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ABCs of seed importation into Canada

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

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Note: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has published this document in order to provide technical information solely with respect to the various requirements of the Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations. The reader should, therefore, consider this document in light of the relevant provisions of the Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations. Should there be any discrepancies between this document and the provisions of the Seeds Act and/or Seeds Regulations, the provisions of the latter shall prevail. Other legislation may apply to the importation of seed into Canada.

The reader is also encouraged to view this document in its entirety to ensure that all applicable requirements are identified.

Acronyms

AI
Authorized importer
AIRS
Automated Information Reference System
CBSA
Canada Border Services Agency
CFIA
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
CSGA
Canadian Seed Growers' Association
CVB
Conformity verification body
EDI
electronic data interchange
ICA
Import conformity assessment
IAA
Import admissibility application
NISC
National Import Service Centre
PNT
Plant with novel trait
RSE
Registered seed establishment
SAC
Seed analysis certificate
SW
Single Window

On this page

  1. Applicable legislation
  2. References and contact information
  3. Questions about importing seed into Canada
  4. Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations requirements
  5. Acceptable seed analysis certificate
  6. Lot designation
  7. Seed importation paper flow
  8. CFIA forms
  9. Seed import instruction notice
  10. Separate and intact
  11. Clearance decision
  12. Exemptions from import documentation requirements
  13. Unregistered varieties and plants with novel traits (PNT)
  14. Authorized importers
  15. Pre-clearance by authorized importers
  16. Purposes of importation
  17. Conditioning
  18. Research
  19. Own use (seeding by the importer)
  20. Sale
  21. Sale pursuant to subsection 5(4) of the Seeds Regulations
  22. Seed importation fee
  23. Labelling requirements for seed upon import
  24. Non-traditional seed items
  25. Seeds regulated under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
  26. False and misleading information
  27. Lot size and seed importation fees explanatory notes
  28. Approximate number of seeds per gram

A. Applicable legislation

A person importing seed into Canada must comply with Canada's Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations, and other applicable legislation.

This may include, but is not limited to:

Additionally, municipalities, provinces and territories may have legislation relating to weedy plants (for example Weed Control Acts). Importers should review the weed legislation of the province into which they are importing.

Seeds that are pre-treated with pesticides are considered pest control products under the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) and are illegal to import unless both the a) active ingredient and b) seed treatment product are registered in Canada for the purpose of treating the seed.

Because of this, all importers (authorized and non-authorized) of pesticide-treated seeds must provide an import declaration that contains:

  • the name of the pest control product
  • the name of the active ingredient and
  • the amount of seed being imported

This declaration can be provided in the Goods Description field of the "eManifest" system used by the Canada Border Services Agency if the importer does not have access to the Integrated Import Declaration / Single Window (IID/SW) system. The importer is also responsible for ensuring that all imported pesticide-treated seed is labelled properly, whether it be bagged or in bulk shipments, and that the imported seed is only treated with the pesticides included in the declaration.

If an importer has questions about their obligations under the PCPA, they can contact PMRA's Pest Management Information Service or their local Regional Pesticide Officer.

The requirements in this document only pertain to seed for propagation purposes. Seeds being imported for human consumption, feed and/or food products are not subject to the requirements of the Seeds Act and regulations.

The term "seed" is defined under the Seeds Act as "any plant part of any species belonging to the plant kingdom, represented, sold or used to grow a plant".

It is the importer's responsibility to provide the information required for seed importation outlined in section D and section E and to ensure that seed imported into Canada is in compliance with the applicable legislation.

B. References and contact information

See the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) for the import requirements of the Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations and of the Plant Protection Act and regulations.

If a Plant Health Import Permit (CFIA/ACIA 5256) is required, apply for a permit using the CFIA/ACIA 5256 Form and submit your application to the Import Permit Office (permission@inspection.gc.ca).

For information related to the importation of non-indigenous plant taxa, either not present in Canada or not yet widely distributed in Canada, contact the CFIA's Invasive Plant Section (CFIA-IAS_ACIA-EEE@inspection.gc.ca).

Seed contaminated with soil, pests and/or weeds will be refused entry into Canada. Contact the Horticulture Section (cfia.horticulture.acia@inspection.gc.ca) for more information regarding soil contaminants.

Any questions regarding the requirements for the importation of Plants with Novel Traits into Canada should be directed to the Plant Biosafety Office (PBO@inspection.gc.ca).

C. Questions about importing seed into Canada

  • 1) Inquiries regarding the requirements (end use, exemptions, seed size, required testing, etc.), for seed importation can be directed to the local CFIA office nearest to the point of import.
  • 2) Inquiries regarding AIRS requirements, harmonized system (HS) codes, required forms and the clearance of seed imports at the border as well as invoicing can be directed to the National Import Service Centre. They can also assist with filling out the required import documentation.
  • 3) Inquiries regarding the Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations with respect to the importation of seed into Canada can be directed by sending an email to the Seed Section at SeedSemence@inspection.gc.ca.
  • 4) Inquiries regarding your My CFIA account can be answered by calling 1-800-442-2342.
  • 5) Other Seed Import Contacts can be found on the CFIA website.

D. Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations requirements

The Seeds Regulations prescribe specific document requirements in order to import seed into Canada. This is necessary in order to verify that seed imported into Canada is free of prohibited noxious weeds and meets the minimum standards for purity and germination for the seed in question.

In order to import seed, the importer must provide a signed statement/declaration including the following:

  • the name of the species or crop kind being imported (importers are strongly encouraged to provide both the common name and the scientific name of the species or crop kind being imported)
  • the weight of seed being imported
  • the lot designation of the seed (section F)
  • the name and address of the exporter
  • the name, address and telephone number of the importer
  • for crop kinds requiring variety registration, the name of the variety (refer to the Seeds Regulations Schedule III)Footnote 1
  • the country in which the seed was produced and
  • the intended purpose of the imported seed (section P)

Refer to the CFIA forms in section H which were developed to facilitate the submission of import information.

The importer must also provide an acceptable certificate of analysis (section E) in order to ascertain freedom from prohibited noxious weed seeds, minimum purity standards and acceptable germination percentages.

Refer to section L for possible exemptions from these requirements.

E. Acceptable seed analysis certificate

Acceptable seed analysis certificates (SACs) may be obtained from:

These SACs must provide sufficient information on purity and germination to verify that the seed lot meets the minimum standards for importation. For questions on the minimum standards for the seed being imported, refer to your local CFIA office. The SAC must also demonstrate that the seed lot was tested to Canadian standards and that no prohibited noxious weed seeds were found.

The lot designations on the SACs must correspond to the lot designations of the seed being imported. Refer to section F.

F. Lot designation

The lot number or unique identifier is important for linking the information on various import documents. It must appear on the seed analysis certificate (SAC) and the import declaration accompanying the shipment. It is not sufficient for there to be a lot designation appearing only on the SAC, with no corresponding lot designation on the import declaration.

There is currently no clear space on the Import Declaration Form (CFIA/ACIA 4560) for the provision of this information. Enter this information into the box called "Additional Documentation and Other References" of the form.

G. Seed importation paper flow

Note that this is a general description of the recommended paper flow when importing seed into Canada. This process may vary depending on the specific import.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) assigns each shipment a transaction number. The transaction number is a unique 14-digit number. This number is used to identify shipments at various times throughout the customs process. The CBSA assigns these numbers individually to shipments, or in bulk to brokers who can then assign them to shipments. Generally, a shipment has a transaction number prior to it arriving at the border.

The Import Declaration (CFIA/ACIA 4560), the Request for Documentation Review (CFIA/ACIA 5272) and the seed analysis certificate (SAC) are then submitted to the National Import Service Centre (NISC) through the import admissibility application (IAA) or by email or fax if required. The NISC confirms that all necessary documents and required information are present. The documentation is then forwarded back to the importer, as well as to the CFIA's seed Import Conformity Assessment (ICA) office. The NISC may also notify the local CFIA office of the import's destination.

In order to facilitate rapid processing of imports, importers are encouraged to submit all appropriate import documentation to the NISC well in advance of the seed being imported into Canada. Refer to the CFIA forms in section H.

The authorized importer import process is described in section N.

For an overview of the flow of paperwork for seed import refer to Overview of Seed Importation into Canada.

H. CFIA forms

It is strongly recommended that import information be entered onto the Import Declaration Form (CFIA/ACIA 4560). The importer must sign the declaration form and send it to the National Import Service Centre (NISC).

The National Import Service Centre and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) also require the use of a Request for Documentation Review form (CFIA/ACIA 5272) for email or fax transactions only.

I. Seed import instruction notice

At the time of importation, the importer presents all import documentation (seed analysis certificate, import declaration and Request for Documentation Review as required) to the CBSA (at the border, airport, port, et cetera). If all documents are present, the seed can then be shipped to the destination pending the clearance decision. When seed is authorized for importation into Canada by the National Import Service Centre (NISC), the NISC will send a Seed Import Instruction Notice reminding the importer that seed must be kept separate and intact (section J) until a notice of import conformity is granted by the CFIA's seed Import Conformity Assessment (ICA) office. Only when a notice of import conformity is issued for the seed import does it become available for use in Canada. The notice also reminds the importer of the information and documents required to obtain the notice of import conformity.

J. Separate and intact

Until such time as a notice of import conformity is issued by the CFIA's seed Import Conformity Assessment (ICA) office indicating that the seed meets the requirements of the Seeds Regulations, the importer is required to keep the seed separate from all other seed and intact in its packaging. Only when a notice of import conformity is issued for the seed import does it become available for use in Canada. Failure to do so is in violation of the Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations and may result in action leading up to prosecution.

K. Clearance decision

Upon submission of the required documentation, the National Import Service Centre (NISC) will allow the seed to enter Canada pending a notice of import conformity. When seed is released to destination, the NISC forwards the import documentation to the CFIA's seed Import Conformity Assessment (ICA) office for review to determine if the imported seed meets the Canadian requirements including purity and germination. The CFIA's ICA office will communicate with the importer directly.

The CFIA's ICA office reviews all import documentation. Once it has been confirmed that the shipment meets the minimum standards under the Seeds Regulations, a notice of import conformity is then issued. It is only at this point that the seed is permitted to be repackaged, sold or planted.

L. Exemptions from import documentation requirements

The following are exemptions from the requirements outlined in section D and section E:

Note: These are only exemptions from import documentation and not from the requirements of the Seeds Act and regulations. The importer is responsible for ensuring that all requirements are met regardless of exemptions, including freedom from prohibited noxious weed seeds.

  1. Where the imported seed lot is 5 kg or less for large seeded crop kinds (such as peas, wheat, soybeans and corn) or is 500 g or less for small seeded crop kinds (such as alfalfa, tomato or canola), neither the import declaration information nor the seed analysis certificate need be supplied. Refer to section AA for clarification of importations with multiple small seed lots.
    • In order to determine whether the species is "large seeded" or "small seeded", refer to section AB. Species with 200 seeds or fewer per gram are considered large seeded. Species with more than 200 seeds per gram are considered small seeded.
  2. Where the seed is being imported for conditioning (section Q) or for research purposes (section R), the seed analysis certificates do not need to include information on the percent germination.
  3. Seed analysis certificates and import declarations are not required for lots of herb seed that are 5 kg or less, or for flower seed, tree or shrub seed, true potato seed, ginseng, seeds of aquatic plants or onion/garlic multiplier sets. Note: This exemption does not apply to wildflower mixtures or flower mixtures. Importations of seed lots of wildflower mixtures or flower mixtures that are greater than 500 g require an import declaration and a seed analysis certificate. Refer to section AA for an explanatory note regarding lot sizes.
  4. For non-pedigreed seed of forage species, the name of the variety need not be supplied on the import declaration. However, if a variety name appears on any documents accompanying an imported seed lot of a crop kind subject to variety registration, suggesting that the seed is of a variety not registered in Canada, that seed cannot be imported into Canada for sale.

M. Unregistered varieties and plants with novel traits (PNT)

Varieties of most agricultural crop kinds must be registered under Part III of the Seeds Regulations in order to be imported into or sold in Canada. There are specific exemptions to this requirement set out in section 41 of the Seeds Regulations.

Unregistered varieties may be imported into Canada for:

However, unregistered varieties of wheat may only be imported into the former Canadian Wheat Board Area (as defined in subsection 2(2) of the Seeds Regulations) for:

In order to determine if the species you are importing is subject to variety registration, refer to Schedule III of the Seeds Regulations. In order to determine if the specific variety you are importing is registered, refer to Variety Registration.

When importing seed of unregistered varieties, importers should be aware that they may be subject to additional regulatory requirements under Part V of the Seeds Regulations if the seed is derived from a plant with a novel trait (PNT).

Plants with novel traits (PNTs) are plants that contain a trait that is:

  • a new trait not present in stable, cultivated populations of the plant species in Canada or
  • a trait in the plant species which is present at a level significantly outside the range of that trait in stable, cultivated populations of that plant species in Canada

Additional regulatory requirements are required for any imported seed or viable plant parts derived from PNTs. This includes fruit, tubers, seed and grains. PNT import requirements are outlined in Directive D-96-13 "Import Requirements for Plants with Novel Traits, including Transgenic Plants and their Viable Plant Parts".

There are 2 exceptions where seed or viable plant parts derived from PNT do not require additional regulatory requirements.

1. PNTs authorized for unconfined release in Canada under Part V of the Seeds Regulations

2. Plants derived from those PNTs authorized for unconfined release

  • Plants that are further developed from, and are considered substantially equivalent to, an authorized PNT are also exempt from PNT-specific import requirements provided that the intended use is similar, the plants do not contain any additional novel traits, and have not been subject to interspecific breeding

In either exception, Plant Protection Act requirements may still apply.

N. Authorized importers

Registered seed establishments (RSEs) that have been registered as authorized importers (AI) upon the recommendation of the conformity verification body need only provide the following at the time of importation:

They are required to inform their local CFIA office within 30 days of the importation and provide the local office nearest the point of import the information required by subsection 40(3) of the Seeds Regulations (section D).

If the AI number is valid and the seed is being shipped to the authorized importer's address, the seed is cleared by NISC and allowed to move to destination. AIs are required to retain a copy of the notice of import conformity and supporting documentation for 1 year after the final disposition of the seed in the case of non-pedigreed and Certified seed and for two years after the final disposition of the seed in the case of Foundation and Registered status seed. If the seed does not meet import requirements, the AI must communicate with the local CFIA office to arrange for appropriate corrective action or disposal. For more information on the notification and documentation requirements for AI's see the CFIA website.

O. Pre-clearance

Pre-cleared seed has already been determined to have met import requirements of the Seeds Act and regulations and therefore does not need to be kept separate and intact in the original packages. Pre-cleared seed can be immediately planted, repackaged or sold provided all requirements of the Seeds Regulations have been satisfied.

Authorized importers (AI) shipping to a non-AI location

If an AI is shipping to an address other than their registered location, the following must be provided at the time of import:

  • their AI number
  • the Request for Documentation Review Form (CFIA/ACIA 5272) for email or fax transactions only and
  • the notice of import conformity (for non-exempt shipments) containing the following information:
    • the name of the species or crop kind being imported
    • the lot designation of the seed (section F)
    • the weight of seed being imported
    • for crop kinds requiring variety registration, the name of the variety (refer to the Seeds Regulations Schedule III)
    • the name and address of destination
    • the name and address of exporter
    • the country in which the seed was produced
    • the intended purpose of seed import and
    • a declaration by the SIRA stating that the "information provided in this form has been reviewed and I have determined the seed to be in compliance and meeting the minimum import requirements of the Seeds Act and the Seeds Regulations"

This information must accompany the shipment at the time of importation and a copy provided to the local CFIA office nearest to the destination of the seed. Additionally, where a sale is deemed to have occurred then the seed must be correctly labelled prior to import. This would include proper grading and application of official tags/labels as per requirements of sections 13, 15 to 19, 21, 23 to 31, and 34. See the CFIA website for more information on importing seed by authorized importers to other locations.

Authorized importers (AI) pre-clearing Non-AI Importers

Authorized importers (AI) may issue import pre-clearance decisions for non-authorized importers prior to the importation of the seed. The AI must notify the local CFIA office nearest to the destination of the seed prior to the importation. The non-authorized importer must supply the information required in section D and section E to the AI in advance of the importation. The importer must supply the following at the time of import:

  • the Request for Documentation Review Form (CFIA/ACIA 5272) for email or fax transactions only
  • the notice of import conformity (for non-exempt shipments) containing the following information:
    • the name of the species or crop kind being imported
    • the lot designation of the seed (section F)
    • the weight of seed being imported
    • for crop kinds requiring variety registration, the name of the variety (refer to the Seeds Regulations Schedule III)
    • the name and address of destination
    • the name and address of exporter
    • the country in which the seed was produced
    • the intended purpose of seed import and
    • a declaration by the SIRA stating that the "information provided in this form has been reviewed and I have determined the seed to be in compliance and meeting the minimum import requirements of the Seeds Act and the Seeds Regulations"
  • Seed Analysis Certificate (section E) and
  • Import declaration (section H)

Not all authorized importers choose to supply this service to the public. For more information on pre-clearance procedures by authorized importers see the CFIA website for more details.

Pre-clearance by CFIA

The CFIA encourages importers to pre-clear their seed importation prior to it entering the country. The CFIA can complete the ICA process and issue the notice of import conformity in advance. When the shipment arrives at the border, the associated documentation will be verified and it will no longer necessary to keep the seed separate and intact. Pre-cleared seed can be immediately planted, or sold provided all requirements of the Seeds Regulations have been satisfied. In order to do so, the importer must submit the information required in section D and section E to the CFIA ICA office prior to the importation of the seed.

The importer must supply the following at the time of import:

For more information on pre-clearance procedures by the CFIA see the CFIA website for more details.

P. Purposes of importation

When completing the import declaration, the importer must declare the purpose of the importation. Under the Seeds Regulations, there are five purposes of importation:

Q. Conditioning

The term "conditioning" means to prepare by cleaning, processing, packing, treating or changing in any other manner the nature of a seed lot. Seed imported for conditioning is exempt from most standards under the Seeds Act and regulations. However, the importer must provide an acceptable seed analysis certificate at the time of importation to show the lot is free of any prohibited noxious weed seeds. Prior to conditioning, this lot is to be cleared even though it does not meet a minimum grade standard, on the basis of the conditioning exemption. If imported seed will be further cleaned after arrival in Canada, contact the Import Permit Office.

R. Research

The following are examples of what is considered research for the purposes of the Seeds Regulations only and should not be used to interpret any other regulations.

  • variety registration trials conducted for the purposes of generating data to be reviewed by a committee that is recognized by the Minister as a variety registration recommending committee and
  • scientific evaluation, such as adaptation trials and/or pest control trials, conducted by a recognized university, provincial or federal department of agriculture or by a plant breeder recognized by the Canadian Seed Growers' Association (CSGA) or
  • confined research field trials conducted under the authority of the Part V of the Seeds Regulations

Note that where imported seed is to be crushed and analyzed for chemical purposes, there are no requirements under the Seeds Regulations as the seed is not being imported for propagation. Similarly, where seed is being imported for purity and germination analysis and not for further propagation, the seed is exempt from the requirements of the Seeds Regulations.

Additionally, be aware that there may be additional requirements under other regulations for seed of this kind, for example a plant health import permit as required under the Plant Protection Regulations. Refer to section A for a list of additionally applicable legislation.

S. Own use (seeding by the importer)

Own use (seeding by the importer) is defined as the planting of seed on one's own land or on land rented by the owner of the seed.

T. Sale

Sale is defined by the Seeds Act as including: agree to sell, or offer, keep, expose, transmit, send, convey or deliver for sale, or agree to exchange or to dispose of to any person in any manner for a consideration.

U. Sale pursuant to subsection 5(4) of the Seeds Regulations

Sale pursuant to subsection 5(4) of the Seeds Regulations is defined as seed of pedigreed status that is an unregistered variety of a crop kind in Schedule III and is labelled in accordance with section 35 of the Seeds Regulations that will be sold or advertised for

  • the production of pedigreed seed; or
  • for the production of a crop for evaluation of its suitability for processing, if the variety is entered into variety registration trials

Seed imported for sale pursuant to subsection 5(4) is exempt from variety registration. Unregistered varieties undergoing variety registration trials may be multiplied in anticipation of sale at the time of variety registration. In this case, the seed production must be held separately and not sold except for the production of more pedigreed seed in anticipation of variety registration.

V. Seed importation fees

For the purposes of calculating fees:

"small shipment" means an imported seed shipment that weighs less than

  • 5 kg, in the case of large seeded crop kinds and
  • 500 g, in the case of small seeded crop kinds

There are no fees for the small shipments described above. For all other shipments by non-authorized importers, the fees are according to the CFIA Fees Notice.

Authorized importers (AI) pay an annual authorization fee and are exempt from fees for individual shipments. Also refer to section AA for further explanatory notes regarding seed importation fees and lot/shipment sizes.

W. Labelling requirements for seed upon import

Seed is exempt from most of the labelling requirements of the Seeds Regulations at the time of import pursuant to subsection 22(2). However, this exemption is not absolute; the seed must still be labelled with the following prescribed information at the time of import:

1. Seed that has been treated with a pest control product

Where seed has been treated with a pest control product, it must be stained with a conspicuous colour. The seed package must also be marked with the precautionary symbol and signal word prescribed by the Pest Control Products Regulations to indicate the nature and degree of risk inherent to the pest control product along with 1 of the following statements:

  • "Do not use for food or feed. This seed has been treated with (common or chemical name of pest control product)" or
  • "Ne pas utiliser pour l'alimentation des personnes ou des animaux. Cette semence a été traitée avec (nom commun ou chimique du produit antiparasitaire)"

Note that there are additional requirements under the Pest Control Products Act when importing seed that has been treated with a pest control product.

2. Label contains a claim that the seed is suitable for shady places

With regards to seed mixtures falling into Table XIV, where seed is described on the label as being suitable for shady places, it must contain no less than forty percent (40%) by weight, of Chewing's fescue, creeping red fescue, or rough bluegrass seed.

Note that the seed must meet the labelling requirements set out in the Seeds Regulations prior to being sold.

X. Non-traditional seed items

The Seeds Act and regulations apply to the following:

  • seed mixed with or attached to any fertilizer, soil, compost, peat, moss, mica, plastic, paper, cellulose or other material including artificial seeds (for example seed attached to paper gift cards that directs the purchaser that the packaging/card may be planted to grow plants, seed/fertilizer mixtures, seed coated with polymers, seed tapes, seed mats and lawn patch mixtures)
  • seed designed to be grown in pots for grazing by domestic house pets (for example catgrass)
  • seed marketed as for the production of Microgreens for human consumption

The applicable provisions of the Fertilizers Act and regulations apply if a seed contains a fertilizer or supplement component as defined by the Fertilizers Act. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act may also apply.

Note that "catgrass" seed is not a recognized species but is rather the end use of a number of possible species such as wheat, barley and oats. It is important for importers to clearly specify the species or kind of seed as well as the variety being imported, for example, oats, barley, et cetera as catgrass. Forage oats are exempt from variety registration, and therefore can be imported and sold without being of a registered variety.

The following seed imports are not subject to the requirements of the Seeds Act and regulations:

  • items such as pottery objects with seeds for ornamental sprouting purposes (chia pet)
  • seed for the production of sprouts for human consumption
  • seeds that are attached to an item solely for decorative purposes (for example jewellery made of seeds or pens containing seed in clear tubes)
  • seed not represented for the purpose of growing plants
  • seed being imported for use in a food product such as mustard seed or cumin seed
  • seed being imported for laboratory analysis including purity and germination and
  • seed that is imported to be crushed and analyzed for chemical purposes

Y. Seeds regulated under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Seeds may also be regulated under the Health Canada's Cannabis Act.

Industrial Hemp Regulations requires importers of industrial hemp, in the form of seed, to be licensed by Health Canada. In addition to holding a licence, they are also required to obtain a permit from Health Canada for each shipment. For more information, contact the Industrial Hemp Unit, Health Canada.

Z. False and misleading information

It is a contravention of the Seeds Act to provide false or misleading information orally or in writing to an inspector or other officer engaged in carrying out his/her duties or functions under the Act.

Examples include:

  • importing seed for own use (seeding by the importer) and then subsequently selling the seed and/or
  • importing seed for research and then subsequently selling the seed

If following the importation, the importer's intentions for the seed change, the importer must submit a revised import declaration to:

  • CFIA's seed Import Conformity Assessment (ICA) office, if the notice of import conformity has not been issued or
  • the nearest CFIA office, if the notice of import conformity has been issued

Similarly, importations of wheat as grain for food or feed use may not be subsequently used for the purposes of plant propagation unless the required importation documentation has been submitted to the CFIA's ICA office and a notice of import conformity is issued.

AA. Lot size and seed importation fees explanatory notes

  1. When determining the weight of seed being imported for the purpose of determining fees and lot sizes, the weight of the seed refers only to the weight of the seed itself. The weight does not include any seed coatings, seed packaging material or any material to which the seed is attached, for example, seed tape.
  2. For the purposes of determining whether a "small lot" exemption applies, "seed lot" refers to a quantity of seed to which a unique identifier (such as a variety name or seed lot number) is assigned. There may be 1 or more packages that make up the seed lot being imported.

    For example:

    • If a seed shipment contains:
      • 250 envelopes, each containing 1 g of carrot seed of a variety called "Fred" (250 envelopes x 1 g) and
      • the carrot seed is accompanied by equal lot sizes of tomato, beet, and bell pepper seed (3 x 250 g)
    • Then:
      • the seed lot sizes are each 250 g and
      • the total weight of the seed shipment is 1 kg (4 x 250 g)
    • Therefore:
      • the individual seed lots would meet the small lot exemption (small seeded, <500 g) (section L) and
      • the shipment would be subject to the minimum import fee (shipment is more than 500 g but less than 1,500 kg) (section V)
  3. In the case of importation of mixtures containing both large and small seeded crop kinds or species, a small lot is defined as less than 500 grams for the purposes of the small lot exemption in subsection 40(5)

AB. Approximate number of seeds per gram

  • Species ≤ 200 seeds per gram = Large seeded species
  • Species > 200 seeds per gram = Small seeded species
Number of seeds per gram per seed type
Seed type Scientific name Seeds per gram
Alfalfa Medicago sativa 500
Alkaligrass, weeping Puccinellia distans 4107
Anise Pimpinella anisum 361
Artichoke Cynara cardunculus 24
Asparagus Asparagus officinalis 25
Balm, lemon Melissa officinalis 1713
Barley Hordeum vulgare subsp. vulgare 30
Basil Ocimum basilicum 702
Bean, broad Vicia faba 1
Bean, faba, broad, Chinese Vicia faba var. faba (Vicia faba var. major) 2
Bean, field Phaseolus vulgaris 4
Bean, lima Phaseolus lunatus 2
Bean, runner Phaseolus coccineus 1
Beet, field Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris 55
Beet, sugar Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris 55
Bentgrass, colonial Agrostis capillaris 13515
Bentgrass, colonial (Astoria) Agrostis capillaris 12985
Bentgrass, colonial (Highland) Agrostis capillaris 12660
Bentgrass, creeping Agrostis stolonifera var. palustris 13515
Bentgrass, velvet Agrostis canina 18180
Bluegrass, annual Poa annua 2635
Bluegrass,Canada Poa compressa 5050
Bluegrass, Kentucky Poa pratensis 3065
Bluegrass, rough Poa trivialis 4610
Bluegrass, supina Poa supina 3500
Bluegrass, wood Poa nemoralis 4330
Borage Borago officinalis 53
Broccoli Brassica oleracea var. botrytis 315
Bromegrass Bromus inermis 300
Bromegrass, meadow Bromus riparius 195
Brussels sprouts Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera 315
Buckwheat, common Fagopyrum esculentum 45
Buckwheat, tartarian Fagopyrum tataricum 45
Cabbage Brassica oleracea var. capitata 315
Canarygrass Phalaris canariensis 150
Canarygrass, reed Phalaris arundinacea 1185
Canola / Rapeseed Brassica juncea 625
Canola / Rapeseed Brassica napus 350
Canola / Rapeseed Brassica rapa 540
Cantaloupe Cucumis melo 45
Caraway Carum carvi 333
Carrot Daucus carota subsp. sativus 825
Catnip Nepeta cataria 1707
Cauliflower Brassica oleracea var. botrytis 315
Celeriac Apium graveolens var. rapaceum 2094
Celery Apium graveolens var. dulce 2094
Celtuce Lactuca sativa var. angustana 900
Chervil Anthriscus cerefolium 405
Chickpea Cicer arietinum 2
Chicory Cichorium intybus 940
Chives Allium schoenoprasum 925
Chives, garlic Allium tuberosum 350
Citron Citrullus lanatus var. citroides 11
Clover, alsike Trifolium hybridum 1500
Clover, crimson Trifolium incarnatum 330
Clover, hop, large Trifolium campestre 5435
Clover, hop, small Trifolium dubium 1950
Clover, hop, yellow Trifolium aureum 2200
Clover, ladino Trifolium repens 2000
Clover, red Trifolium pratense 600
Clover, strawberry Trifolium fragiferum 635
Clover, subterranean Trifolium subterraneum 120
Clover, sweet Melilotus officinalis 570
Clover, white Trifolium repens 1500
Collards Brassica oleracea var. viridis 315
Coriander (Chinese Parsley) Coriandrum sativum 95
Corn, field Zea mays subsp. mays 3
Corn, pop Zea mays subsp. mays 3
Corn, sweet Zea mays subsp. mays 4
Cornsalad Valerianella locusta 380
Cowpea Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata 8
Cress, garden Lepidium sativum 425
Cress, upland Barbarea verna 1160
Cress, water Nasturtium officinale 5170
Crownvetch Securigera varia 305
Cucumber Cucumis sativus 40
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale 1240
Dill Anethum graveolens 800
Dogtail, crested Cynosurus cristatus 1900
Eggplant Solanum melongena 230
Emmer Triticum turgidum subsp. dicoccon 25
Endive Cichorium endivia 940
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare 261
Fenugreek Trigonella foenum-graecum 70
Fescue, Chewings Festuca rubra subsp. fallax 900
Fescue, hard Festuca brevipila 1305
Fescue, meadow Festuca pratensis 495
Fescue, red Festuca rubra subsp. rubra 990
Fescue, sheep's Festuca ovina 1165
Fescue, tall Festuca arundinacea 455
Flax Linum usitatissimum 180
Foxtail, meadow Alopecurus pratensis 895
Kale Brassica oleracea 315
Kidneyvetch Anthyllis vulneraria 435
Kohlrabi Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes 315
Lavander Lavandula angustifolia 1000
Leek Allium porrum 395
Lentil Lens culinaris subsp. culinaris 20
Lespedeza, common Kummerowia striata 750
Lespedeza, Korean Kummerowia stipulacia 525
Lespedeza, sericea Lespedeza cuneata 820
Lettuce Lactuca sativa var. capitata 1036
Lovage Levisticum officinale 350
Lupine, blue Lupinus angustifolius 7
Lupine, white Lupinus albus 7
Lupine, yellow Lupinus luteus 9
Mangel Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris 55
Medick, black Medicago lupulina 585
Millet, foxtail Setaria italica subsp. italica 480
Millet, Japanese Echinochloa frumentacea 315
Millet, pearl Pennisetum glaucum 180
Millet, proso Panicum miliaceum subsp. miliaceum 185
Mint, pepper Mentha piperita 16660
Mint, spear Mentha spicata 11520
Mitsuba Cryptotaenia japonica 400
Muskmelon Cucumis melo 45
Mustard, black Brassica nigra 1255
Mustard, Indian Brassica juncea 625
Mustard, spinach Brassica rapa var. perviridis 535
Mustard, white Sinapis alba 160
Needlegrass, green Nassella viridula 370
Oat Avena sativa 40
Oatgrass, tall Arrhenatherum elatius 417
Okra Abelmoschus esculentus 19
Onion Allium cepa 340
Orchardgrass Dactylis glomerata 945
Oregano Organum vulgare 8640
Pakchoi Brassica rapa var. chinensis (=Brassica chinensis) 635
Parsley Petroselinum crispum 650
Parsnip Pastinaca sativa 430
Pea, field Pisum sativum 4
Pea, garden Pisum sativum 3
Peanut Arachis hypogaea 2
Pepper Capsicum spp. 165
Perilla Perilla frutescens 635
Pe-Tsai (Chinese cabbage) Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis 635
Pumpkin Cucurbita spp. 5
Purslane Portulaca oleracea 2500
Quinoa Chenopodium quinoa 350
Radish Raphanus sativus 75
Redtop Agrostis gigantea 10695
Rhubarb Rheum × hybridum (R. rhaponticum) 60
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis 802
Rye Secale cereale subsp. cereale 40
Ryegrass, annual Lolium multiflorum 420
Ryegrass, perennial Lolium perenne 530
Safflower Carthamus tinctorius 30
Sage Salvia officinalis 120
Sainfoin Onobrychis viciifolia 50
Salsify Tragopogon porrifolius 65
Savory Satureja hortensis or S. montana 1750
Sorghum Sorghum bicolor 55
Sorghum almum Sorghum × almum 150
Sorrel Rumex acetosa 1080
Soybean Glycine max 6
Soybean, natto-type Glycine max 13
Spelt Triticum aestivum subsp. spelta 25
Spinach Spinacia oleracea 100
Spinach, New Zealand Tetragonia tetragonoides 13
Squash Cucurbita spp. 14
Sudangrass (Sorghum-sundangrass) Sorghum bicolor nothosubsp. Drummondii (=Sorghum×drummondii; Sorghum sudanense ) 100
Sunflower (cultivated) Helianthus annuus 9
Tarragon Artemisia dracunculus 5550
Thyme Thymus vulgaris 3605
Thyme, mother-of Thymus serpyllum >1000
Timothy Phleum pratense 2565
Tobacco Nicotiana tabacum 15625
Tomato Lycopersicon esculentum or L. lycopersicum 405
Tomato, husk Physalis pubescens 1240
Trefoil, bird's foot Lotus corniculatus 815
Trilicale Triticosecale spp. 50
Turnip Brassica rapa subsp. rapa 535
Vetch, common Vicia sativa subsp. sativa 19
Vetch, hairy Vicia villosa subsp. villosa 35
Vetch, Hungarian Vicia pannonica 24
Watermelon Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus 11
Wheat, common Triticum aestivum 25
Wheat, durum Triticum turgidum subsp. durum (T. durum) 25
Wheatgrass, fairway crested Agropyron cristatum 685
Wheatgrass, intermediate Thinopyrum intermedium subsp. intermedium (=Elytrigia intermedia subsp.intermedia) 175
Wheatgrass, northern Elymus lanceolatus subsp. lanceolatus 370
Wheatgrass, pubescent Thinopyrum intermedium subsp. barbulatum (=Agropyron trichophorum) 180
Wheatgrass, slender Elymus trachycaulus (Agropyron trachycaulum) 295
Wheatgrass, standard crested Agropyron desertorum 430
Wheatgrass, streambank Elymus lanceolatus subsp. riparius 370
Wheatgrass, tall Elytrigia elongata (Agropyron elongatum) 165
Wheatgrass, western Pascopyrum smithii (Agropyron smithii) 250
Wildrye, Altai Leymus angustus (Elymus angustus) 155
Wildrye, Dahurian Elymus dahuricus 190
Wildrye, Russian Psathyrostachys juncea (Elymus junceus) 360

Source: Association of Official Seed Analysts, 2010