Shipping and exporting seeds from Canada

Big problems can come from small packages.

Seeds in small packets, intended primarily for home gardens, shipped from Canada by home gardeners or by businesses must comply with the import requirements of the final destination country.

Certain seeds can become invasive plants or carry plant pests that can be harmful when introduced into new environments. They can seriously damage agricultural areas, forests, and other natural areas.

Not meeting requirements of the destination country has consequences. When plant products arrive at an international border and do not meet import requirements of that particular country, the products are usually immediately destroyed and Canada is issued a notice of non-compliance.

Canada has an obligation to meet other countries' requirements, and the easiest way for exporters to ensure they comply is to contact their local CFIA office.

What to do

Phytosanitary (plant health) requirements for exporting seeds can vary significantly based on the country of final destination and the type of seed. The CFIA is here to help as the first point of contact to facilitate the safe exportation and importation of plant products, not to impede them!

Exporters are encouraged to plan ahead to confirm all export requirements before shipping or travelling with plant products.

  • Check with your local CFIA office to find out what requirements exist for the destination country.
  • Arrange for export inspection and phytosanitary certification, if required.
  • Arrange testing in an authorized laboratory, if required.
  • If you are unsure about something, please contact your local CFIA office.