Livestock Medicines and Livestock Medicines Outlets

In Ontario, livestock owners may purchase a certain class of drugs, known as livestock medicines, from retail outlets for use in their animals under the Livestock Medicines Act (LMA). These medicines do not require a veterinary prescription. The LMA is administered by the Animal Health and Welfare Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.

The LMA regulates the sale of medicines to livestock owners at licensed livestock medicines outlets. The Act ensures that outlets only sell specific types of livestock medicines, and that they are sold in a responsible manner by knowledgeable individuals. Vendors must obtain a license in order to sell livestock medicines, and are subject to an annual audit by an inspector appointed under the LMA. Livestock medicines permitted for sale in Ontario are listed by active ingredient in Regulation 730 under the LMA.

Existing Class 1 licences for all Livestock Medicines Outlets have been extended for one additional year at no cost, to July 31, 2021. This measure is intended to protect animal health and ensure uninterrupted licensing while Ontario is dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak.

General Information

Legislation Links

Information for Livestock Medicines Vendors

Information for Livestock Owners


Questions & Answers

What is the difference between medicines only available from a veterinarian and medicines available at a livestock medicines outlet?

Medicines only available from a veterinarian are prescribed and are not permitted for sale at livestock medicines outlets. A diagnosis is made after examining the animal(s), and the dosage, length of treatment and route of administration of the medicine are prescribed for the animal(s) by the veterinarian.

Who sells livestock medicines?

Retailers of farm supplies, animal feeds and tack frequently sell various forms of livestock medicines. These locations are referred to as livestock medicines outlets. The type of products sold and the inventory available varies greatly from location to location.

What medicines are outlets permitted to sell?

Permitted medicines are listed in the Schedule of Regulation 730 under the Livestock Medicines Act. Page 36 of the Livestock Medicines Compliance Manual outlines the approved medicines in the following categories: topicals, vitamins/minerals, antimicrobials, antiparasitics, steroids, biologicals, and miscellaneous medicines. These medicines do not require a veterinary prescription because Health Canada has designated them as safe to be sold to producers for use on their own animals. Livestock producers must follow the label directions, and any variation from the directions is considered extra-label use and should only be done under veterinary supervision.

What are the requirements for storage of these medicines?

Livestock medicines outlets licensed under the LMA must sell all medicines in the containers in which they were received, and they must be stored at the temperature prescribed by the manufacturer. All livestock medicines, regardless of whether or not they require refrigeration, must be stored and sold in an area designated for that purpose. For example, the LMA requires that no human food or medicines be stored in the same area as livestock medicines so that contamination is avoided.

Who enforces the Livestock Medicines Act and who inspects livestock medicines outlets?

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is responsible for administering the LMA. Ministry Animal Care Specialists appointed under the Act are responsible for performing unannounced inspections of livestock medicines outlets to ensure vendors are operating in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

What does the inspector look for at these facilities?

During an inspection, an inspector performs an audit of the premises where livestock medicines are sold. A report of the inspection is reviewed with the operator and a copy is left at the premises. See page 37 of the Standards of Compliance Manual for a copy of this report.

Inspectors also review sales practices, medicine storage and advertising, and records. Medicines must be properly stored in sanitary conditions. Sales inducements for livestock medicines are not permitted, and non-designated or expired products are not permitted to be sold.

The inspection scoring system allows the outlet 200 points for each inspection and points are deducted if the facility is not operating in accordance with the Act. Different point values are deducted depending on the nature of the violation. For example, if the outlet operator has any type of antibiotic for sale that is expired, 30 points will be deducted from the initial 200 points.

Once a retailer is licensed to sell livestock medicines, how often is the facility inspected and how often is the licence renewed?

A Class 1 license issued under the LMA expires within one year of its issuance (up to and including July 31). Class 1 licenses may be obtained by a livestock medicines outlet operator for the sale of medicines listed in the Schedule of Regulation 730 at a permanent and established place of business. Outlets are typically inspected annually or more frequently if follow-up inspections are required due to non-compliance.

Class 2 licenses may be obtained by holders of Class 1 licenses for the sale of livestock medicines at a temporary location such as an agricultural exhibition, a horse show, or at premises used for horse racing. The licensee is only permitted to sell livestock medicines this facility for the duration indicated on the license.

Can a livestock owner purchase livestock medicines from a vendor during farm deliveries?

Under the LMA, livestock medicines vendors are not permitted to deliver livestock medicines without possessing an invoice by which the livestock owner clearly authorized the delivery in advance. Vendors are not permitted to sell medicines at the time of delivery. Everything must be arranged prior to the delivery. Dairy sanitizers, teat dips and udder washes are the only products that are exempt from this requirement.

Can inspectors seize livestock medicines from livestock medicines outlets?

Yes, inspectors appointed under the LMA are permitted to seize medicines if they have reason to believe the operator is not licensed or that a licensed operator is in some way contravening the Act or its regulations. Inspectors also have the power to sample any substance for analysis and to request records and documents from the outlet operator.

How should livestock medicines outlet operators dispose of expired medicines?

Approved methods of disposal of livestock medicines include returning the product(s) to the manufacturer or distributor, removal by a waste disposal company, and asking about preferred methods of livestock medicines disposal in your municipality. Expired livestock medicines should never be disposed of with regular household waste, given away, or flushed down the drain (see the Standards of Compliance Manual for more information).

Why are inducements to sell livestock medicines not permitted?

Inducements to sell livestock medicines include offering them for sale in a manner that encourages the purchase of another product or selling non-livestock medicine products in a manner that encourages the purchase of a livestock medicine. Examples include selling horse dewormers as "buy one get one free," or offering free livestock medicines with the purchase of feed. Inducements such as these are not permitted by the LMA because it may encourage over-buying of livestock medicines (see the Livestock Medicines Act Factsheet (Order No. 93-029) for more information on inducements).

Are retailers permitted to re-package and/or re-label livestock medicines and sell them?

The LMA does not allow livestock medicine outlet operators sell products that have been re-packaged or re-labelled. All livestock medicines must be sold in the container provided by the manufacturer along with the original labelling.

What are the different categories of livestock medicines and are there different storage and sale requirements for each category?

Inspections and point deductions are based on three main categories of livestock medicines permitted for sale at licensed livestock medicines outlets.

  • Group 1 includes biologicals (vaccines), steroids, and antimicrobials;
  • Group 2 includes vitamins/minerals and antiparasitics; and
  • Group 3 includes topical medications and miscellaneous livestock medicines.

Different livestock medicines must be stored in different ways according to the instructions on the manufacturer's label. For instance, vaccines and some antibiotics must be refrigerated.

If an inspector finds expired livestock medicines for sale from group 1, 30 points will be deducted for each different product found in violation. Group 2 medicines result in a 20 point deduction, while group 3 medicines result in a 10 point deduction. If medicines are being sold which are not permitted for sale under the LMA, there is an automatic 100 point deduction.

What is the role of the Livestock Medicines Advisory Committee?

The Livestock Medicines Advisory Committee is comprised of members who represent all aspects of the livestock industry and are appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs under the LMA. Members provide recommendations to the Minister on matters pertaining to the administration of the Act.

Under s. 2 (5) of the Act, the committee is responsible for:

  • reviewing the LMA legislation and regulations;
  • inquiring and reporting to the Minister regarding any subject related to the committee;
  • advising the Minister on the control and regulation of livestock medicines;
  • evaluating and recommending procedures and standards for the sale, maintenance, storage and handling of livestock medicines; and
  • making recommendations regarding the designation of classes of livestock medicines and the designation of medicines for sale under any class of license.

As an example, the committee may recommend the addition or deletion of medicines listed in the schedule of the LMA that are permitted to be sold at livestock medicines outlets.

Contact Information

Animal Care Specialist (Eastern and North-Eastern)
Kemptville Resource Centre
59 Ministry Dr.
PO Box 2004
Kemptville ON K0G 1J0
Phone: 613-258-8298
Fax: 519-826-4375

Agricultural Information Centre
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Local: (519) 826-4047

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300