Altering Official Government Documents

United States Inspections for Canadian Destinations and Phytosanitary Certificates are protected from being altered, forged or used in any unauthorized manner. Each of these documents contains a statement detailing repercussions of changing the document from the original state. Altering a document includes, but is not limited to: changing information contained in the document, affixing a PARS sticker on the document, and/or writing over text in order to have the document fax clearly to the customs broker. 

If the product listed on a Phytosanitary Certificate or Inspection for Canadian Destinations is under certified, then, in most cases, a new superseding certificate will be issued. If the document in question is altered, not only can an Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) fine be issued by the Canadian government, but the issuing country can also levie monetary fines or enforce jail time.

Hefty AMPS Penalties For ACI eManifest Non-Compliance

The small print on a Phytosanitary Certificate reads: "Warning: Any alteration, forgery, or unauthorized use of this phytosanitary certificate is subject to civil penalties of up to $250,000 (7 U.S.C. Section 7734(b)) or punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both (18 U.S.C Section 1001)"

The Certificate of Inspection for Canadian Destinations issues a similar warning: "Warning: Any Person who knowingly shall falsely make, issue, alter, forge or counterfeit this certificate, or participate in any such actions is subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both"

As you can see, the issuing government is very serious about protecting these documents, as it is part of their international trade obligation of ensuring that their exports meet the requirements of the importing country. If you want to avoid paying monetary fines and jail time, don”t alter these official government documents!

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About Author
Gloria Terhaar
CCS, CTCS, CBSA Professional Designate

Gloria Terhaar has over 17 years of Canadian customs brokerage experience. She currently works in our Canadian division as a Trade Compliance Supervisor and Regulatory Compliance Specialist. Gloria has extensive experience in all aspects of documentation and regulatory requirements as they relate to importing products into Canada. Gloria is often called upon to train industry with some recent talks for MNP, the Surrey Board of Trade, TFO Canada and the BC Produce Marketing Association. In 2018, Gloria also participated in the Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Canadian Horticultural Council advocacy event "Fall Harvest" in Ottawa where she participated in advocacy efforts for the Canadain produce industry.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.