A Guide to What You Should Know Before Trying to Import Goods into Canada

Canada restricts the importation of various goods like food, plant, and animal products (FPA) because they could cause substantial damage to Canada’s native biosystems, fisheries, native environments, domesticated crops, and can even be a harm to humans. In fact, a single piece of meat or fruit that harbors the wrong pests or diseases can cause rampant destruction in Canada.

Importing Food, Plant, and Animal Goods into Canada

Accordingly, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) inspects and restricts a broad range of products coming into Canada, including, but not limited to:

  1. Houseplants;
  2. Homemade items, such as things carved from wood or made from plants;
  3. Firewood;
  4. Various foods including fruit and vegetables; milk; and cooked or raw meats;
  5. Seeds; and
  6. Even muddy hiking boots (which can harbor damaging microbes).

You should review the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) prior to trying to bring an FPA product into Canada. You don’t want to get stuck at the border while your FPA is processed and to determine if it can be admitted. Also, keep in mind, the restrictions can vary based on the item and country of origin. For example, a pet dog might be restricted if it comes from southeast Asia but is less likely to be restricted if it is from the United States. These guidelines are continually adjusted based on changes in disease and pest situations – so do research before you come to the border.

If you need assistance understanding the Automated Import Reference System or would like assistance to bring in an FPA product, then please do not hesitate to contact ARGO Customs Brokers. Our brokers can assist you in advance to ensure you have a smooth transition at the border. When you come to enter Canada, be sure to have the HS Tariff classification code and the country of origin as this information will facilitate a faster determination. If you have any questions, you can email us – info@argocustoms.com – or contact our team for a live chat.