CVMA | News & Events | Change is Coming: Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobial Use in Animals in Canada

News & Events

Change is Coming: Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobial Use in Animals in Canada

November 1, 2015

Antimicrobial resistance is an international issue of concern; one that can no longer be ignored.


In 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the release of a new report called “Antimicrobial Resistance Global Report on Surveillance.” The report provides a comprehensive overview of antibiotic resistance to date, with data from 114 countries including Canada. According to WHO, antimicrobial resistance is now a major threat to public health in every region of the world. 

The World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) has been a strong advocate for antimicrobial stewardship internationally for a number of years. Together with WHO and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), they are speaking with one voice and taking collective action to minimize the emergence and spread of AMR. View the FAO/OIE/WHO fact sheet on the fight against antimicrobial resistance here.

In Canada:

In April 2015, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced that Health Canada’s Veterinary Drugs Directorate will introduce new federal regulations that will require veterinary oversight of the use of antimicrobials administered to food animals including those administered in feed or water by the end of 2016. These initiatives are part of the Government of Canada's released Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Use in Canada, which builds on the Federal Framework for Action announced in October 2014. 

Provincial Level:

The Canadian Council of Veterinary Registrars (CCVR), a forum of provincial veterinary regulatory bodies gathered to formally collaborate on issues, recognizes the pivotal role of the provincial and territorial veterinary regulatory organizations in the implementation of increased veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use.

The Veterinary Pharmaceutical Stewardship Advisory Group (VPSAG) established by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is currently working with the CCVR to develop a pan-Canadian framework of professional standards for veterinarians regarding veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use.

A draft version of the framework is currently under review by the CVMA-VPSAG and the CCVR and a revised draft will be provided to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Veterinary Drugs Directorate for their review and consideration.

The draft will be presented at the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council meeting in November 2015 and broad stakeholder consultations and discussions are planned to take place at the CVMA Summit on July 7, 2016, during the CVMA Convention in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

How the Framework will Help You as a Veterinarian

The projected outcome of this framework is a clear understanding of the professional standards for veterinarians that will be required to implement the upcoming changes to federal regulations.

Stakeholders include:

Antimicrobial stewardship remains a priority issue for CVMA. The following highlights what CVMA has done to date to advocate for change and encourage the prudent use of antimicrobials in animals: