.

  • Sheep deadstock: You must report the identification number of the approved and revoked tag(s) borne by the carcass to CLTS. Collect, keep in records and report the following information:

    • The site from which the dead stock was removed.

    • The date that the dead stock was removed from that site.

    • The name and address of the owner or person who had the possession, care or control of the dead stock when it was removed from that site.

CSIP Working Group

The CSIP Working Group advises the CSF Board of Directors on the development and implementation of the CSIP, RFID technology and traceability for the sheep industry. This includes evaluation, approval, testing of tags, taggers, software and any equipment related to use of RFID technology for producers, as well as any other items involving the CSIP. Members of the initial working group included:

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

  • Traceability Extension Staff.

  • Canadian Cooperative Wool Growers.

  • Ontario producer.

  • Ontario Sheep Farmers.

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

  • Alberta Lamb Producers.

  • Saskatchewan Sheep Development Board.

  • Canadian Sheep Federation.

Report CSIP information to the responsible administrator database CLTS or call 1-877-909-2333.


Traceability is no longer optional for the Canadian sheep industry. The industry must adapt to the changing requirements of an evolving global food production system to sustain current markets, remain viable and realize its immense potential. The CSF continues to work with industry partners and the federal and provincial governments to implement a full traceability program that works for Canadian producers. RFID is currently the best option available to support national traceability to move the Canadian sheep industry forward. The three pillars of full traceability is Animal IdentificationPremises Identification and Animal Movement.

On March 1, 2018, there was a regulatory update to the Livestock Identification and Traceability Program. This update provides an overview of the progress for the proposed amendments to Part XV of the federal Health of Animals Regulations.

Consultations with industry and provinces in 2013 and 2015 identified some gaps and opportunities to improve the livestock traceability system in Canada. Some of the changes under the proposed amendments are:

  • The domestic movements of animals for all regulated species will be required to be reported, with some exemptions.

  • The allowable time to report the movement or death of animals to the responsible administrator will be reduced to 7 days from 30 days.

  • Certain information will be required to accompany a load of animals and/or animal carcasses being transported; not applicable to species where similar provincial requirements already exist.

  • Persons who own or care for livestock will be required to provide the premises identification number for the location where approved indicators are applied. Should the animals be moved to a new location, the premises identification number for the destination location will also need to be provided; a premises already identified by a provincial or territorial government will not be required to be re-identified.

The proposed regulations are expected to be published in spring or fall 2018 in Part I of the Canada Gazette, following which, stakeholders will have 75 days to review and provide comment. After reviewing and considering all comments received, the finalized regulations will be published in Part II of the Canada Gazette and will come into force immediately.

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