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Overview of seed importation into Canada

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

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

This overview does not apply if the seed shipment meets the exemptions for "small lots" of seed.

Third party companies cannot use an authorized importer's AI's number to import seed. However, an AI can pre-clear seed lots on behalf of a third party company.

Refer to:

Acronyms

AI
Authorized importer
CBSA
Canada Border Services Agency
I/B
Importer or broker
IID
Integrated Import Declaration
DDS
Digital Document Store
NISC
National Import Service Centre
ICTS
Import Control and Tracking System
ICA
Import Conformity Assessment Office

Forms/documents required

The Canadian Food inspection Agency (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 the seed can move directly to destination without further delay.

Requirements for a registered seed establishment (RSE) to maintain pedigree status based on the purpose of pedigreed seed importation

For sale

Seed must be assigned a Canada pedigreed grade by an accredited grader based on the results of an officially recognized test and the seed is imported in a package bearing a label that was issued or approved by an official certifying agency and that indicates that the seed is of pedigreed status.

For use in seed mixture

If the seed is imported for use as an ingredient in a mixture with other Canadian seed, the seed must be assigned a Canada pedigreed grade by an accredited grader based on the results of an officially recognized test and the seed must be imported in a package bearing a label that was issued or approved by an official certifying agency and that indicates that the seed is of pedigreed status.

For other purposes

The seed is exempt from being graded for conditioning, research, seeding by the importer (own use) or sale pursuant to section 5(4), of the Seeds Regulations.

There are 4 ways to import seed into Canada

  • by an authorized importer (AI) to a registered location Footnote 1
    • the information required includes request for documentation review (CFIA form 5272) and AI number
  • by a non-authorized importer
    • the information required includes request for documentation review (CFIA form 5272), import declaration (CFIA form 4560) and seed analysis certificate (SAC)
  • by a non-authorized importer and is pre-cleared by Import Conformity Assessment (ICA) office or AI
    • the information required includes import declaration (CFIA form 4560), request for documentation review (CFIA form 5272), SAC and notice of import conformity
  • by an AI to a non-registered location
    • the information required includes request for documentation review (CFIA form 5272), AI number and notice of import conformity

Submit the required documents through the Integrated Import Declaration (IID) and/or email/fax (DDS). Transaction number is assigned to the shipment by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

National Import Service Centre (NISC) reviews and verifies documents from IID and DDS. NISC informs CBSA and client that shipment is cleared by IID and/or email/fax. This information is captured in the import control tracking system (ICTS) and profiled in DDS for program review. If the decision is not cleared the importer is to provide required information and contact CFIA for assistance if necessary.

A copy of the documents is stored in DDS for use by ICA office and/or local CFIA office, when the seed arrives at the border the authorized importers or the non-authorized importer to present to CBSA the approval decision. The seed is then permitted to ship to destination.

Important

If the seed was pre-cleared it is released and can be planted.

If the seed is not pre-cleared it shall be kept separate and intact in the original packages until a notice of import conformity has been issued.

For AI's, the conformance decision is pending until the seed is known to have met the minimum requirements for importation. For non-authorized importer the conformance decision is pending until the seed is known to have met the minimum requirements for importation. If the seed meets the minimum importation requirements, the seed is compliant and a notice of import conformity is issued and the seed is cleared for use in Canada Footnote 2. If the seed does not meet the minimum importation requirements the seed is considered to be non-compliant and if corrective action is completed the seed is cleared for use in Canada. If the corrective action cannot be completed the seed shipment is disposed or destroyed with CFIA supervision.

This document should be used in conjunction with the ABCs of seed importation into Canada; some exemptions that may apply for importation are explained in detail.