Antimicrobial Stewardship

CAHI and its members are in full support of a number of upcoming Canadian regulatory and policy changes being put in place by Health Canada to increase veterinary oversight over the use of Medically Important Antimicrobials (MIA), including their move to prescription drug status by December 1, 2018.

Recent regulatory amendments made by Health Canada included:

  • Ending Own Use Importation of MIA by animal owners effective November 13, 2017;
  • Increased oversight and new rules for the handling of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients for veterinary use starting May 17, 2018;
  • Mandatory reporting of sales information related to MIA; and
  • New requirements and the expansion of the veterinary health products program to increase access to alternative animal health products for production animals.

Many of the chemical classes of antimicrobial drugs, or antibiotics, used in animals are also used in humans.  Medically important antimicrobials are essential for the treatment of serious and life-threatening human infections. If these drugs become ineffective due to the development of bacterial resistance, alternative antimicrobials may not be available.  Drugs with limited or no alternatives for the treatment of human infections are considered more important than others.

Category Preferred choice for serious human infections No or limited alternatives available
I – Very High Importance Yes Yes
II – High Importance Yes No
III – Medium Importance No No/Yes
IV – Low Importance Not applicable Not applicable

Source: Veterinary Drugs Directorate, Health Canada

Additional policy changes made by Health Canada include moving all MIA to veterinary prescription only use. This means as of December 1, 2018 a veterinary prescription will be needed to use Category I, II and III antimicrobials. These drugs will no longer be available for purchase at livestock medicines outlets, co-operatives, or other places where over-the-counter animal medications are sold. In addition, from November 13, 2017 on these antimicrobials can no longer be imported for own use. Medically important antimicrobials will only be available, with a veterinary prescription, from a veterinarian, pharmacist or as a mixed medicated feed from a feed mill.

More information about these regulatory and policy changes can be found on the Health Canada website.  Questions about the regulatory and policy changes should be sent to

Along with Health Canada, CAHI is collaborating with the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada (ANAC) to help raise awareness of the upcoming changes. 

  • Veterinarians should also refer to the CVMA website for additional materials
  • More information about how CAHI and ANAC members are managing the inventory of medically important antimicrobials during the transition to December 1, 2018 can be found here.

Press Releases

Producer Pamphlet

CAHI Has Actively Supported Antimicrobial Stewardship for a Long Time

3 important reasons to prevent, control and treat disease in animals: minimize animal suffering, reduce healthcare costs, affordable food supply.

Responsible antimicrobial use in animals is important to animal medicine and in a One Health context, something CAHI members recognise.  With this in mind, here are some to CAHI’s activities in this area:

  • Lobbying Health Canada to end Own Use Importation and increase oversight of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient use;
  • Committing voluntarily to remove growth promotion claims from product labels by December 1, 2018;
  • Encouraging Health Canada to take steps to align with veterinary antimicrobial use policies in other jurisdictions; and
  • Creating the responsible use logo for voluntary use on veterinary product labels.

Responsible Use Logo

Contains Antimicrobial. Use Responsibly.

A picture tells a thousand words.  CAHI is pleased to be able to share the “Contains Antimicrobial, Use Responsibly” logo for voluntary label use on Category I, II, and III medically important antimicrobials used in animals.

We recognize the importance of taking action to mitigate antimicrobial resistance and set out to design this logo to achieve the following:

  • Facilitate easy recognition of medically important antimicrobial products by veterinarians and animal care providers through product labels, inserts and brand promotions.
  • Prepare a simple, easily understood message about the importance of responsible use of these medications by veterinarians and animal care providers.

The logo helps CAHI and its members to communicate the following key responsible use messages:

  • Medically Important Antimicrobials need to be used responsibly in animals to best manage resistance in humans and animals.
  • When resistance occurs it diminishes our ability to treat disease effectively, in both animals and humans.
  • We care about animal welfare and the use of antimicrobials empowers veterinarians and farmers who want to keep animals healthy and well cared for.
  • We all have a role in minimizing resistance and safeguarding the effectiveness of antimicrobials.
  • Everyone must to do their part to prescribe, dispense and use antimicrobials responsibly.