In order to import a product from another country into Canada, you or your customs broker must research the import requirements. Some import requirements may regulate an invasive pest (s) that is in the country of origin or the product being imported. The importance of these requirements is to ensure the safety of Canadian ecology and agriculture.What is an invasive pest?An invasive pest is any organism that is not native to Canada, but could make a home for itself to the detriment of any of Canada's many climatic regions.Not only are the products that are being imported required to be certified free of the pest in question, the packaging materials must also meet certain treatment standards or they will be refused entry into Canada.Canada, being such an expansive country, has many different import requirements based on different climatic regions. For example, importing bell peppers from California into British Columbia requires certificates of origin or Phytosanitary Certificates certifying that the peppers are free of Light Brown Apple Moth, whereas importing those same peppers directly into Ontario requires no additional import certificates.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has published a comprehensive list of the invasive pests that Canada regulates, which includes: invasive insects, mollucs, virus, fungus, phytoplasma, plants, bacteria, nematodes, mite and unknowns that, after risk assessment, have been found to be a detriment, potential or otherwise, to Canada. Who knew so many different things could be classified as invasive?Contained in this list is also the plant protection directives that the CFIA uses to enforce preventative measures for each pest. When using the CFIA Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) tool to check for import restrictions by commodity, it will also link back to each directive, but by commodity versus by pest. Some commodities are regulated for more than one (1) pest and therefore are covered by more than one (1) directive. These directives also outline the preventative methods and documents required for importing regulated commodities.If an invasive pest is found in the commodity or its packaging, the shipment could:1) be refused entry;2) require treatment before export; or3) be destroyed.Takeaway: Before you import, check for import regulations. By acquiring the knowledge of which commodities are regulated and their import requirement, it will assist you in avoiding unforeseen consequences.
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