Commercial Grain Trade – What documentation is required to import grain of U.S. origin into Canada?

What documentation is required to import grain of U.S. origin into Canada?

Depending on the crop type being imported, its origin and its intended end use there may be phytosanitary import requirements (i.e., a phytosanitary certificate, an import permit, certificate of origin, or other document required).   Canadian phytosanitary regulations affecting wheat, rye, barley, oats and triticale are contained in Directive D-99-01.  Draft regulations for corn, feed grains, oilseeds and other commodities are contained in draft Directive D-12-05, and are currently being reviewed by the government, public and affected parties.  If this directive were to be adopted in current form, it would expand the requirements of importers of grains, oilseed and other commodities to possibly include more cleaning prior to importation, additional phytosanitary certificates, or import licensing for certain commodities.  This directive is expected to be finalized in 2014 and become effective on the date prescribed by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

The CFIA’s import requirements are outlined in its Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) and can be found at the following link:

This system provides all importers and brokers with an outline of all the documents (i.e., phytosanitary certificates, import permits, certificates of origin, etc.) that may be required. AIRS is a searchable database where importers and brokers can use the Harmonized System (HS) code or the name of a commodity (common or botanical) to determine what the documentation requirements are specific to the origin, destination and end use of the material in Canada.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is Canada’s national plant protection organization and is responsible to protect Canada’s plant resource base and issue phytosanitary certificates. The CFIA regulates the importation of any grain under the Plant Protection Act and Regulations and specific parts of the Seeds Act and Regulations.

All grain import requirements must be met prior to or at the time of importation and any shipment could be subject to inspection, sampling or testing

The CFIA has developed an import primer document titled “Importing plants and plant products: what you need to know” and it provides a general overview of what is required to bring any plant product, including grain or seed into Canada. The weblink for this document is

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