The Canadian Sheep Identification Program

The federal government is creating legislation for Canada’s livestock industry to mandate traceability for the purposes of disease control. The Canadian Sheep Identification Program is an industry-led initiative to develop a trace back system that will address producer concerns about sheep health and meet consumer expectations for quality assurance and food safety.

Current CSIP program:

The Canadian Sheep Identification Program began January 1st, 2004.  The program is mandatory. All sheep and lambs must bear an approved CSIP ear tag before they leave any premises - see below for approved tags.  

This includes animals leaving the premises temporarily (for example: exhibitions, veterinarian clinics, community pastures).  It is illegal to transport untagged animals.

Sheep producers are required to:

  • Ensure that an approved CSIP ear tag is applied to all sheep and lambs before they leave your farm.
  • 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 a Canadian approved national identification tag applied within 7 days of arrival.
  • All animals purchased must bear an approved CSIP ear tag. If a tag is subsequently lost, you must immediately apply a new approved CSIP ear tag and record the identification number with as much information about the origin of the animal as is known.
  • Approved CSIP ear tags must not be removed from any live animal or tampered with for any reason and must not be re-used. If an animal dies on your property, the tag should be removed, saved and recorded with the cause of death if known.
  • The CSIP tagging system is monitored by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and anyone who does not comply may face legal consequences.  Since January 1, 2004, it is illegal for processing plants, truckers, auction markets to accept sheep or lambs not bearing CSIP tags.

CSIP Approved Tags

Producers may choose from the options below.

YELLOW Shearwell Radio Frequency Identification tag


YELLOW Shearwell RFID Paired (Double) tag* –
one RFID tag, one non-RFID tag with the same CSIP number

tag shearwell paired

YELLOW Allflex Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) button


YELLOW Allflex Paired (Combo) RFID and dangle*
one RFID button, one dangle tag with the same CSIP number

tag allflex paired 2tag allflex paired 1

PINK Ketchum Kurl Lock #3
No longer available for purchase.
Stocks may be used up until CFIA advise revocation.


PINK Plastic Allflex dangle tag
No longer available for purchase.
Stocks may be used up until CFIA advise revocation.



All CSIP RFID tags are YELLOW!

*Canadian Sheep Breeders Association members may use a double tagging system with two tags approved and bearing the official identification number under the Canadian Sheep Identification Program as an alternative for tattooing registered sheep         

*The province of Quebec requires each sheep or lamb to bear a paired CSIP tag, please contact the Fédération des Producteurs d'Agneaux et Moutons du Québec

For full details of the Canadian Sheep Identification Program, please visit the Canadian Sheep Federation website. Download the 'Tag Assessment Form', if you would like to submit comments regarding tag performance to the Canadian Sheep Federation (PO Box 10, Williamsburg, ON, K0C 2H0; 888-674-7739; Fax 613-652-1599; Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

The Canadian Sheep Federation has a series of eight short videos on tagging your animals.  To view the videos, visit the CSF website or click the links below to go to the CSF YouTube channel:

The Canadian Sheep Breeders Association has 'how-to' videos for tagging with Sherwell and Allflex tags.  To view the videos go to the CSBA website.

To order CSIP tags for Alberta

Please contact: the Canadian Cooperative Wool Growers at 1-800-567-3693.

In Alberta, Alberta Lamb Producers service charge is collected with purchase of CSIP tags.