Exporting Seed to Canada FAQs

Exporting Seed to Canada from the United States – An Overview

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has developed a document:  “The ABCs of Seed Importation into Canada” which explains in detail the requirements for moving seed into Canada.   Following is a brief overview:

Seed coming into Canada must comply with Canada’s Seeds Act and Regulations and, in many cases, may also need to comply with all or parts of 5 additional Acts and their corresponding regulations:

  1. Plant Protection Act
  2. Pest Control Products Act
  3. Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
  4. Fertilizers Act
  5. Canadian Environmental Protection Act

In order to verify that seed entering Canada is free of prohibited noxious weeds and meets the minimum standards for purity and germination, a number of documents are required for imported seed.  The following documents must be submitted to the National Import Service Centre, either electronically or by fax.

ACFIA Import Declaration Form – signed by the importer, and accompanying the shipment.  This form specifies:

  • The name and address of the exporter
  • The name and address of the importer
  • The name of the species or crop kind (scientific and common names are encouraged)
  • The variety name if the crop kind is subject to variety registration in Canada
  • The country in which the seed was produced
  • The purpose for which the seed is being imported (e.g. for sale, conditioning, seeding by the importer, research)
  • The weight of the seed (not including treatments or packaging)
  • The lot number assigned to the shipment

B.   An Acceptable Seed Analysis Certificate (SAC) – shows that the shipment is free of prohibited noxious weeds and meets minimum purity standards and acceptable germination percentages.  SACs can be obtained from laboratories that operate under the supervision of a Registered Seed Technologist or a lab operated by or under the authority of a national or state government of a foreign country.

Seed establishments that have been approved as Authorized Importers do not need to supply a SAC at the time of import.

Request for Documentation Review – Once the National Import Service Centre has verified that all of the necessary documents have been provided, they are returned to the importer and they are also sent to the CFIA Seed Laboratory in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

All of the above information including the request for documentation review must accompany the shipment.   If the documentation is complete, the shipment can be shipped to the destination where it must be kept separate from all other seed and its packaging must remain intact until the Saskatoon Seed Lab issues a notice of import conformity.  This notice verifies that the seed meets all of the requirements for import to Canada.

Exporting Seed to Canada – Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a place where I can find all of the requirements for exporting seed to Canada?

The CFIA’s “ ABCs of Importing Seed” brings together all of the requirements.

Does seed coming in to Canada have to be of a variety that is registered in Canada?

Seed of crop kinds listed in Schedule III of the Seeds Regulations that are coming into Canada for sale in Canada must be of registered varieties.

Where can I find information on registering varieties in Canada?

There is a guidance document: “Procedures for Registering Varieties” available on CFIA’s website.

Where can I find a list of varieties that are registered in Canada?

A list of the varieties registered in Canada, by crop kind can be found on CFIA’s website.

Does seed coming into Canada have to be pedigreed?

Seed of field corn (hybrid corn) must be of pedigreed status to be sold in Canada.

Are fees charged?


Are phytosanitary certificates required?


Are there labeling requirements for seed coming into Canada?


Are there special requirements for genetically modified seeds (Plants with Novel Traits)?

If the “novel trait” has been approved for unconfined release in Canada, there are no further specific requirements. A list of Plants with Novel traits (PNTs) authorized in Canada can be found on the CFIA website.

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Offline Seed Trade FAQ

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