You are here

Health Canada proposes new measures to address antimicrobial resistance

Regarding the following press release from Health Canada:

The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association is encouraged by the news from Health Canada indicating that they intend to take action regarding personal or own - use importation of veterinary drugs as well as strengthen controls over the importation of veterinary active pharmaceutical products. These steps, along with the removal of growth promotion label claims and a requirement for veterinary oversight of medically important antimicrobials used in animal feed and water are essential to assuring public safety and confidence in the use of such medications in animal health.

The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association works closely with our national partner, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association in encouraging best practices in antimicrobial stewardship with an aim to promote animal health and welfare, food safety and public health by implementation of good stewardship practices. Our recent campaign "" is an ongoing activity used to encourage all stakeholders to engage in this important discussion.

For more information you can read the response from the CVMA.

News Release
For Immediate Release

April 17, 2015 - Ottawa, ON - Health Canada

Health Canada intends to propose new measures and strengthen regulations to encourage prudent use of antimicrobial drugs used in food-producing animals, particularly drugs that are considered medically important. This effort is important to minimize the global emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and conserve the effectiveness of available antimicrobials. These actions will protect public health and food safety, and align with other countries.

Health Canada has already made substantial progress in working with the pharmaceutical industry to phase out all growth promotion claims of medically-important antimicrobial drugs by December 2016. In addition, Health Canada plans to:

  • Propose amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations to address personal use importation of veterinary drugs, and strengthen the control over the importation of veterinary active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs); and
  • Continue to work with stakeholders to increase the appropriate veterinary oversight with respect to access to all medically-important antimicrobial drugs that are used in livestock drinking water and feeds. This measure will require further amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations and the Feeds Regulations.

These initiatives are part of the Government of Canada's recently released Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Use in Canada, which builds on the Federal Framework for Action announced in October 2014. The Department will continue to engage partners and stakeholders while the proposed amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations are being developed and further actions on AMR are being implemented.

Quick Facts

  • Antibiotic use in animals plays an important role in ensuring animal welfare and protecting animals and public health.
  • Before being authorized for sale in Canada, veterinary antibiotics are assessed by Health Canada for their potential antibiotic resistance risk.
  • Health Canada specifies the conditions of use of antibiotics on the product labels and includes warning statements specific to reducing AMR.
  • No new antibiotic growth promoters have been authorized by Health Canada in more than a decade.
  • The Government of Canada is leading prevention and control work on antimicrobial resistance in Canada, including ongoing collaboration with our national and international partners such as the World Health Organization (link: to advance research, policy and legislation work.


"Health Canada continues to work with stakeholders towards the common goal of minimizing the emergence of global antimicrobial resistance by putting in place better controls over antimicrobial use in food-producing animals. The measures we are announcing today reflect our commitment to the important issue of antimicrobial resistance and to keeping our food supply safe."
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"The proposed changes to the regulatory framework are consistent with the Canadian Cattlemen's Association's existing efforts to encourage prudent drug use, and complement the AMR initiatives that the Council has been working on in support of the Federal Framework for Action on antimicrobial resistance."
Rob McNabb
General Manager, Operations, Canadian Cattlemen's Association and 
Co-Chair, National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council

Associated Links

Antimicrobial Resistance and Use in Canada: A Federal Framework for Action
Antibiotic Resistance (web)
AMR Education and Awareness Materials


Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health

Health Canada
Media Relations

Public Inquiries


Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at: