General Import Inspection Procedures for Plant Health

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

Looking for related documents?
Search for related documents in the Guidance Document Repository

Table of Contents

1. Purpose

This chapter provides the inspector with a general background and procedures common to all Plant Health import inspections. It is meant to be used in conjunction with the commodity specific sections in Chapter 3 of this manual.

2. Regulated Pests

As defined by the IPPC, regulated pests include quarantine pests and regulated non-quarantine pests and can include pests that are the subject to provisional or emergency measures. A Pest Risk Analysis must be conducted to determine both the quarantine status of a pest and whether or not phytosanitary measures must be put in place to prevent its introduction, establishment and spread in Canada. Such an analysis includes both risk assessment and risk management components.

There are two groups within the Science Branch responsible for conducting the risk assessment component: the and the Plant and Biotechnology Risk Assessment Unit is responsible for conducting risk assessments on the potential for and likely consequences of CFIA's introducing into Canada insects and other plant pathogens (e.g. bacteria, fungi, viruses, nematodes, etc.) via the import of plants. The Plant and Biotechnology Risk Assessment Unit is responsible for assessing the potential for plants to act as a plant pest themselves. Once a risk assessment is completed by either one or both units, the commodity section within the Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate (Policy and Programs Branch) requesting the risk assessment will develop a risk management document; such a document will contain an analysis of any risk management options available (if applicable) and provide a decision with regards to the regulatory status of a plant or pest (i.e. prohibited, not regulated, permitted entry provided certain phytosanitary requirements have been met, etc.).

Information on pests of concern for plant material being inspected is available from a number of sources including Pest Fact Sheets (prepared by the Plant Health and Risk Assessment Unit) and the Plant Protection Policy Directives prepared by the Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate.

The List of Pests Regulated by Canada is available and a cross-index of French and English common names and scientific names of plants and plant products can be found in Appendix 4 of this Chapter.

3. Objectives of an Import Inspection

Countries develop and implement phytosanitary measures to prevent the introduction and spread of quarantine pests, or to limit the economic impact of regulated non-quarantine pests. There is a range of phytosanitary measures a country may use to achieve that goal, including measures which are applied:

  • Prior to shipping (e.g. requirements for production systems, treatments, inspection, testing, surveillance or accreditation in the country of export),
  • At the point of entry (e.g. document checks), and/or
  • After the product has entered the country (e.g. verification of consignment integrity, inspection, sampling, and testing).

The application of these measures is supported by legislation and regulation, including the basic phytosanitary measure of inspecting imported products to determine if the import requirements are being met.

All consignments of plants, plant products and other regulated articles imported into Canada may be subjected to inspection and sampling and testing for pests and soil contamination by a person designated as an inspector under the Plant Protection Act and Regulations. The objective(s) of an import inspection are:

  • confirm a consignment's compliance with the phytosanitary import requirements for a particular plant commodity (e.g. application of a treatment at origin prior to export)
  • look for evidence of regulated pests (e.g. frass, exit holes, discolouration, necrosis, etc.)
  • detect pests for which the phytosanitary risk and related risk management have not yet been determined, and,
  • collect samples for testing or verification.

Confirmation of compliance with phytosanitary import requirements may include the verification of:

  • presence and validity of required documentation,
  • application of treatments at origin,
  • degree of processing,
  • freedom from pests and contaminants(e.g. soil, leaves, etc.),
  • required growth stage or variety,
  • absence of unauthorized plants, plant products or other regulated articles,
  • consignment packaging or shipping requirements,
  • origin of consignment,
  • point of entry,
  • destination and regulated areas for specific commodities within Canada, and
  • adherence to an import permit which may have outlined alternate import requirements such as a compliance agreement

It is important that:

  • inspection procedures are consistently applied,
  • inspection techniques are updated regularly to take into account new information and techniques,
  • a drawn sample is processed as soon as it is reasonably possible,
  • procedures are put in place to ensure the independence, integrity, traceability and security of the samples, and,
  • inspection activities, results and additional notes are documented using the Inspection Report Form (CFIA/ACIA 1337)Footnote 1

Inspection is one of the most important tools that can be used to ensure compliance with import requirements. During an inspection, inspectors can:

  • provide information on Canada's Plant Health program and phytosanitary requirements,
  • ask and answer questions,
  • explain CFIA's policies, procedures and legislation.

Plants, plant products and other regulated articles can be hosts of many significant pests and, in addition, they can act as pathways for the transport of pests that do not affect them but may affect other plants or plant products. When conducting an inspection, inspectors examine the product for regulated pests and for organisms for which the phytosanitary risk has not yet been determined. Where excessive levels of non-regulated pests are observed, an inspector may wish to inform the importer.

The results of the inspection will allow the inspector to decide whether to accept, detain or reject the consignment, or whether further testing or analysis is required.

If an unidentified organism is found, it may be necessary to take precautionary measures to prevent the introduction, establishment and spread of that organism. Precautionary measures or prompt phytosanitary actions may include, but are not limited to:

  • control and contain a consignment or situation,
  • further inspection of a consignment to determine level or proportion of infestation or infection,
  • testing,
  • quarantine,
  • prohibit the movement of a consignment,
  • destruction of a consignment,
  • surveillance (e.g. pest surveys, increase in frequency for commodity from particular origin, etc.)
  • treatment (chemical and/or physical), and,
  • return to origin or removal from Canada

Once the organism is identified and its quarantine status determined, appropriate follow-up actions are implemented. The degree of control necessary to prevent the entry or spread of a pest of concern, once found associated with an imported consignment, will be determined by the situation and the policies related to that particular pest. In cases of repeated non-compliance, the intensity and frequency of inspections for particular commodities, importers or exporters may be increased.

3.1 Border Lookouts and Blitzes

In addition to routine inspection, the CFIA initiates periodic border lookouts and blitzes on selected commodities from particular origins.

A CFIA border lookout is a protocol that is generally initiated as a result of a particular phytosanitary issue (i.e., issues related to the origin of the commodity/exporter or a specific importer) and provides both the CFIA and the CBSA with a mechanism to control the movement of specific commodities at and across the border. When a consignment of a targeted commodity arrives at the border, the CBSA can refuse its entry, inspect it, or refer it to the CFIA for inspection or further action.

The length of time for a border lookout to be in effect is variable and may be put in place to control imports of a commodity until a pest risk analysis is completed and more sustainable measures are put in place. More information on the protocol for CFIA Border LookoutsFootnote 2 is available to CFIA staff.

In contrast to border lookouts, blitzes are not instigated as the result of a particular phytosanitary or other specific issue. They are short-term (one to several days) intensive inspection initiatives carried out by the CFIA at points of entry including airports, land borders, rail yards, seaports, and mail and courier depots. Consignments targeted in a blitz are selected based on criteria such as the point of entry, commodity, country of origin or exporter. For example, a blitz may focus on all consignments of plants, plant products and other regulated articles presenting themselves for import at a particular entry point.

Blitzes enhance CFIA's import presence and bring focus on high risk commodities and importers of interest. In addition to capturing fraudulent activities (e.g. smuggling), these intense inspection exercises can provide assurance as to the effectiveness of the overall import strategy by identifying instances where commodities are a lower risk than anticipated or, alternatively, instances where non-compliant commodities or importers are not being detected during routine inspection. Blitzes are always conducted in cooperation with the CBSA when they occur at points of entry or in bonded establishments.

4. Guidelines for Preventing the Spread of Pests during Inspections

Plant Health inspection staff is frequently required to visit a number of different nurseries, greenhouses, fields and facilities, and to handle, cut and examine a variety of materials. Physical contact can spread pests that may be associated with the material (e.g. pathogens, fungi, nematodes, bacteria and insects). This represents a potential pathway for transferring regulated plant pests from one inspection site or consignment to another.

As a general practice, to prevent or minimize the potential spread of plant pests, inspectors should:

  • Establish an inspection area that promotes containment of the plant material,
  • Keep doors closed when possible to reduce the potential movement of pests,
  • Minimize the entry of personnel into the inspection area,
  • Treat all material as if it was infested or infected,
  • Use good housekeeping practices to keep the work area neat and clean (e.g. clean up spilled soil and growing media),
  • Ensure the proper removal, containment and destruction of infested or infected material/consignments, and
  • Complete all paperwork outside the inspection area if this activity presents a risk of disseminating pests if carried out at inspection site.

Establishment of general procedures for personal hygiene and cleaning and disinfection can prevent the spread of pests and cross contamination. The extent of the measures that should be taken depends on the nature of the material that is being inspected and the potential pests that may be associated with that material. For some organisms, specific biosecurity measures have been put in place by Plant Health Program staff in order to avoid and mitigate the spread of that particular pest. By putting such measures in place, the CFIA sends a clear message that the Agency takes its plant protection role very seriously. These measures also serve to alleviate industry concerns that the CFIA may be a potential vector for the spread of regulated pests.

4.1 Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene practices which are critical in preventing the spread of pests include:

  • Washing hands before leaving the containment zone and at any time after handling materials known to be contaminated with plant pests (or suspected of being contaminated with plant pests). If a proper hand washing station is not available, antiseptic rubs, gels, or rinses may be used.
  • Tying back or restraining long hair so that it cannot act as a vector by coming into contact with the material being inspected, pests, hands, containers or equipment.
  • Cleaning clothing that has come into contact with plant pests.
  • Ensuring footwear is clean before entering the inspection area and before leaving the site. Depending on the nature of the inspection activity, it may be necessary to clean off mud or soil and disinfect footwear or wear disposable boot covers.
  • Leaving articles not necessary for the inspection activity outside of the inspection area.

4.2 Cleaning and Disinfection of Inspection Area

Proper cleaning and disinfection of inspection area between inspections of containment units are necessary to prevent the spread of plant pests. A containment unit is the largest unit that has been packaged and shipped similarly. It could include a single lot or multiple lots, a full sea container or an entire bulk load. For example, if an inspector has a truck load of greenhouse stock containing three lots of annuals to inspect, each lot could be considered a containment unit or, since every plant in the load has presumably been handled by the same company and housed in the same conditions, the entire load could be treated as one containment unit.

If it is apparent to the inspector that they could be contaminating materials in other lots by not cleaning and disinfecting the inspection area between lots, each lot should be regarded as a containment unit. The work surface and items such as clippers, pruners and knives should be cleaned and disinfected after inspecting each containment unit and before leaving the facility.

Inspection surfaces and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected with a suitable disinfectant that is effective against a range of pathogens (e.g. bacteria, viruses, and fungi) such as quaternary ammonia compounds, peroxygen compounds and bleach. Use the disinfectant at the suggested rate on the label for the suggested exposure time.

4.3 Cleaning and Disinfection of Vehicle

Vehicles can become contaminated with soil and plant pests and act as a primary vector for the spread of quarantine and regulated non-quarantine pests. The following guidelines will help to reduce the likelihood of pests being spread by an inspector's vehicle:


If possible, the vehicle should be parked on paved, concrete or gravel areas away from the immediate inspection area to avoid contact with soil and organic matter.


Where it is not possible to avoid potential contamination by a plant pest, the vehicle should be cleaned before leaving the facility. The tires, wheel wells and accessible areas of the undercarriage of the vehicle should be cleaned of soil and organic matter with a brush or a hose followed by a spray down with a suitable disinfectant. In situations where the undercarriage has been coated with soil it is recommended that after cleaning and disinfecting at the work site that an effort be made to go through a car wash that has the ability to clean the undercarriage before proceeding to another work site. To ensure the entire surface of the tires is cleaned, it will also be necessary to move the vehicle forward a foot or so to allow cleaning of the portion of the tire in contact with the ground.

A portion of the vehicle should be designated as a "clean area" where clean work supplies and equipment can be kept. A designated "dirty area" of the vehicle such as the trunk of the car or a specified enclosed area of a truck bed must also be identified for use to hold samples as well as double bagged clothes or dirty equipment to be taken off site for cleaning. In situations where pooled vehicles are used, the office should adopt a set of cleaning procedure for all staff.

5. General Inspection Procedures and Techniques

There are a number of procedures and techniques that are common to all plant health inspections and these have been divided into 12 steps. These common steps are illustrated in the flow chart described in the following sections.

The commodity-specific sections in Chapter 3 of this manual outline any requirements, procedures and techniques which are specific to the inspection of the commodity in question.

When conducting an inspection, an inspector should follow the general 12 steps for plant health inspection, along with the procedures and techniques that pertain to the specific commodity being inspected.

5.1 Step 1: Review of Consignment's Import Documentation

While the NISC will have reviewed a consignment's import documents prior to its release, an inspector at the local CFIA office must also do a quick check for completeness, consistency, accuracy and validity (e.g. a Phytosanitary Certificate must not have expired) to determine whether or not an inspection is required and to take the appropriate control action if the import was not eligible for entry into Canada.

If the document package is not complete, the inspector should contact the importer directly in order to obtain the missing information or documents. The inspector is responsible for resolving any gaps or discrepancies in the import documentation.

The types of information that are necessary to complete a plant health import inspection include:

  • location of the consignment,
  • description of product including any required scientific or common names of the plant or plant product to be inspected,
  • size of the consignment,
  • type of consignment (i.e. commercial or non-commercial),
  • status of consignment (i.e. pre-cleared, imported for use in Canada, in-transit or being returned to Canada),
  • origin of the plant or plant product (i.e. where it was grown or harvested),
  • destination (e.g. some regions may have different import requirements for a commodity) and/or,
  • end use.

If the documentation cannot be brought back into compliance, the consignment must be ordered removed from Canada or destroyed.

5.2 Step 2: Confirm that Inspection is Required

Determining whether or not an inspection is required for a particular consignment will depend on a number of factors, such as:

  • the type and origin of the commodity being imported,
  • existing monitoring programs, border lookouts and blitzes in effect,
  • Operations work plans, and,
  • biological and environmental considerations.

If no inspection is required, this should be noted and the activity ends.

If an inspection is required, a Notice to Importer (CFIA/ACIA 1297 2008/05) is issued by the inspector, where necessary, to inform the owner of a consignment, or his agent, that the commodity to be imported:

  • requires inspection and must be moved for that purpose to the place indicated on the form, and
  • may not be moved to any other place or be opened or unpackaged, unless authorized by a CFIA inspector.

A copy of the notice is sent to both the importer and the consignment's destination (Note: A Notice to Importer is not required to undertake an inspection.)

Notices to Importers can be issued by either the NISC or the regional or local offices. Where 100% of a commodity's consignments require inspection upon arrival in Canada, the NISC will issue a Notice to Importer and forward a copy of the Notice to the appropriate CFIA inspection office. Otherwise, the local or regional CFIA inspection office will issue the notice for consignments targeted for inspection within their jurisdiction. A CFIA inspection office may sometimes forward a written request to the NISC asking them to issue a Notice to Importer for consignments of a specific commodity, origin/exporter or owned importer. Such a request generally applies to short term specific events, such as blitzes.

5.3 Step 3: Setting up an Inspection

Once the need for inspection has been confirmed for a consignment, an inspector will:

  • contact the importer or facility where the consignment is being delivered to make arrangements for the inspection,
  • determine the amount of time required to complete the inspection and sampling requirements, and,
  • determine whether or not there are special circumstances regarding the facility or conditions under which the inspection will be conducted.

There is a number of time sensitive issues that must be taken into consideration when making arrangements for an inspection, such as perishability of the commodity, size of the consignment and availability of resources (including pest diagnostics). Consequently, it is necessary to be prompt in making arrangements with the consignee in order to do a complete inspection before the product is further distributed or sold, or the condition of the product is affected (i.e. integrity is compromised).

Some key questions the inspector should ask when contacting the importer to set up an inspection are:

  • Has the shipment arrived in Canada and where is it located?
  • Has it been unloaded, if not when?
  • Did you notice anything strange or different about the consignment?
  • Who should I talk to when I arrive at the facility?
  • What is the best time to do the inspection?

In some cases, the importer acts as a broker and the consignments are distributed directly to more than one consignee. If this is the case, the distribution list, the description of the consignment and, if applicable, the store number for each drop point should be forwarded from the NISC to the inspection office.

5.4 Step 4: Preparing for an Inspection

Before going out to inspect a consignment, the inspector must review inspection requirements for the commodity including potential pest issues. The equipment and documents required to complete the inspection should be collected and program officers and supervisors consulted, as required.

5.4.1 Reviewing Inspection and Import Requirements

An inspector should review both the inspection procedures for the commodity as well as the import conditions/requirements listed on the Permit to Import. For example, a permit may specify a place to which the material must be shipped for inspection prior to further distribution. Material must not be moved to any place other than that specified and must remain intact and unopened until given consent by the inspector. In situations where material has been moved to a location not specified on the Permit to Import, the inspector may take a number of actions against the importer ranging from a verbal warning to regulatory action. The response will depend on the particular circumstances, including the nature of the material and the past history of importer compliance. The inspector should consult their supervisor or program officer prior to taking any action.

In addition to the Plant Health Import Inspection Manual, other resource materialFootnote 2 that may be useful in preparing for an inspection includes:

5.4.2 Material and Equipment Preparation

Documents and equipment needed for an on-site inspection may vary depending on the commodity to be inspected, the life stage of the pest(s) of concern, the type of samples that need to be drawn, etc.

In general, documents that an inspector should bring with them to an inspection include:

  • Inspector ID card and business cards
  • Inspection Report Form (s) (CFIA/ACIA 1337)
  • Plant Health Import Inspection Check List (See Appendix 3 of this Chapter)
  • Sample Table (See Chapter 4's Appendix 2)
  • Random Number Table (See Chapter 4's Appendix 3)
  • Other regulatory forms, as required (See Section 5.12 for further information)

Equipment for an inspection may include, but is not limited to:

  • health and safety equipment (i.e. steel-toed boots, hard hats, gloves, high visibility safety vest, dust mask, eye protection, etc.)
  • gas monitoring equipment (use requires prior training)
  • coveralls/duster coat
  • sample vials (new or clean)
  • envelopes/sample bags
  • flashlight or head lamp
  • trowel
  • probe
  • cord/twine
  • tape/adhesive
  • labels
  • paper towels
  • disinfectant
  • pens/pencils/markers
  • cooler/ice packs
  • camera
  • official CFIA tape
  • "Inspected" stickers
  • small brush for picking up insects
  • alcohol for insect preservation
  • knife, secanteurs, pruning shears, utility knife, tin snips
  • hand lens (minimum 10X magnification)/ magnifying glass
  • killing jars
  • forceps
  • moisture meter
  • GPS Unit

Additional equipment that might be needed once an inspector is back in the local Operations office may include:

  • microscope, slide, Petri dishes, etc.
  • Berlese funnel system
  • seed sample separators
  • liquid measuring equipment (e.g. graduated cylinders or beakers) sieve and pans
  • scale
  • stove/hot plate/burner
  • fridge/freezer

5.5 Step 5: Make CFIA Presence Known at Facility

When arriving at the premises where the consignment is being held, inspectors must:

  • make their presence known to the person in charge of the facility,
  • indicate the reason for the visit, and
  • request any assistance that may be required in terms of setting up appropriate conditions to inspect the consignment (e.g. space, lighting, unloading of containers, opening of boxes etc.).

Subsection 23 (2) of the Plant Protection Act specifically requires that the owner or the person in charge of the facility and every person found in the place must provide the inspector with all reasonable assistance to enable the inspector to perform his or her duties, and furnish the inspector with such information as they may reasonably require. For example, an inspector may ask the owner, or designated representative, to provide his or her observations regarding the general condition of the consignment.

Furthermore, Subsection 7(2) of the Plant Protection Act requires that when an item is required to be inspected, it must be presented to the inspector under such a manner and conditions that the inspector deems are necessary to carry out the inspection

5.6 Step 6: Selecting an Inspection Area

In order to conduct an effective inspection, it is important to have the proper work conditions. In addition to following the guidelines in Section 4 in for preventing the spread of pests during an inspection, the following factors should also be considered when selecting an inspection area:

Inspections must occur in an area where the inspector is not at risk from vehicles, forklifts, stacked cargo, fumes, chemicals, etc. The person in charge of the facility should be asked to indicate any safety concerns associated with inspection of the consignment (e.g. loud noise, chemical treatments including fumigation, moving vehicles, etc.).
Whenever possible, the inspection should occur where there is protection from rain, wind and other adverse conditions. An indoor site away from drafts and open doors is preferable.
Working Surface and Area
An adequate area with a work surface of appropriate dimensions and height is required. The work surface must be clean, resistant to chemicals, light coloured and non-porous (e.g. a table or a sheet of plywood covered with plastic over a stack of boxes). The floor should be clean and non-porous (e.g. concrete).
Adequate lighting is required to see small pests that might be present on the commodity. This may often involve the use of additional lighting such as flashlights or directional work lights.

5.7 Step 7: Consignment Identity, Integrity and Condition

The verification of the identity, integrity and condition of a consignment involves doing a visual check of the imported material to ensure that it is accurately described by its documents and is in adequate condition for inspection. The material in the consignment must match the accompanying documentation. Particular care must be taken to note any discrepancies. Sometimes an exporter will add more plants or plant products at the last minute or will substitute some plants or plant products that aren't included on the Permit to Import or Phytosanitary Certificate. Inspectors must be aware that this can occur, investigate the cause and take appropriate regulatory action.

The inspectors must:

  1. Verify whether the type of plant, plant product, species, variety or regulated material is in accordance with the Phytosanitary Certificate and Permit to Import or other import documentation presented to the inspector.

  2. Validate the number or weight of containers or units.

  3. Verify if distinguishing marks made on the packaging or directly on the material match the documentation.

    Sometimes special marks, box numbers, indications of grade, bill numbers, information about exporter or consignee country of origin, number of maritime shipment or air flight, name of vessel or voyage number, etc. can be found. Information on labels, boxes, seals or stickers can give important indications about the conformity of the consignment.

    Consignments of prepacked commodities from multiple origins, may constitute a challenge for inspectors. For example, in the same consignment, it is possible to get bulbs from multiple countries and the labelling constitutes an important source of information to determine the actual origin of the product. Similarly, it is often difficult to identify dormant nursery stock, perennials and fruit stock. Inspectors will use information on boxes, stickers or labels to make sure the material in the consignment matches the species listed on the documentation.

  4. Get a general view of the condition of the consignment, looking for abnormalities in the commodity

    If material is rotten, decayed or damaged such that the inspection would not be reliable for determining pest or disease presence, it may be necessary to order the consignment destroyed or removed from Canada.

    Note:The CFIA does not provide importers with reports on commodity conditions as part of a phytosanitary inspection.

  5. Consult a supervisor or program officer in situations where the consignment integrity and identity cannot be confirmed, or where the consignment is not in adequate condition for effective inspection. Regulatory action may be required.

5.8 Step 8: Selecting Inspection Units

It is not possible for an inspector to inspect every plant or plant product that enters Canada, therefore, inspection units must be selected from consignments or lots within consignments in order to determine their compliance with Canada's phytosanitary import requirements. The information gathered from documentation and marks on the packaging is used to determine the size and the number of lots for inspection purposes. The importer may be able to provide additional information as to the homogeneity of the material. The method of selecting inspection units will depend on the nature of the commodity to be inspected.

Instructions for selecting inspection units can be found in Chapter 4 of this manual(Selecting Inspection Units).

5.9 Step 9: Inspect the Consignment

Inspection procedures will depend to a great extent on the commodity being inspected, the reasons for the inspection and the way in which it has been shipped.

Depending on the nature of the inspection activity, each inspection unit should be examined until all the units have been inspected or until a pest or pests of concern have been detected. Inspection should continue even after pests of concern are found where there is need to confirm the identity of the pest or to collect additional information on the pests, the commodity and/or exports from the particular country of origin. In this case, the number of pests detected or the percent infestation should be recorded. This information may be used for work planning, surveys or to determine whether or not a particular commodity or source/origin should be targeted for more frequent inspections.

If an inspector suspects that a consignment contains a quarantine or regulated non-quarantine pest, the first step is to take control of the consignment and initiate action to prevent the spread of the organism or dispersal affected material.

Tolerances are not applied for regulated pests and their confirmed presence must result in either refusal of entry, removal from Canada or destruction of the consignment. See Section 5.11 for more information inspection outcomes and related responses.

It may also be necessary to examine additional units. Examples include further inspections for a particular pest when signs or symptoms are observed, checks as to the degree of infestation by a regulated non-quarantine pest, or examination of additional units to determine whether or not a required treatment (e.g. fumigation) has been effective.

The inspection procedure should allow for the detection of specific regulated pest(s) on or in the commodity and for detection of other organisms that may be of potential concern. For example, using a hand lens of at least 10X magnification facilitates the detection of small organisms and signs of their activity. All senses should be used while conducting the inspection. Most of the signs and symptoms will be detected by sight but even smells and sounds (such as those made by live insects) can reveal that something is wrong. More detailed information on commodity-specific inspection instructions is available in Chapter 3.

The signs and symptoms of plant pests that may be observed during an import inspection depend on the commodity being inspected and the specific pest(s) present. The inspector should be familiar with the signs and symptoms of specific regulated pests before conducting an inspection. They can do this by consulting Chapter 3, Pest Fact Sheets and any specific Plant Protection Policy Directives related to that commodity. In addition, inspectors should look for general signs and symptoms of diseases and infestation.

5.9.1 General Symptoms of Plant Disease

Symptoms that may indicate the presence of disease include:

Rapid and complete chlorosis, browning then death of plant tissues such as leaves, branches, twigs, or floral organs in response to infection by a pathogenic organism.
Necrotic, often sunken lesions that can be found on stems, branches or twigs. They usually result in a shrinking and dying of tissue which later cracks open to expose the wood underneath.
A condition in which leaves produce insufficient chlorophyll, causing them to be pale green, yellow, or yellow-white.
Progressive death of shoots, branches and roots generally starting at the growing tip.
Changes in colour of leaves, stems or floral parts; can be either darker or lighter in colour than normal tissue.
Localized swellings or outgrowths of tissue caused by several types of plant pests. They may be observed on any part of the plant.
The premature death of cells and living tissue due to damage cause by disease organisms or insects.
Powdery Mildew
White or greyish patches or spots generally found on succulent tissue. Due to a fungus infection.
Swellings on lead or stem surfaces; usually filled with spores.
Large necrotic areas in plant tissue
Symptoms will vary. Discoloration or swellings on branches or trunks of conifers, leaf spots or streaking of plant tissue, for example, may be observed.
Brown discolouration on the leaves of plants caused by heat, lack of water or by fungi.
Small, discoloured areas on tissue surfaces
Refers to the drooping of non-woody parts of plants due to low water availability to the cells. This can be due to soil conditions or to bacteria or fungi that clog the plant's vascular system.

5.9.2 General Signs of Infestation

Signs that may indicate the presence of an insect include: feeding damage, plant discoloration, wilting, frass (insect droppings), webbing, tents, swelling, galls, root nodules, exit holes, chewing, notching, mining and girdling of stems. Exoskeleton casts, egg masses, larvae and pupae may also be observed.

Inspectors should also be aware that:

  • Scale insects, mites and eggs may be seen with the naked eye in some instances but frequently these are well hidden or hard to distinguish,
  • Galls caused by insects are readily apparent,
  • Insects in their various life stages may be found on any surface of the plant as well as hidden under bark, within stems and in the axils of branches, or found in the soil, and
  • Swelling and punctures may indicate insect presence.

5.9.3 Soil and Related Matter

Soil is a primary pathway for the introduction of quarantine and regulated non-quarantine plant pests. Soil and related matter can be imported alone (e.g. packaged potting soil and compost) or be in association with:

  • plants, plant material, and seed (both regulated and unregulated),
  • vehicles,
  • equipment, and
  • containers (e.g. bags, boxes, and crates)

Extra care must be taken when inspecting commodities that have a greater likelihood of being contaminated with soil. More detailed information can be found in the commodity specific sections in Chapter 3, as well as in the Plant Protection Policy Directive D-95-26 - Phytosanitary Requirements for Soil and Related Matter, Alone or in Association with Plants.

5.9.4 Packaging and Packaging Materials

Consignments of regulated products may arrive in many different kinds of packaging and with many types of packing materials, depending on the nature of the product, the quantity and the origin.
For example, imported commodities may arrive: 

  • as loose material in ship holds, in maritime or air containers, or in trucks,
  • on pallets, in crates, baskets, boxes, bundles, bags or prepacked directly on display materials ready for sale, in maritime or air flight containers, or in trucks,
  • in small containers, parcels or envelopes, by mail or courier, or
  • packaged with or without additional packing materials such as soil paper, peat, etc.

Packaging and containers should be kept closed until the inspector arrives and must also be inspected, both on the inside and the outside, for the presence of pests, soil and plant debris that may have become dislodge during transit from the commodities. Packages containing articles such as fruit or root crops are particularly at risk of contamination since these commodities are often packed in the field (e.g. soil may be found adhering to the bottom of the package on the outside or on the inside where it may have been shaken from plant material during transport). Packing material can be the same colour as soil and some insects may pupate in the seams of carton. Consequently, inspectors should take special care when inspecting under flaps of carton and in crevices and seams of packaging material.

Separate specific import requirements and inspection procedures exist for certain types of packaging and packing materials. For example, wood packaging is a high risk pathway for the introduction of quarantine pests and regulated non-quarantine pests. More information on specific requirements for wood packaging can be found in Section 12 of Chapter 3 (Forestry Products) as well as in the Plant Protection Policy Directive D-98-08 - Entry Requirements for Wood Packaging Materials Produced in All Areas Other Than the Continental United States.

Furthermore, not all packing materials are eligible for entry into Canada and the inspector is responsible for verifying the eligibility of the material.  Materials approved for use as packing materials for plants and plant products include: 

  • Clay pellets (baked or expanded)
  • Cocoa peat (coconut husk pith or fibres)
  • Cork (ground)
  • Paper
  • Peat (must be mined from non-agricultural areas)
  • Perlite
  • Polyacrylamide (water absorbing polymers)
  • Rice chaff
  • Rockwool
  • Vermiculite
  • Volcanic rock/volcanic ash or volcanic cinder
  • Wood shavings

The materials listed above may be used as packing material only. Plants may not be rooted in these materials unless imported from a pre-approved facility under the Canadian Growing Media Program.

5.10 Step 10: Collect and Prepare Samples for Testing or Identification

In many cases, pests or signs of pests that have been detected may require identification by a specialist before a determination can be made on the phytosanitary status of the consignment. In other cases, submission of a sample is a routine requirement for the import of a particular commodity.

If a sample is required, inspectors should review the sample submission procedures outlined in the Guidelines for Laboratory Submission of Imported Plants, Plant Pests and Related Materials (This document is intended for internal use. CFIA staff can access this document using RDIMS number 1841168), take the sample and submit it to the appropriate CFIA laboratory. It is important that samples are correctly taken and identified and that their integrity is maintained. It may be necessary to place the consignment under regulatory control and ensure that it remains intact until the laboratory results are obtained and it has been determined whether or not the consignment requires further regulatory action.

5.11 Step 11: Determine Inspection Outcome and Take Appropriate Action

There are a number of possible outcomes that can arise as the result of an inspection, depending on whether or not the consignment is in compliance with the Plant Protection Act and Regulations and the nature of the potential or actual non-compliance. It is important that all relevant documentation is collected and that the inspection results and any required follow-up actions are recorded in a clear, complete, concise and accurate manner as this information can be used to support a compliance decision as well as a Notice of Non-Compliance (further information on Notices of Non-compliance is available in Section 5.12.1)

If an inspector suspects that a consignment contains a quarantine pest or a regulated non-quarantine pest, the first step is to take control of the consignment and initiate action to prevent spread of the organism or the dispersal affected material.

The importer or their designated representative should be informed of the results and any follow-up actions required before the inspector leaves the site. If regulatory action is to be initiated, the inspector should liaise with their supervisor and program officer.

5.11.1 Consignment compliant

If a consignment is inspected and found to be in compliance with Canadian phytosanitary import requirements, the inspector notifies the importer and records this information. No further action is required by the inspector.

5.11.2 Part of consignment compliant

In cases where part of a consignment is found to be non-compliant, it may call into question the integrity of the entire consignment and be the cause for a more careful inspection. If only part of a consignment is non-compliant, there may be situations where the non-compliant articles can be removed and the rest of the consignment permitted entry. Consideration may be given to situations where the plant material is shipped in clearly identified lots that are accompanied by the required documentation, and the non-compliant material is lot specific. No further action is required for the compliant material, assuming all other requirements are met. The non-compliant material must be removed from Canada or destroyed and all actions taken must conform to the CFIA's Compliance and Enforcement Policy. The inspector should consult their supervisor or program officer before taking action. Removal of non-compliant material is only an option when there is no risk of introducing a quarantine pest.

For example, if a consignment includes boxes of fruit from several sources (different lots) and some of those lots are compliant and others were not, and the inspector is certain that pests could not have spread between the boxes, then the non-compliant lots can be separated from the compliant lots and removed from Canada or destroyed. No further action would be required for the compliant articles, assuming all other requirements are met. If there was the potential that a pest could have spread between the compliant and non-compliant lots, as would be the case with mobile invertebrate pests, the entire consignment must be removed from Canada or destroyed.

If the non-compliance is related to pest presence, it is generally very difficult to separate compliant from non-compliant material with any confidence that there is no risk of introducing a quarantine pest or a regulated non-quarantine pest. This is particularly true for bulk shipments of loose material because of the potential for a pest to spread through direct contact.

The removal of non-compliant articles can be resource intensive, particularly when a consignment is large and the non-compliance is related to a pest. In order for the inspector to be confident that all non-compliant material has been removed, they must inspect all of the material in the consignment that could harbour the pest, rather than inspecting at the prescribed sampling rate.

When faced with resource pressures for import inspection activities, removing non-compliant material from a consignment that has been found to be partially compliant should be considered a low priority activity. It should only be undertaken when higher priority import inspection activities have been addressed.;

Compliance history of importer and exporter should be considered and as well as safety, ease and time required to separate the material. Actions taken must conform to the CFIA's Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

5.11.3 Consignment non-compliant

The immediate action of the inspector upon identifying a non-compliance will depend on the particular circumstances. For example, the non-compliance may be related to the documentation provided by the importer or to the presence of a regulated pest.

If the non-compliance is related to the presence of a regulated pest, care must be taken to prevent the spread of the pest and contamination of compliant materials. The consignment must be ordered removed from Canada or destroyed. It may be necessary to treat the consignment before removal in order to eradicate the pest. Because it may be necessary to issue a Notice of Non-Compliance or emergency action to the exporting country, the situation must be reported to the inspection supervisor promptly (Further information on Notices of Non-Compliance is available in Section 5.12.1 of this chapter).

Actions taken against the importer upon determination of a non-compliant situation must be in accordance with the CFIA Enforcement and Compliance Policy and may include a warning, an Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP) or a prosecution. In general, a warning is issued for a minor non-compliance that the importer is willing and able to correct. The Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulationscan provide a guide to determine the severity or gravity of a specific offence. An importer's compliance record will help to determine the appropriate enforcement action.

The importer is responsible for any and all costs relating to treatment disposal, removal or re-routing, including costs incurred by CFIA to monitor the action taken. The costs associated with ordering a consignment to be treated, destroyed or removed from Canada can be very high. If there is any doubt as to the admissibility of a consignment, the inspector should consult their supervisor or program officer who may in turn consult with the appropriate commodity officers in the Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate.

5.11.4 Consignment potentially non-compliant

The immediate action of the inspector upon identifying a potential non-compliance will once again depend on the particular circumstances. If the potential non-compliance is related to the presence of an unidentified pest or materials that could be infested with a pest, care must be taken to prevent the spread of the pest and contamination of compliant materials. The consignment must be placed under quarantine pending identification of the organism by the appropriate CFIA lab.

If the non-compliance is confirmed, the consignment must be ordered removed from Canada or destroyed. It may be necessary to treat the consignment before removal in order to eradicate the pest. If the consignment is found to be in compliance, the importer must be informed and the results should be recorded. No further action is required.

5.12 Step 12: Complete Appropriate Inspection and Regulatory Documents

Complete and accurate notes are a crucial component of the inspection processFootnote 4. As the inspection is being conducted, record the type and number of each lot inspected and any associated findings using the Inspection Report Form (CFIA/ACIA 1337). These notes will be referred to when making the final determination regarding the admissibility of the consignment. This information may also be used for tracking purposes, for the review of import requirements, for issuing Notices of Non-Compliance and for legal proceedings, if required. Therefore, it is essential to be very precise about matters such as:

  • Dates
  • Times of day
  • Addresses
  • Names
  • Weather conditions, if applicable
  • Transaction numbers from NISC
  • Lot numbers or other identifying marks
  • Phytosanitary certificate numbers
  • Nature of the commodities inspected (including scientific names where applicable)
  • Type of packing material
  • Quantities, including number of units inspected
  • Origin of consignment
  • Pests found and samples taken
  • Treatments called for following inspection and procedures to ensure that treatments have been completed effectively
  • Arrangements for re-inspection, when necessary
  • Any other details considered necessary or pertinent

As the result of a non-compliance or potential non-compliance, a number of regulatory actions may be taken, all of which must fall within the scope of the Plant Protection Act and Regulations. Furthermore, the appropriate form or forms must be completed, issued and kept on file and easily accessible. These will include, as appropriate:

  • Inspection Report Form (CFIA/ACIA 1337)
  • Pest Identification Reports
  • CFIA Invoice
  • All documents received from the NISC or the importer (commercial invoices, etc.)

In addition, there is a variety of CFIA forms available to the inspector to record his or her actions and to inform the owner or the person having the possession, care or control of the consignment of these actions and their consequences (These documents are intended for internal use. Most of these forms can be found in Desktop eForms.). The inspector must ensure that forms are delivered by hand or sent by mail or fax to the owner or the person having the possession, care or control of the consignment, with confirmation of delivery. More than one person may be named on a form in which case each person must receive a copy.

In instances when follow-up action is required or there is controversy over the results of an inspection, these documents record the activities that took place as part of the inspection. It is important therefore that they be completed during or immediately following the inspection and that they provide adequate detail, which should include information, on both what was and was not found during inspection. Staff should contact their Area Training and Organizational Development Coordinator to request the appropriate training on plant protection legislation and regulatory forms.

5.12.1 Notice of Non-Compliance

As a signatory to the IPPC, Canada is required to notify the NPPO of the exporting country when a consignment of plants, plant products or other regulated articles does not meet Canada's phytosanitary import requirements. The inspector's records should be sufficiently detailed to allow for the issuance of a Notice of Non-Compliance to the exporting NPPO.

The Canadian policy on Notices of Non-compliance can be found in Plant Protection Policy Directive D-01-06 - Canadian Phytosanitary Policy for the Notification of Non-compliance and Emergency Action. These notices are issued when one of the following situations occurs:

  • significant failure of an imported consignment to comply with specified phytosanitary requirements, including the detection of specified regulated pests,
  • significant failure of an imported consignment to comply with documentary requirements for phytosanitary certification,
  • An emergency action is taken on an imported consignment due to the detection of a regulated pest not previously associated with the commodity in the exporting country,
  • An emergency action is taken on an imported consignment due to the detection of an unidentified organism which may pose a potential phytosanitary threat.

A Notice of Non-Compliance is issued when the phytosanitary import requirements which were not complied with where the responsibility of the exporter, not the importer (e.g. treating commodity at origin, receiving Phytosanitary Certificate, etc.).

Notifications are sent to the official contact point in the exporting country NPPO by Plant Health National Managers, based on information received from NISC or Plant Health inspectors. Therefore, it is crucial that information regarding a situation in question is communicated quickly to the relevant National Manager(s). The type of information required by a National Manager for a Notice of Non-Compliance can be found in Appendix 1 of D-01-06, Operations staff is responsible for communicating information to the importer (and/or person responsible for the consignment) regarding a Notice of Non-Compliance.

5.12.2 Notice of Detention

  • When an inspector believes on reasonable grounds that a violation or an offence under the Act has been committed, he/she may seize and detain any 'thing' in relation to which he/she believes, on reasonable grounds, the violation or offence was committed or which will afford evidence in respect to a violation or an offence, and issue a Notice of Detention. Seizures and detentions may be employed as an enforcement tool.

A Notice of Detention may be issued when a person fails to comply with a notice under Sections 6, 8, 24, 30 or 36 of the Plant Protection Regulations, which is an offence under the Plant Protection Act.

  • Examples of violations or offences could include, but are not limited to:
  • the required documents (e.g. a Phytosanitary Certificate or a Permit to Import) are not available,
  • a document issued under the Act being used for purposes other than for the purpose for which the document was issued (Section 8 of the Plant Protection Regulations),and,
  • an importer has in their possession documents referred to in the Act (or any regulation) that are false or have been improperly obtained (Subsection 9(1) of the Plant Protection Regulations)

Notices of Detention may be issued as a result of a visual inspection, information provided from regulatory officials in another country, or the identification of a new pest in an originating country. When issued, a Detention Tag must be affixed in a conspicuous place on the thing being seized and detained, or on its container (Note:A building is not subject to a Notice of Detention).

Importer education is preferable to issuing a Notice of Detention if the violation or the offence was a result of ignorance and there is no risk of pest introduction. In such a case, the issuance of a warning letter and a simple agreement between the inspector and the importer to treat, destroy or to send the consignment back to the exporter should be sufficient.

5.12.3 Notice of Release from Detention

A Notice of Release from Detention shall be issued when:

  • An inspector has determined that the thing conforms to the requirements of the Plant Protection Act and Regulations; or
  • After the expiration of 180 days from the day of the detention, except in particular situations cited in Subsection 26(2) of the Regulations (e.g. identification of a pest takes longer than 180 days, fraud is suspected or has occurred, a product of biotechnology must be tested, analyzed or identified).

The Notice of Release from Detention is issued to the same person or persons named in the Notice of Detention. If it is determined that the thing must be disposed of, and the inspector requires the owner or the person having the possession, care or control of the consignment to dispose of it. There is no form to be filled out. However, an inspector shall personally deliver or sent to the person or persons named in the Notice of Detention:

  • a notice referencing Section 30 of the Plant Protection Act, or
  • an amended Notice of Detention. Information found under the heading "Action to be taken to obtain release from detention" may be crossed out and replaced with "In accordance with Section 30 of the Plant Protection Act, the thing described herein must be disposed of". The amended notice may also specify the period within which or the manner in which the thing is to be disposed of.

Things may be detained when the foreign Phytosanitary Certificate has not been provided. Once a valid certificate has been presented, a Notice of Release from Detention is issued, provided the thing meets the other requirements of the Plant Protection Act and Regulations. However, if a Permit to Import is missing, a Notice of Release from Detention cannot be issued and the consignment must be refused entry, returned to origin, or destroyed at the importer's expense.

5.12.4 Notice of Quarantine

The purpose of quarantine is to confine a pest or a potential pest and to prevent its spread.

A Notice of Quarantine may be issued when an inspector has reasonable grounds to believe that:

  • a thing is a pest; or
  • a period of time is required to determine if a thing
    • is a pest,
    • is or could be infested with a pest, or
    • constitutes or could constitute a biological obstacle to the control of a pest.

A Notice of Quarantine may be used when there is some doubt as to the nature of the pest. Conditions related to the quarantine can be set. It is not necessary to specify the date at which the material will be released on the Notice of Quarantine. Rather, a statement such as "until a notice of release is issued" on the Notice of Quarantine is acceptable. In addition to the date when the Notice of Quarantine is issued, it is also advisable to include the time.

The Notice of Quarantine shall be sent or personally delivered to the owner or person having the possession, care or control of the thing, unless it is specified in the Permit to Import that the thing is to be quarantined. A quarantine tag may be affixed in a conspicuous place on the thing being quarantined or its container. 

5.12.5 Notice of Release from Quarantine

A Notice of Release from Quarantine shall be issued when an inspector has determined that:

  • A thing is not a pest, is not or could not be infested with a pest or does not or could not constitute a biological obstacle to the control of a pest; or
  • The pest has been eradicated from the thing; or
  • The thing no longer constitutes a biological obstacle to the control of a pest.

The Notice of Release from Quarantine is issued to the same person or persons named in the Notice of Quarantine.

5.12.6 Notice of Prohibition of Movement

Prohibition of movement relates to things such as commodities, containers and trucks at a certain location or in a certain area.

A Notice of Prohibition of Movement may be issued when:

  • There are reasonable grounds to believe that a thing is a pest, is or could be infested with a pest or constitutes or could constitute a biological obstacle to the control of a pest
  • An inspector wants to prohibit the movement of the thing from a specific location

Subsequent movement may be authorized by means of a Movement Certificate issued under Section 45 of the Plant Protection Regulations. Note that places are not subject to Notices of Prohibition of Movement.

5.12.7 Movement Certificate (Permission to Move)

A Movement Certificate may be issued when it is necessary to allow movement following the issuance of a Notice of Prohibition of Movement, Declaration of Infested Place Notice or Notice to Dispose.

For example, if it is determined that a consignment cannot be brought into compliance and released in Canada, the owner or person having the possession, care or control of the thing may decide to have the commodity destroyed. A Movement Certificate would be required to allow the consignment to be transported to the disposal facility.

5.12.8 Notice of Prohibition or Restriction of an Activity

A Notice of Prohibition or Restriction of an Activity may be issued when:

  • An inspector believes on reasonable grounds that a thing is a pest, is or could be infested with a pest or constitutes or could constitute a biological obstacle to the control of a pest, and
  • An inspector wants to prohibit or restrict any one of the activitiesFootnote 5 named as such in Section 2 of the Plant Protection Regulations.

The purpose of the notice is for detecting, eradicating or preventing the spread of a pest or a biological obstacle to the control of a pest. This form should not be used to prohibit or restrict the movement of things rather the Notice of Prohibition of Movement should be used.

5.12.9 Notice to Dispose

A Notice to Dispose may be issued when:

  • An inspector believes on reasonable grounds that a thing is a pest, is or could be infested with a pest or constitutes or could constitute a biological obstacle to the control of a pest; and
  • An inspector requires the owner or the person having possession, care or control of the thing to dispose of it (e.g. destroy it).

This may occur, for example, where a consignment cannot be brought into compliance for release into Canada and the owner or person having the possession, care or control of the thing prefers to destroy it rather than to remove it from Canada. The notice shall specify the manner of disposition and may specify the place of disposition and the date by which the disposition shall be completed. The importer is responsible for the costs associated with the disposal and may be consulted as to the type of disposal preferred, if there is more than one acceptable option. The inspector may also require the treatment of any place or thing in or on which the thing to be disposed of was placed, contained, stored, detained or quarantined.

The Notice to Dispose also advises the person that they may not move the material in question unless authorized by a Movement Certificate (see Section 5.12.7). The inspector should accompany the consignment to the disposal site or, if this is not possible, require documentation from the disposal facility to verify that disposal of the consignment has taken place.

5.12.10 Notice of Requirement to Treat or Process

A Notice of Requirement to Treat or Process may be issued when:

  • An inspector believes on reasonable grounds that a thing is a pest, is or could be infested with a pest or constitutes or could constitute a biological obstacle to the control of a pest; and
  • An inspector decides that in order to eradicate or prevent the spread of a pest or biological obstacle to the control of a pest, that a thing or place shall be treated or processed.

This may be used, for example, where a consignment is infested with a regulated pest and there is a treatment available to eradicate that pest. The inspector may determine the treatment (e.g. fumigation) or process (e.g. kiln drying) and the manner at which it is applied (e.g. concentration, time duration, etc.). Details regarding available treatments for different commodities can be found in the Plant Health Treatment manual (under development).

5.12.11 Notice of Removal from Canada and/or Notice of Confiscation and Action to be Taken

A Notice Pursuant to the Plant Protection Act (Notice of Removal from Canada and/or Notice of Confiscation and Action to be Taken) may be issued, pursuant to Section 8 or 35 of the Plant Protection Act, when an inspector wants to:

  • Require the removal of a thing from Canada, or
  • Confiscate a thing. Removal

The inspector may require the removal of a thing, whether or not it has been seized.

An inspector may require the removal of a thing when either:

  • a thing has been imported in contravention of the Act or Regulations; or
  • a thing is a pest, is or could be infested with a pest or constitutes or could constitute a biological obstacle to the control of a pest.

It may be used both where persons have not met their obligations under the law and in situations where natural infestations have occurred. The place to which the consignment must be removed is not specified but it must be beyond Canadian waters and airspace. When issuing this form, it is advisable to also issue a Notice of Detention (where there is reasonable grounds to believe that a violation or an offence under the Act has been committed) or a Notice of Prohibition of Movement (where a thing has been found to be infested) to prevent movement within Canada prior to removal. Disposal costs can be high so it is preferable to avoid confiscation of goods if possible. Confiscation

An inspector may confiscate a thing when he/she has reasonable grounds to believe that a thing has been imported into Canada:

  • is a pest,
  • is or could be infested with a pest or constitutes, or
  • could constitute a biological obstacle to the control of a pest.

5.12.12 Declaration of Infested Place Notice

A Declaration of Infested Place Notice may be issued when a place (building, area, or conveyance) is infested with a pest that has the potential to spread to a non-infested area, and an inspector must take immediate action to prohibit or restrict the movement of persons and/or things into or out of the infested place. A Movement Certificate may be used to control movement of things into or out of the place. In terms of import inspection activities this may occur, for example, if an inspector finds in the course of his or her activities, that a warehouse that used to store imported goods prior to distribution is infested with a quarantine pest.

5.12.13 Report to the Minister

Once an inspector has issued a Declaration of Infested Place Notice, they are obligated to send a Report to the Minister as soon as practical after the notice has been issued.

Appendix 1: Biological and Environmental Considerations

Some of the biological and environmental considerations to be taken into account when making daily decisions on where to focus import inspection resources are listed in the following table:
Consideration Variable Discussion

Level of knowledge regarding the consignment

Known pest of concern

  • Establishment of import inspection frequencies should account for known pests of concern, particularly quarantine pests
  • Quarantine pests can be in association either with a commodity or a particular origin

Level of knowledge regarding the consignment

New plants, plant products or other things

New or unusual origins

New or unusual shippers/exporters

New or unusual

New programs (e.g. certification method, treatment)

  • Lack of knowledge leads to uncertainty regarding potential risks associated with a new commodity, exporter, importer, program or origin, etc.
  • Until adequate knowledge has been gathered, risk level associated with the commodity can be very high (critical) and frequency of inspection should also be high.
  • A trial shipment period for the importation of a new commodity may be established. Increased confidence established over time based on a history of compliance may allow resources to be redirected to other higher risk areas and the target inspection frequency to decrease.

Type of potential risk

Insect versus pathogen

  • Insects tend to be easier to detect and may spread rapidly compared to pathogens.
  • Pathogens are less readily apparent and much more difficult to eradicate if they become established.


Soil is considered to be a high risk pathway for movement of plant pests.

Some commodities have a higher potential for, or history of, soil contamination.

  • Soil is considered to be a high risk pathway for movement of plant pests.
  • Some commodities have a higher potential for, or history of, soil contamination.

Events occurring at the consignment's country of origin

Environmental events (e.g. a hurricane or a flood)

  • New or unusual pests may be blown or may drift into an area where they do not normally occur.
  • Pests may look for refuge in new places when their normal habitat is disrupted.
  • Producers may not be able to maintain normal levels of pest management when adverse environmental conditions occur.

Events occurring at the consignment's country of origin

Political events (e.g. political coup)

  • Producers may not be able to maintain normal levels of pest management during political upheavals.
  • Similarly, governments may not be able to maintain normal levels of oversight.

Events occurring at the consignment's country of origin

Biological events (e.g. pest outbreak)

  • Having a new pest outbreak may cause unusual resource demands and may obstruct or divert resources from normal plant health activities for both producers and regulators.

Characteristics of the imported product

Dried or fresh

  • The potential for pest infestation is normally higher on fresh material.

Characteristics of the imported product

With or without roots

  • Rooted material generally has a higher risk of contamination with soil.
  • Root systems, particularly fibrous roots, may be difficult to inspect thoroughly.

Characteristics of the imported product

Material that could be used for propagation even it that is not the intent (e.g. grain)

  • Some products have characteristics that allow them to be propagated, even though they are imported for non-propagative uses.
  • Examples include decorative material such as fruit or seeds, cut material that can be rooted, and vegetables like garlic and onion.

Characteristics of the imported product

Size of plant, including stage growth

  • Larger plants have a greater surface area exposed to pest infection and infestation.
  • Mature plants have been exposed to pest risk for a longer period of time compared to juvenile plants of the same type

Characteristics of the imported product

Dormant versus non-dormant

  • Pests will occur less frequently on dormant plant material but they will also be less evident.

End use of the product being imported

Plants for planting (propagative material)

  • Typically material for propagation will stay in the environment for an extended period of time compared to plant material that is destined for consumption or processing.
  • Plants destined for outdoor use are normally higher risk than those intended for indoor use.

End use of the product being imported

Plants destined for nurseries, including plants for grafting and mother plants

  • Plants for grafting on are generally destined for large scale commercial propagation in nurseries or greenhouses.
  • Associated pests can affect a large number of plant species. Subsequent wide distribution of these plants can result in further distribution of the pest.
  • Plants imported to a nursery or greenhouse are more likely to be subjected to horticultural management which will reduce their risk relative to plants moving directly to retail or the consumer.
  • Mother plants are a long term investment and pests may be present and distributed through future generations of plant material

End use of the product being imported

Plants destined for retails or direct sale to consumer

  • Plants moving directly to retail have less likelihood of affecting large quantities of plants for further distribution of a pest.  However, they are also less likely to be subjected to comprehensive cultural controls.
  • Plants moving directly to consumers tend to be low volume - if there is a pest introduction, it will be a point source rather than a broad infestation.
  • Consumers may import from non-traditional and unknown sources which can increase the risk of pest introduction.

End use of the product being imported

Products for consumption

  • Normally perishable products are not expected to remain intact for an extended period of time.
  • Risk will be lowest for commodities that are consumed soon after import.
  • Products (e.g. apples) that have been washed, brushed and waxed prior to being shipped are lower risk than unprepared products.
  • The household disposal of a commodity may provide a pathway for the introduction and spread of a pest (e.g. the risk is higher if the pest can spread via composted material).

End use of the product being imported


  • Repacking in itself does not change the characteristics of a pest but this activity can provide an opportunity for pests to escape.
  • There is increased risk when repacking facilities are co-located with production facilities

End use of the product being imported


  • Processing for direct consumption (e.g. cooking, peeling, chopping, removal of wrapper leaves, etc.) usually reduces the pest risk associated with the processed product.
  • Risks may be associated with disposal of processing waste - materials unfit for processing may be an indication of pest contamination and their disposal may provide a pathway for the introduction and spread of a pest.
  • Length of time a raw product is held is a concern when pest host material is located in proximity to the processor.

End use of the product being imported


  • Risk is related to the nature of the material for decoration, including:
  • capability of harbouring pests
  • how long it is expected to be used prior to disposal
  • the time of year it will be used, and
  • whether or not normal household disposal will manage the anticipated pest risk.


Relationship between the growing season where the product is being produced and the growing season in Canada

  • Considerations include the time of year where the product is being produced in country of production (i.e., its growing season), whether or not the product has been in storage for a prolonged period of time and whether or pests of concern would be able to survive in Canada during the time of year the product will be present.
  • The following discussion points use fresh fruit as an example (similar arguments may be made with plants for planting):
  • For fruit that can be stored (e.g. apples): If it is spring in Canada, fruit arriving from the southern hemisphere would pose a much higher risk than a northern hemisphere product that has likely been in cold storage since the previous fall, which will reduce pest viability. The opposite would be true in August in that northern hemisphere fruit is likely moving from the orchard directly to market in Canada, while southern hemisphere fruit has likely been in cold storage.
  • For fruit that cannot be stored for an extended period of time (e.g. cherries or peaches): Fruit arriving early in the growing season is likely moving directly from orchard to market in Canada with no cold storage period that would result in a reduction in pest viability.
  • Pests arriving on imported fruit during the winter in eastern Canada would normally have a lower risk of establishing than those landing on the west coast where the climate is milder.

Ecological zones

Canada has a number of distinct ecological zones with the majority being classified as boreal or temperate

  • Ecological zones can support the same types of organisms no matter where they are located on the planet. Pests arriving in Canada that originate in the same ecological zone will have a greater capacity to adapt.

Shipping and storage conditions

Phytosanitary treatment

  • Treatments are designed to control specific quarantine pests, and therefore mitigating the associated risk of the commodity

Length of storage period following harvest

  • If in extended cold storage, a natural drop in insect pest pressure could be expected.


  • Cold temperatures during storage and shipping can reduce the incidence/ viability of some insect pests.

Potential for cross-contamination

  • During shipping and storage, commodities may come in contact with other commodities that present a cross-contamination risk. The combination of adjacent things should be considered.

Appendix 2: List of Regulatory Forms and Relevant Legislative Basis

The following table provides a list of the regulatory forms and their relevant legislative basis:
Name of Form Form Number Legislative Basis Pursuant to the Plant Protection Act (PPA) and Plant Protection Regulations (PPR)

Notice of Detention

CFIA/ACIA 3256 (2004/05)

Section 27 (PPA)
Subsection 24(1) (PPR)

Notice of Release from Detention

CFIA/ACIA 3257 (2001/07)

Section 32 (PPA)
Section 26 (PPR)

Notice of Quarantine

CFIA/ACIA 0106 (2003/04)

Section 11 (PPR)
Section 12 (PPR)

Notice of Release from Quarantine

CFIA/ACIA 0109 (2004/01)

Section 15 (PPR)

Notice of Prohibition of Movement

CFIA/ACIA 0113 (2001/05)

Subsection 6(2) (PPA)
Subsection 6 (3) (PPA)

Movement Certificate

CFIA/ACIA 0108 (2002/09)

Section 45 (PPR)

Notice of Prohibition or Restriction of an Activity

CFIA/ACIA 0110 (2006/08)

Section 21 (PPR)

Notice to Dispose

CFIA/ACIA 0107 (2004/07)

Section 27 (PPR)

Notice of Requirement to Treat or Process

CFIA/ACIA 0112 (2002/04)

Section 17 (PPR)

Notice Pursuant to the Plant Protection Act

CFIA/ACIA 4288 (2009/05)

Notice of Removal from Canada: Section 8 (PPA)
Notice of Confiscation: Section 35 (PPA)

Declaration of Infested Place Notice

CFIA/ACIA 0111 (2001/05)

Section 11 (PPA)
Subsection 13(1) (PPA)

Report to Minister

CIFA/ACIA 0119 (2009/06)

Subsection 15(1) (PPA)

Notice to Importer

CFIA/ACIA 1297 (2008/05)

Subsection 40(3) and (4) (PPR)

Appendix 3: Plant Health Import Inspection Checklist

The specifications that should be followed when import inspections are being carried out are listed in the following checklist:

1. Examination and verification of shipment documents

  • Required documents are present, complete, accurate and valid
  • Information complete
    • Scientific or common name of plant or plant product to be inspected
    • Product origin
    • Location of consignment
    • Size of consignment
    • Type of consignment (commercial or non-commercial)
    • Status of consignment (pre-cleared, end-use in Canada, return to Canada, etc.)
    • Destination indicated
    • End use indicated

2. Confirmation that inspection is required

  • AIRS and pertinent policy documents consulted
  • Notice to Importer issued, if required
  • Import logged into tracking system

3. Importer contacted

  • Location of consignment confirmed
  • Arrangements made for inspection

4. Inspection requirements reviewed

  • Appropriate documents, forms and tools collected

5. On-site inspection

  • Presence of CFIA at facility made known to the owner or person in charge of the facility
  • Assistance to conduct inspection requested, as necessary

6. Inspection area selected

  • Appropriate inspection area available (safe, sheltered, adequate work surface, clean, well lit)

7. Consignment identity, integrity and condition verified

  • Type of plant, plant product, species or variety match the phytosanitary certificate and import permit
  • Number or weight of containers or units of material match information on documents
  • Marks made on the packaging or directly affixed on the material match the documentation
  • Consignment confirmed to be in good general condition
  • Packaging and containers not opened prior to inspector arrival
  • Packaging is new, and free of soil and plant debris
  • Requirements specific to wood packaging are met, if appropriate
  • Requirements specific to soil, growing media and other packing materials are met, if appropriate

8. Select inspection units

  • Number of inspection units and method of sampling determined
  • Inspection units identified

9. Inspection completed

  • Inspection completed according to commodity specific instructions in Chapter 3

10. Samples taken for testing or identification

  • Sample submission requirements reviewed
  • Samples collected and shipped to appropriate lab

11. Inspection outcome determined and appropriate action taken

  • Consignment is released, detained, placed in quarantine, ordered removed from the country, etc., as appropriate
  • Any forms or tags required for follow-up action completed
  • Importer or their on-site representative is informed of the inspection results
  • Inspector's supervisor is informed if a non-compliance is suspected or confirmed

12. Management of inspection documents

  • Inspection Report Form (CFIA/ACIA 1337)
  • Tracking system updated
  • All documents related to the inspection are filed

Appendix 4: Cross Index of French and English Common Names and Scientific Names of Plants and Plant Products

The table below lists the French and English common names followed by the scientific name of plants and plant products:
Common Name English Common Name French Scientific Name

Abies (Balsam or True Fir)

Sapin (sapin baumier, sapin blanc)

Abies balsamea

Adzuki bean

Haricot adzuki

Vigna angularis

African Lily

Agapanthe ou tubéreuse bleue

Agapanthus africanns



Alnus spp.



Medicago sativa, M. falcata, M. media


Amandier (noix - amande)

Prunus amygdalus, P. communis





Pomme (arbre - pommier)

Malus spp.


Abricot (arbre - abricotier)

Prunus armeniaca

Aquatic plants

Plantes aquatiques ou palustres



Cynara scolymus



Helianthus tuberosus, H. torreyi



Asparagus officinalis



Astilbe spp.

Balsam fir

Sapin baumier

Abies balsamea

Bamboo products

Produits en bamboo


Épine-vinette, Berbéris

Berberis spp.

Bark and bark products

Écorce et produits d'écorce

Bark mulch and pine nuggets

Paillis d'écorce et copeaux de pin



Hordeum vulgare L.



Beta vulgaris L. (Crassa group)




Bell pepper

Poivron (France), Piment doux (Québec)

Capsicum annuum


Baies, petits fruits

Berry plants

Plantes à baies

Birdsfoot trefoil

Lotier urniculé

Lotus corniculatus

Bleeding Heart

Coeur saignant

Dicentra spp.


Bleuets, Airelles

Vaccinium spp.

Branches, stems and vines for decorative purposes (non-viable)

Branches, tiges et sarments pour usage ornemental (non-viable)

Brazil nut

Noix du Brésil

Bertholletia excelsa

Brazilian waterweed

Élodée dense

Egeria densa (syn. Anacharis densa)

Broccoli and spouting broccoli

Brocoli et brocoli germé

Brassica oleracea var. botrytis and B. oleracea var. italica

Brome grass, meadow brome

Brome inerme, brome des rivages

Bromus inermis, B. riparius


Sorgho à balais

Panicum miliaceum

Brussels sprouts

Choux de Bruxelle

Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera



Rhamnus spp.



Fagopyrum esculentum





Brassica oleracea

Cactus pears

Figues de Barbarie

Opuntia spp.

Calla Lily

Zantédesquie étiopienne

Zantedeschia aethiopica


Graines de canaris, alpiste de canaris

Phalaris canariensis

Canola, mustard

canola, moutarde

Cants (squared logs)

Bois de brin, bois carré, bille equarrie



Daucus spp.

Cashew nuts

Noix d'acajou

Anacardium accidentale



Brassica oleracea var. botrytis

Celery root (celeriac)


Apium graveolens var. rapaceum




Cerise (fruit), Cerisier (arbre)


Cherry laurel


Prunus laurocerasus


Châtaigne (fruit), Marron (France)



Pois chiche

Cicer arietinum




Chinese pear (duck pear)

Poires de Chine

Pyrus ussuriensis; P. pyrifolia

Chinkapin oak

Chêne jaune

Castanopsis or Quercus muehlenbergii



Allium schoenoprasum


Cerisier de Virginie

Prunus virginiana

Christmas trees

Arbres de Noël

Chrysanthemum (daisy)



Clover (white, red and alsike)

Trèfle (blanc, rouge, alsike ou hybride)

Trifolium repens, T. pratense, T. hybridum



Common filbert


Corylus avellana



Coniferous needles

Aiguilles de conifères





Zea mays

Corn Lily





Vaccinium spp.




Culture plant disease

Maladie de Culture végétale


Groseille, raisin de Corinthe











Decorative wood items

Pièces de bois décoratives

Douglas fir

Sapin de Douglas

Pseudotsuga menziesii

Dried cones without seed

Cônes secs sans graines

Durum wheat

Blé durum

Triticum durum

Earth moving equipment

Matériel de terrassement


Vers de terre



Solanum melongena




Fababeans, favabeans (includes broadbeans, horse-bean and windsor bean)

Féveroles (y compris fèves et fève des marais)

Vicia faba

Farm equipment

Matériel agricole

Feed for animals

Aliments du bétail



Festuca arundinacea, L. longifolia, L. ovina, L. rubra, L. sativum

Field, green and yellow peas

Pois des champ ou cultivé, petit pois ou pois vert et pois jaune

Pisum sativum

Fir (balsam, true fir)

Sapin (baumier, blanc)


Fir (Douglas)

Sapin (sapin de Douglas)

Pseudotsuga menziesii


Bois de chauffage




Flowering quince

Cognassier du Japon


Flowers (cut)

Fleurs (coupées)



Forest products

Produits forestiers

Fresh fruit

Fruits frais

Fritillaria, Fritillary, Checkered Lily



Garlic (cultivated)

Ail (cultivé)

Allium (sativum)

Garlic, shallot (flowering)

Ail, échalotte (en fleur)


Geological samples

Spécimens géologiques

Geranium and pelargonium

Géranium et pélargonium

Geranium and Pelargonium






Panax spp.




Glory of the Snow

Chionodo, chionodoxe

Chionodoxa spp.



Gloxinia spp.

Golden Larch

Mélèze doré

Pseudolarix amabilis






Grape Hyacinth





Vitis spp.

Grass sod

Gazon en plaques

Green onions

Oignons verts


Greenhouse plants

Plants de serre

Haw (fruit of hawthorn)

Cenelle (fruit d'aubépine)




Hay and straw (all types)

Foin et paille (tous les types)











Cannabis sativa


Fines herbes

Honey bees





Armoracia rusticana





Plantes d'intérieur







Iris, Flag



Japanese barberry

Épine - vinette de Thunberg

Berberis thunbergii

Job's tears, adlay millet

Coïz, larmes de Job

Coix lacryma-jobi




Kava root

Racine de kava

Piper methysticum

Kentucky blue grass

Pâturin des prés ou pâturin du Kentucky

Poa pratensis



Larix spp.

Leaf-cutting bees

Abeilles découpeuses de feuilles

Megachile spp.



Allium spp.





Lens culinaris






Lilium spp.

Lima bean

Fêve de Lima

Phaseolus lunatus

Logs, lumber

Billes, bois d'oeuvre



Lupinus spp.

Manufactured wood products (plywood, oriented stand board, etc.)

Produits du bois transformés (contreplaqué, panneaux de particules oientées ou de copeaux agglomérés, etc.)



Media, sterile

Milieu de culture, stérile


Astragale pois-chiche

Astragalus cicer

Moss (peat and sphagnum)

Mousse (tourbe et sphaigne)

Mung bean

Ambérique, haricot velu

Phaseolus aureus

Mushroom (spawn)

Champignons (blanc de)

Narcissus, Daffodil, Jonquil

Narcisse, jonquille


Navy, black, brown, pink, kidney

Haricot bleu, marin, noir, brun, rose, commun

Phaseolus vulgaris



Prunus persica

Niger seed

Grains de Nijer

Guizotia abyssinica

Non-manufactured wood products, logs and lumber

Produits du bois non manufacturés billots et bois de sciage ou bois débité

Nursery stock

Matériel de pépinière





Quercus spp.



Avena spp.


Graines oléagineuses



Allium cepa

Orchard grass

Dactyle pelotonné

Dactylis glomerata



Oxalis, Wood Sorrel


Oxalis spp.



Petroselinum crispum



Pastinaca sativa

Passion fruit

Fruit de la passion

Passiflora edulis



Prunus persica






Pyrus communis











Piper nigrum

Pepper, Hot pepper, Chili pepper

Piment ou piment fort

Capsium spp.


Kaki, Plaquemine

Diospyros spp.

Pet supplies

Articles pour animaux



Pinus spp.

Pine nut

Pignon or noix de pin



Prunus spp.


Maïs éclaté



Populus spp.


Pomme de terre, Patate (Québec)

Solanum tuberosum

Prickly Pears and Chollas

Opunce, Raquette

Opuntia spp.


Légumineuses à grain



Cydonia spp.



Raphanus sativus

Railway ties

Jonctions de chemin de fer



Rubus idaeus


Agrostis stolonifère

Agrostis stolonifera, A. gigantea, A. alba

Reed canary grass

Alpiste roseau

Phalaris arundinacea







Légumes racines, Culture racine




Rutabaga,Chou de Siam, Navet (Québec)

Brassica napus var. napobrassica



Secale cereale

Rye grass (annual and perennial)


Lolium multiflorum, L. perenne



Carthamus tinctorius



Onobrychis viciifolia

Sand pear (Century pear, Japanese pear), Nashi

Poire du Japon, Poire asiatique, Nashi

Pyrus pyrifolia

Sawn wood

bois débité ou scié





Allium cepa


Trèfle d'Irlande


Siberian Squill, Blue Squill



Snails (Live)

Escargots (vivants)


Gazon, gazon en plaque



Sorghum (Sudan grass)

Sorgho (herbe du Soudan)

Sorghum vulgare






Triticum spelta

Spices (for consumption)

Épices (pour la consommation)



Spinacia oleracea



Picea spp.



Sterile growing media

Milieu de culture stérile

Straw (all types)

Paille (tous types)



Fragaria spp.

Sudan grass

Herbe du Soudan

Sorghum bicolor ssp. drummondii

Sugar beet

Betterave a sucre ou sucrière

Beta vulgaris var. altissima

Swede turnip (see rutabaga)

Navet de Suède, Chou-navet (voir rutabaga)

Brassica napus var. napobrassica

Sweet Potato, Yam (USA)

Patate douce, Patate sucrée

Ipomoea batatas

Tanbark oak (tanoat)

Chêne à tan

Lithocarpus spp.



Eragostis tef

Telephone poles

Poteaux de téléphone


phléole des prés, mil

Phleum pratense

Tissue culture plants in agar media or liquid media

Culture de tissus de plants dans de la gélose ou dans un milieu liquide



Nicotiana tabacum

Tomato (garden)


Solanum lycopersicum



Helianthus tuberosus, H. torreyi

Tree and shrub leaves

Feuilles d'arbre et d'arbustes

Tree fruit stock

Stock de fruits de verger

Trees and shrubs

Arbres et arbustes



Triticosecale rimpaui

Tropical fruit (not otherwise listed)

Fruits tropicaux (pas énumérés ailleurs)

Tropical logs and lumber

Billots et bois d'oeuvre tropical





Tulipa spp.


Curcuma, Safran des Indes

Curcuma spp.



Brassica napus

Vegetable transplants (excluding Allium (onion), Capsicum (pepper), Lycopes (tomato), Solanum (eggplant)

Plants de légumes à repiquer excepté les espèces suivantes : Allium (oignon), Capsicum (Piment), Lycopersicon (Tomate), Solanum (aubergine)

Vetch (common)

Vesce commune

Vicia sativa


Noix de noyer

Inglans spp.

Water Chestnut

Châtaignes D'eau

Trapa spp.

Waterthyme (Florida elodea)

Hydrille verticillée

Hydrilla verticillata



Triticum spp.

Wheat (common)

Blé (commun)

Triticum aestivum



Agropyron spp.

Wild rice

Riz sauvage

Zizania aquatica, Zizania palustris



Salix spp.

Wood chips

Copeaux de bois

Wood flooring

Parquet ou plancher de bois

Wood materials for prefabricate homes

matériaux en bois pour maisons préfabriquées

Wood packaging material and dunnage

Bois d'emballage et bois d'arrimage

Wreaths and boughs

Guirlandes, couronnes

Yam (not sweet potato)


Dioscorea spp.

Yellow sweet clover

Mélilot jaune

Melilotus officinalis