How To Import Flowers And Plants Into Canada

Your how to guide on horticulture imports into Canada

When importing cut, fresh, dried, tropical flowers or flower seeds, plants, and trees into Canada, you must know what government parties are involved, what regulations must be followed, and the fundamental aspects of flower and plant imports.

Parties Involved:

  • Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
  • National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of the exporting country
  • Customs Broker
  • Carrier

Main Regulations:

Import Fundamentals:

  • You will be acting as the Importer of Record. Therefore, you are the party ultimately responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the import declaration; as well as, the payment of applicable duties and taxes into Canada
  • Duty and tax must be paid upon importation into Canada.
  • The rate of duty is determined by the tariff of the commodity being imported, the value of the goods and, the origin of the goods.
  • Certain import documentation is required to be presented to the border services officer at the port of entry.
  • Your import may be subject to a customs review, inspection or audit prior to, or after the importation. Additional fees may be levied by the Government of Canada for these services.
  • You are required to keep your import records for six years following the date of import and can be audited by Customs at any point during this time.

FAQ: Flower and Horticulture Imports

What Are CFIA Plant Directives?
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CFIA plant directives outline the import requirements for a variety of plant commodities including flowers.
How Can I Check If My Commodity Is Admissible In Canada?
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You can check if your commodity is admissible in Canada via the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) on the CFIA website. It is a tool used to determine the specific import requirements of a variety of commodities including flowers and plants. Using AIRS will inform you if the flower or plant is approved for import, the conditions of import, and any additional instructions, such as the requirement for a phytosanitary certificate.

For you to confirm the import regulations you will need to know certain details such as the species, what state it is in (fresh, dried, dyed, plant in soil, etc.), the country where it was grown, and the destination in Canada.

Visit the CFIA AIRS site for more information.

You can also consult the Plant Protection Directives to learn of the supporting regulations of the AIRS import requirements for the type of flower or plant you wish to import.

What Is A Plant Import Permit?
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A plant import permit is a protectional permit issued by the CFIA to the importer that specifies how a particular plant must be packaged, transported, handled, controlled and used. This permit helps ensure that pests or biological obstacles to the control of a pest are not introduced into or spread within Canada. It will also advise whether specific treatments or certifications such a fumigation or phytosanitary certificates are required. The permit can also outline other important regulations that must be met, so be sure to carefully read the permit when it is received from the CFIA to ensure you are aware of all requirements to import the plant.

What Is A Phytosanitary Certificate?
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A phytosanitary certificate is an official import document required to import certain commodities into Canada. The document certifies the commodity has been inspected and has been found free of invasive pests that could be detrimental to Canada and conform to the regulations.

New to Phytosanitary Certificates? Be sure to read our post The Danger in Altering Phytosanitary Certificates
Who Will Issue A Phytosanitary Certificate?
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A phytosanitary certificate is issued by the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) or agency of the country from which the goods are being exported.

How Do I Import Seeds Into Canada?
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If you import seeds into Canada you are encouraged to review the CFIA instructions on The ABCs of Seed Importation into Canada as it has specific import regulations for seeds.

How Can I Ship Plants From The US To Canada?
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You can ship plants from the US to Canada in several ways. Many cut flowers and plants require temperature controlled transportation by ground or air so it’s important to check AIRS for these specific requirements. Temperature control is available in many modes of transport and means that the temperature inside the container is set and maintained at the optimal temperature for preserving the plants or flowers. The temperature outside will not affect the contents within the transport container.

Looking for temperature controlled freight forwarding? You can contact our freight team for a quote.

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