The Systematised NOmenclature MEDicine Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT) is the world's most comprehensive clinical reference terminology. it can be used to represent clinically relevant information (terms) consistently as an integral part of producing electronic health information. It improves communication, increases the availability of relevant information, allows for meaning-based retrieval, and real time decision support to more accurate retrospective reporting for research and management. SNOMED CT grows, changes and adapts to meet the needs of the clinician.

Publication of SNOMED CT

SNOMED CT is developed and maintained by the SNOMED International and distributed in Canada via Canada Health Infoway (Infoway).  SNOMED CT International is published on January 31 and July 31 each year. The International release and supporting documentation can be found on InfoCentral.

The Canadian Edition of SNOMED CT accommodates the addition of standardized terminology that is required for use in Canada.  Infoway owns and maintains the Canadian Edition of SNOMED CT that contains both English and French components as well as Canadian specific reference sets.  The Canadian Edition is dependent on the SNOMED CT International version and is updated accordingly to reflect any impacts from the International release.

The Canadian Edition is released in March and September each year. The Canadian release and supporting documentation can be found on InfoCentral.

Requesting a change to SNOMED CT

Requests to add or change content to SNOMED CT International, the Canadian Edition (English or French) must be submitted to Infoway via the Infoway Request Management System (InfoRMS).

Submitters are required to:

  • Consult and comply to the International and Canadian most recent publication of the editorial guidelines before submitting requests;
  • Ensure requests are understandable, reusable and useful for Canadian or international use;
  • Validate that the content does not already exist in either SNOMED CT International or the Canadian Edition;
  • Provide references and other supporting documentation such as clinical papers, clinical reports, use cases, product inserts, etc.;
    • All reference material must be publicly available, recent and authoritative, a wiki reference is not deemed suitable;
  • Provide a clear justification for the request;
  • Provide the use case: how and where content will be used;
  • Provide a text definition for new concepts;
  • Provide reason for change and date of implementation (this will allow prioritization and international core inclusion consideration);
  • Provide French translations and supporting reference documentation as required;
  • Submit all requests via InfoRMS, taking care to ensure that all of the mandatory fields have been completed;
  • Respond to questions related to content submissions in InfoRMS within 60 calendar days (as per the Infoway Policy on Closing Requests for Change Policy) or Infoway/SNOMED International will close the requests.

Note that requests for local terms will not be added to either the International or Canadian Edition of SNOMED CT.  These terms must be authored and maintained locally.  If a local namespace is required, it can be requested directly from the SNOMED International.

Infoway will:

  • Provide the submitter with the concept identifier and the descriptions when the concept is authored in the Canadian Edition;
  • Send SNOMED International the requests that are candidates for international inclusion;
  • Inform the submitter of the status of the SNOMED International requests.

French Translation

French descriptions can be added to concepts existing in the Canadian Edition of SNOMED CT or to international concepts. Proper supporting reference documentation must be provided to Infoway for French and English requests. 

SNOMED CT Release Format and Availability

The International and Canadian Editions of SNOMED CT are published in the SNOMED International format known as RF2.

Implementers can browse SNOMED CT International and the Canadian Edition (English, French and specific Canadian reference sets) in the SNOMED International Browser.

Release Schedule

Q1 Canadian Edition March Q2 International July 31 Q3 Canadian Edition September Q4 International Jan 31

  • SNOMED CT International is published on January 31 and July 31 of each calendar year.
  • The Canadian Edition is released March and September of each calendar year.  This is done to allow Infoway time to align any changes in the core release with content in the Canadian Edition. 


Canadian Edition:

The Canadian Edition is harmonized with the previous International release of SNOMED CT and provided in a single package. It contains the CA French extension, the CA English extension and Canadian SNOMED CT subsets (refsets). It also includes the Common French extension.

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