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Archived - Minister of Health unveils plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance in Canada

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Canada to focus on surveillance, stewardship and innovation

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, today released the Government of Canada’s Antimicrobial Resistance and Use in Canada: A Federal Framework for Action. The overuse and misuse of antimicrobials can lead to public health challenges. If antimicrobials are not used properly, than infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites can become resistant to treatment and continue to infect us and our families. In order to protect our health, it is important to take the time to learn more about antimicrobial resistance.

The Framework highlights the actions necessary to address antimicrobial resistance and use in Canada in order to protect Canadians, our animals, and the safety of the food we eat. The framework outlines three strategic areas of focus: surveillance, stewardship, and innovation; and unveils four priority action items:

  • establish and strengthen surveillance systems;
  • strengthen the promotion of appropriate use of antimicrobials;
  • work with partners to strengthen the regulatory framework for veterinary medicines and medicated feeds; and
  • promote innovation in the research and development of new antimicrobial drugs and alternatives, new diagnostic tests and ways to counteract the development and spread of resistance.

The Public Health Agency of Canada led the development of the framework in collaboration with Health Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

To read a copy of the framework, visit

Quick Facts

  • Antimicrobial resistance develops when bacteria change so that the antibiotics used to treat the bacteria become less effective and sometimes do not work at all.
  • Antimicrobial resistance happens naturally, but a major contributor to the rising rate is the overuse and misuse of antibiotics.
  • Resistance is a defence mechanism of bacteria that allows them to live and multiply, even when an antibiotic is present. If you have an infection that is caused by resistant bacteria, antibiotics that cured a previous infection may not work, as the bacteria can now resist the treatment.
  • Additional contributors of antimicrobial resistance include using antibiotics when they are not needed, not taking antibiotics as prescribed, self-medicating or antibiotic sharing as well as the long term mass medication of food animals with antibiotics to promote growth or prevent illness.
  • The framework presents a coordinated federal response to antimicrobial resistance in Canada, while recognizing that many others share responsibility for addressing this global health threat.
  • The framework is aligned with the objectives of the 67th World Health Assembly resolution on antimicrobial resistance, and work being undertaken by other countries.
  • Surveillance includes detecting and monitoring trends and threats to inform strategies to reduce the risks and impacts of antimicrobial resistance.
  • Antimicrobial stewardship means conserving the effectiveness of existing treatments through infection prevention and control guidelines, education and awareness, regulations, and oversight.
  • Innovation involves creating new solutions to counteract loss in antimicrobial effectiveness through research and development. 


“Antimicrobial resistance is an emerging health challenge and we all need to work together to reduce the risk. Taking a coordinated collaborative approach with the Federal Framework for Action will help reduce the risks of antimicrobial resistance and protect the health and safety of all Canadians.”
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health


Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
(613) 957-2983

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