Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Canadian Cattle Identification Program?

The Canadian Cattle identification Program is an industry initiated and established trace back system designed for the containment and eradication of animal disease.

Who implemented this program?

Industry leaders recognized the importance of safeguarding our national herd and assuring consumer confidence at home and in our export markets, which lead to provincial cattle organizations lobbying for the establishment of a national identification program. The CCIA was formed at the direction of elected cattle industry representatives and given the mandate to develop an individual animal trace back system for animal health and product safety. The Agency is led by a Board of Directors made up of representatives from all sectors of the industry – cow/calf, feedlot, auction market, packing plant, veterinary and dairy. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are represented through ex-officio status.

Why the transition to RFID technology?

As of July 1, 2010 all cattle must be tagged with an approved Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag prior to moving from their current location or leaving their farm of origin. 

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology:

Allows for optimal tag retention.
Provides accurate and efficient trace back information.
Allows for the electronic reading of numbers without previously required line of sight.
Ensures Canada has an accurate and comprehensive age verification system.
Provides the necessary basis for full animal movement tracking.

What are my RFID tag options?

Producers have a selection of tag options from several approved manufacturers from which to choose. Marketplace competition and the volume of tags produced for the program will assist in keeping tag prices within the price range of each other. As of September 1, 2006 all cattle leaving their herd of origin are to be tagged with a CCIA approved RFID tag.

What are the tagging requirements for Community Pastures?

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has announced a regulatory amendment that requires all cattle to be tagged prior to leaving their farm of origin, including those going to community pasture, exhibition site, test station or veterinary clinic (unless going to an approved tagging site).

A recent bulletin from the CFIA announced that, “Producers will now be required to ensure all animals are tagged before they are moved to community pastures, fairs, or veterinary clinics. The national cattle identification program is a critical component of the suite of measures that Canada has in place to protect human and animal health.  This program assists the CFIA in monitoring the national herd and investigating diseases, such as the trace-out investigations of the North American cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) diagnosed since 2003.” The CFIA has indicated that cattle going to pasture in compliance will return to the farm of origin in compliance.

What is Age Verification?

Age Verification is the association of animal birth date data with an Animal Identification Number (Single Tag or Tag Group). With the ever increasing demand for accurate age determination in Canadian cattle, Canadian Cattle Identification Agency implemented technological advancements to the national database that provides an effective and international recognized Age Verification Process. This free of charge program enables producers to store information and have it readily available should it be required by domestic or export markets. Producers who do not have internet access can assign a third-party user to submit information on their behalf.

For more information, please contact Canadian Cattle Identification Agency toll-free at 1-877-909-2333 or email at

How do I Submit Birth Dates?

Prior to being able to submit data for the first time, a Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS) database user must validate his/her account in the CLTS database. This step ensures the highest data integrity is met at all times.

Where is the CCIA program at today?

With over 97% compliance, the Canadian Cattle Identification Program has continued to be a world leader in animal identification and Age Verification.

Who pays for the program?

Initial funds for the CCIA were received through a grant from the Beef Industry Development Fund. Additional funds to be used for trials and development have been approved through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and a number of provincial governments and private industry organizations.

How confidential are the records?

The information maintained at the CCIA office  includes date, record of individual unique number and link to the herd of origin and packing plant. The information is secure and the CCIA will only provide information from those records to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in the event of a request for trace back for health or safety reasons.


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Canadian Cattle Identification Agency 2009