Welcome to Retention Matters


At present (January 2024) the CCIA has 8 different approved tags for cattle, 1 for bison, 1 for sheep, and 3 for cervids and 2 for goats. With the exception of where one manufacturer brand offers more than one variant of its approved tag (for example Allflex and Datamars offer both HDX and FDX versions of their button tags), each tag has its own dedicated applicator – there is no such thing as a “universal” applicator!

So, if you want to move from Allflex to Y-Tex, for example, you cannot use the Allflex applicator with the Y-Tex tags, and vice-versa.

The current (2023) range of Approved cattle tags and applicators as available through the CCIA webstore.

More CCIA resources on approved tags, applicators and readers can be found below.

More Information:


Approved CCIA animal indicators/tags are required to have demonstrated specific retention characteristics. In order to meet all requirements defined in the standards, procedures and testing document, all animal tags must pass a series of extensive trials to test visual, mechanical, physical, electrical, readability and environmental capabilities. CCIA is continuously testing tags for potential approval for use in the Canadian Cattle Identification Program.

Approved CCIA non-breed specific beef tags have the following attributes:

    • A unique, 15-digit CCIA identification number
    • CCIA trademark (3/4 Maple Leaf and “CA” letters)
    • Vary in colour
    • Meet all requirements in the National Testing Framework for approval of tags

The unique, 15-digit CCIA identification number follows the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 11784 code structure for identification.

It reads electronically as:

LA   00000   0   124   000299999999
Animal   Reserved   Count   Country   Unique 15-digit Identification Number

SPECIAL NOTE: New regulations and communication will see a shift in language from the use of “Approved Canadian Cattle Identification Agency Radio Frequency Identification Tags” to the use of “Approved Canadian Cattle Identification Agency Animal Indicators” or “Animal Indicators”. This change addresses animal identification devices that have alternative designs that may or may not include radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

SAMPLE USAGE: A livestock operator must apply an approved animal indicator to an animal prior to the animal leaving its farm of origin or the premises where it is located.

Better tag application practices mean better tag retention.

Always use the manufacturer recommended applicator with the Approved CCIA tag of your choice and follow placement guidelines and instructions.

There are two categories of RFID reader types:

    • Stationary readers are defined as not requiring direct human intervention in order to operate. They are intended to be installed and operated in fixed locations. Important requirements include increased read range and automated operation. Most, if not all, stationary readers will have separate transceivers and antennas.
    • Mobile readers are intended to be used in applications where stationary readers are impractical. In addition to read range, other important attributes include mobility, versatility, ruggedness and cost.
  1.  For more information please visit these CCIA resource pages:

Radio Frequency Identification Reader List

Reader Standards, Procedures and Testing criteria

Choosing the right mobile RFID reader for your operation

Tags & Applicator Quick Guide

Here is a quick guide to the approved list of manufacturers and their respective tags. Click on the brand logos to learn more:


Datamars Livestock




If you have any questions or would like more information on tags and applicators contact us on 1-877-909-2333 or email info@canadaid.ca