Tagging and identification

Since Feb. 1, dairy cattle entering Canada from the U.S. must be identified with the U.S. National Animal Identification System-compliant radio frequency eartag, which begins with the numbers 840 (USA country code). (Prior to Feb. 1, cattle have been allowed entry without this tag.)

What if a cow is entering Canada and is identified with an “840” electronic eartag?

  • Its tag is equivalent to an official Canadian tag. Canadian eartags do not need to be applied.

  • Do not cut its “840” tag. It is an approved tag.

  • You may need to take action in order to meet your herdbook registration and proAction requirements for double tagging. If the imported animal is only identified with the official U.S. “840” electronic button tag instead of with a dual tag set, a new tag cannot be reprinted in Canada. You will then need to affix a blank tag* with same number written on it (e.g., by using a marker).

*To obtain a blank tag, contact: (in Quebec) ATQ at (866) 270-4319 or (in all other provinces) NLID at (877) 771-6543.

A full fact sheet on the identification of cattle imported from the U.S. is available on the traceability resources section of the proAction website.

Recording and reporting

Information about animals imported from out-of-country needs to be reported to the national database. This is required when they arrive on-site at their first point of entry in Canada and at all points between there and the farm of destination.


Notification of receiving an animal on-farm is a proAction requirement and should be sent to CCIA (CLTS database) or ATQ (SimpliTrace database – in Quebec).

Regarding animals arriving on-farm from within Canada, the following information must be recorded and reported:

  • The animal’s identification number (15 digits found on RFID eartag)

  • The date of the animal’s arrival to your farm or site

  • The premises ID number of the location the animal is arriving at (i.e., your farm)

  • The location from which the animal departed (country, state, address, etc.)

  • The license plate number of the vehicle (single unit) or the trailer (tandem unit)

As imported animals will not come from a property with a recognized premises ID, the address of the animal’s original departure has to be recorded and reported.

This must be done within the first seven days of the animal’s arrival on your premises or before the animal leaves, whichever comes first.  end mark

Founded in 1934, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is the national organization which defends the interests of Canadian dairy farmers and strives to create favourable conditions for the Canadian dairy industry.

Working in accordance with supply management principles, DFC promotes safe, high quality, sustainable and nutritious Canadian dairy products made from 100% Canadian milk through various marketing, nutrition, policy and lobbying initiatives. Driven by a strong sense of community and pride, DFC and Canadian dairy farmers actively support a number of local and national activities. Visit dairyfarmers.ca for more information.