How Other Government Departments Facilitate The Flow Of Imported Goods | Carrier Edition

How Other Government Departments Facilitate The Flow Of Imported Goods | Carrier Edition

In addition to Canada Border Services Agency, there are over 10 other government departments (OGDs) and agencies that are involved in the importation, in-transit movement and exportation of various commodities in and out of Canada. Other government departments (OGDs) and agencies ensure that prohibited and controlled goods are not illegally imported into, or exported out of, the country. Importers must ensure that their goods comply with the requirements of all other government departments and agencies prior to importation into Canada. As a carrier, it helps to be aware of the role of these regulatory bodies and how their involvement in the process may impact your clearance times.

OGD requisites will help you determine if the goods you are transporting are controlled, prohibited or regulated. In addition to the standard customs documentation these departments may require special permits, certificates, licenses, special labeling, or a specific type of packaging (i.e. child resistant) depending on the commodity. This must be obtained before the goods are released by Canada Border Services Agency. Shipments may be subject to examination by customs officers to verify marking or proper labeling that meet Canadian import requirements prior to releasing the shipment into Canada. If the requirements have not been met, the shipment can be refused entry which can result in significant delays for your truck.

Goods Subject To Other Government Department Requirements

Examples of products that are regulated by other government departments include:

  • Perishables
  • Animals
  • Flowers and seeds
  • Firearms
  • Some appliances
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Vehicles

CBSA has compiled the following list of commonly imported commodities that may require permits, certificates, and/or are subject to other requirements:

Considerations When Importing Produce Into Canada

Common OGDs You Should Know About

Below are some of the most common OGDs that you will encounter in your import process:

1. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the inspection and enforcement of regulations for food safety and nutritional quality, as defined by Health Canada. In other words, they regulate the import of food products, plants, animals and related products.

Many exotic plant pest organisms capable of causing economic loss to Canadian agricultural production can be transported in soil and related matter. CFIA import requirements and inspection procedures help prevent soiled products, pests and disease from entering Canada through these types of products. The CFIA works in conjunction with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, to regulate the importation of foods.

CFIA Import Requirements:

The Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) can be used to determine import requirements for products regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

For most items, CFIA will review the documentation for approval.  In certain circumstances, they will require additional permits, certificates or an inspection conducted by a CFIA officer.

2. Fisheries And Oceans Canada  (DFO)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) protects the import of aquatic invasive species and fish products by monitoring and enforcing regulations to minimize impacts on cross-border trade of fish and seafood products.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada Import Requirements:

A fish import license is required by the importer in order to import any products containing fish. In the case of some imports, a shellfish license may also be required.

3. Health Canada

Health Canada regulates consumer goods such as drugs, pharmaceuticals, vitamins, cosmetics, medical devices, natural health products, pesticides, radiation-emitting devices, toxic substances and some food products.

Health Canada Import Requirements:

Importation requirements can differ depending on which schedule the drug falls under. They may require an ingredient list and Health Canada approval.  Some products may require the Drug Identification Number (DIN), and cosmetic notifications after import.

For more information regarding requirements for importation of the products addressed, we recommend reviewing the Health Canada website, or contacting Health Canada directly with any questions.

4. Natural Resources Canada

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) seeks to enhance the responsible development and use of Canada's Natural Resources. It regulates the import of explosives including firearms and ammunition, as well as metals and minerals and some regulated energy-using products such as appliances.

Natural Resources Canada Import Requirements:

NRCan requirements include manufacturer information, make and model, size and reason for import.

Video | How Other Government Departments Affect Imports

5. Transport Canada

Transport Canada regulates the import of vehicles, tires, and the transportation of dangerous goods with the intent to promote safe, secure and environmentally responsible transportation.

Transport Canada Import Requirements:

Some Transport Canada regulated items such as vehicles, will require approval prior to import to ensure that they meet the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS).

Transport Canada Changes Vehicle Pre-Clearance List

How OGD Requirements Affect Carriers:

The needed additional OGD data and requirements could add to a carrier's time and costs. It may also increase the potential for delays in the release of goods at the border. For example, other government departments generally require two hours to process the documents prior to the review of the entry by Canada Border Services Agency.

How To Prevent Lengthy Delays Or Additional Charges:

To help avoid the inconvenience and associated costs of lengthy border delays in releasing OGD goods:

  1. Check for accurate and complete documentation from the shipper prior to heading to the border.
  2. Ensure that all parties in the trade chain (i.e. shipper, importer, carrier and customs broker) are fully aware of OGD regulated goods in the load.
  3. Allow sufficient time for the customs broker to file the necessary documents with all OGDs. 

You may wish to contact OGDs directly for more information. They would certainly be able to provide advice on any additional document requirements for the product being imported.

OGDs are becoming more stringent with regard to imports. New, additional OGD requirements are being implemented all the time. It is important that as a carrier of OGD regulated goods you are aware of current regulations and their implications.

Should you have questions about OGD requirements or any other cross-border transportation matter, please don't hesitate to contact our Carrier Liaison at 855.542.6644 or via email at

get a quote
Disclaimer: While reading, kindly note the date of this blog. At PCB we do our due diligence to write on the most relevant topic every week and naturally content may become dated as developments in a certain program/topic occur. For this reason, we greatly appreciate your readership and hope you continue reading with the posting date in mind. For the latest information on this topic please use our website's search function, or better yet, subscribe to our "Trading Post" newsletter to receive these updates directly to your inbox.
Share this post
About the Author
Gloria Terhaar
CCS (CA/US), CTCS, CBSA Prof. Designate

Gloria Terhaar began her career in Canadian customs brokerage 2007. 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 Canadian 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.