Language selection


D- 95-26: Phytosanitary Requirements for Soil and Soil-Related Matter, and for Items Contaminated with Soil and Soil-Related Matter

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

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

Effective date: June 2, 2014
(4th revision)


This directive contains the plant protection requirements for soil and soil-related matter, and for items contaminated with soil and soil-related matter, excluding plants and plant parts.

This directive has been revised to make minor administrative changes. The requirements presented in this directive have not changed.

On this page


This directive will be updated as required. For further information or clarification, please contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).


Approved by:

Chief Plant Health Officer

Amendment record

Amendments to this directive will be dated and distributed as outlined in the distribution list below.


  1. Directive mail list (CFIA regional offices, CFIA Plant Health Risk Assessment Unit, United States Department of Agriculture)
  2. Provincial government, industry organizations (determined by author)
  3. National industry organizations (determined by author)
  4. Internet


Soil is a high-risk pathway for the movement and introduction of pests. The position paper on soil movement signed on April 24, 2003 by the three member countries of North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) describes the risks and complexities associated with soil and associated pests:

"Soil, as evidenced from the international restrictions and prohibitions concerning its movement, is considered to be a high risk pathway for spreading a wide range of pests including, but not limited to: bacteria, fungi, insects, nematodes and weeds. Numerous soil-borne pests can survive for many years, with or without suitable hosts. Some of these pests can be detected visually while the detection of others requires sophisticated diagnostics."

The number and complexity of organisms in soil render assurances of freedom from pests of concern virtually impossible. As a result, strict phytosanitary measures in relation to soil are necessary in order to limit the risks of introduction and spread of significant soil-borne quarantine pests into Canada. Such measures are also required for soil-related matter which, by its nature, is indistinguishable from soil or highly likely to be contaminated with soil.


This directive specifies the phytosanitary requirements for the import and domestic movement of soil and soil-related matter. It includes requirements for soil and soil-related matter, and for items contaminated with soil and soil-related matter, such as logs/lumber, vehicles, equipment, tools and containers.


This directive supersedes all previous versions of D-95-26 and related documents.

NAPPO Position on Soil Movement. 2003. NAPPO, Mexico City.

D-97-04: Application, procedures, issuance and use of a Permit to Import under the Plant Protection Act. CFIA, Ottawa.

D-08-04: Plant protection import requirements for plants and plant parts for planting. CFIA, Ottawa.

D-01-06: Canadian phytosanitary policy for notification of non-compliance and emergency action. CFIA, Ottawa.

D-96-05: Phytosanitary requirements for the importation and domestic movement of non-propagative potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) and related potato articles, including associated soil. CFIA, Ottawa.

D-96-20: Canadian Growing Media Program, Prior Approval Process and Import Requirements for Plants Rooted in Approved Media. CFIA Ottawa.

Definitions, abbreviations and acronyms

Definitions for terms used in this document can be found in the Plant Health Glossary of Terms.

1.0 General requirements

1.1 Legislative authority

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fees Notice, Canada Gazette, Part I (as amended from time to time)

The Plant Protection Act, S.C. 1990, c. 22

The Plant Protection Regulations, SOR/95-212

1.2 Fees

The CFIA and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) charge fees in accordance with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fees Notice. For information regarding fees associated with imported products, please contact the CFIA's National Import Service Centre (NISC). For any other information regarding fees, please contact any local CFIA office or visit our Fees Notice website.

1.3 Regulated pests

A large number of pests of quarantine concern can be transported in soil. The list of plant pests regulated by Canada is available on the CFIA's website.

1.4 Regulated areas

Regulated areas include:

1.5 Commodities regulated under this directive

Commodities covered under this directive may also require approval and/or a Permit to Import under the Health of Animals Act and/or the Fertilizers Act. For information regarding requirements for products under the Health of Animals Act contact the Animal Health Directorate, Import/Export Section. For information regarding requirements for products under the Fertilizers Act, contact the Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate of the CFIA.

2.0 Import requirements

2.1 Soil and soil-related matter (in bulk, i.e., not in association with plants or plant parts)

The importation of soil and soil-related matter from all countries is prohibited, except when imported under Section 43 of the Plant Protection Regulations for scientific research, education, processing, industrial or exhibition purposes (see Appendix 2).

2.2 Items potentially contaminated with soil and soil-related matter

The importation of items contaminated with soil and soil-related matter from all countries is prohibited. Inspection of items that could be contaminated with soil should be conducted at the first point of entry (seaport, airport or land border) to ensure that items are free of soil and soil-related matter. Some exceptions may apply for plants for planting (see directive D-08-04), potatoes (see directive D-96-05) and root crops (see directive D-94-26).

3.0 Domestic movement requirements

A Movement Certificate issued by the CFIA is required to transport soil and soil-related matter, plants with soil and items contaminated with soil and related soil-related matter from a regulated area of Canada to non-regulated areas. The appropriate condition(s) must be stated on the Movement Certificate.

Movement Certificates may be issued when one of the following conditions is satisfied:

  1. The soil originates from an area found to be free from regulated pests on the basis of official surveys; or
  2. The soil has been treated (heat, steam, fumigation, irradiation, etc.) to render the material free from viable forms of the regulated pest(s); or
  3. The soil is moving between facilities or to a facility approved under Appendix 2 of this directive.

4.0 Non-compliance

In case of non-compliance with the above requirements, the regulated commodity in question will be refused entry into Canada, ordered removed from Canada or may be disposed of. The person in care or control of the commodity is responsible for any and all costs related to quarantine, destruction, treatment, disposal, disinfection or removal, including any costs incurred by the CFIA or CBSA to monitor the action taken. A Notification of Non-Compliance will be issued in accordance to D-01-06: Canadian Phytosanitary Policy for the Notification of Non-Compliance and Emergency Action.

5.0 Appendices

Appendix 1: Soil and soil-related matter - Exclusions

The following are examples of types of commodities that are not considered soil and soil-related matter and, when free from soil and soil-related matter, are not subject to the import or movement requirements listed within this directive. They may, however, be subject to import and movement requirements listed in other policy directives.

Appendix 2: Conditions of entry for soil and soil-related matter for Permits to Import issued under Section 43 of the Plant Protection Regulations

  1. The importer must apply for a Permit to Import prior to importation. The procedure for applying for a permit is described in directive D-97-04: Application, procedures, issuance and use of a permit to import under the Plant Protection Act. The maximum duration for permits issued for the importation of soil is 2 years. The conditions for a Section 43 Permit to Import differ depending on the end use of the soil. Conditions have been established for research facilities and for industrial facilities. For soil imported for research purposes, only one Permit to Import is required for all countries of origin. For soil imported for industrial purposes from the United-States, a separate Permit to Import is required for each state and territory from which the soil originates.
  2. Before a Permit to Import is issued, a CFIA inspector must inspect the facility and complete the checklist in Appendix 2A verifying that procedures are in place to sterilize the soil and/or to prevent the potential spread of soil pests. All facilities must develop and implement written standard operating procedures (SOPs), as per Appendix 2B, which will be reviewed by the CFIA inspector to ensure all requirements have been addressed. Facilities wishing to be designated as an approved facility for soil importations must be inspected every two years.
  3. Material must be routed directly to the importer's plant, premises, research facility or laboratory. A Movement Certificate is required to transport the materials to destinations other than those specified in the Permit to Import.
  4. Material must be packaged and transported in sturdy leak-proof containers. The material must be contained until processed. All residue, other than residue from destructive analysis, must be treated to prevent the potential introduction and spread of pests into Canada. The transport containers and packaging material must be treated or disposed of in a manner that will prevent pest introduction.
  5. The material shall be clearly and uniquely identified at all times (i.e. during importation, transportation, testing, processing, research, storage and disposal).
  6. The importer shall keep a log book of all importations. This book shall indicate the date soil was received, the Import Permit number, the country of origin, where the soil is in the facility and its status (e.g., treated, stored, disposal method, date).
  7. Material must be treated to destroy living stages of pests before disposal in a manner approved in writing by the CFIA. Any movement of soil outside the facility prior to disposal must be authorized by the CFIA.
    1. When methods have been used that mitigate potential pest risks associated with the soil (e.g., sterilization by heat, digestion by laboratory acids or chemicals), the disposal of the soil and soil-related matter may not require CFIA supervision. The processes must be described in the operating procedures and approved by CFIA as appropriate for mitigating potential pest risks.
  8. Movement Certificates can only be issued to facilities moving soil within Canada to other approved facilities or to approved disposal sites. The expiry date of the Movement Certificate shall not extend beyond the date of the next biennial facility inspection/approval.

Appendix 2A: Soil-importing facility/laboratory inspection checklist

Note: This document is to be completed and signed by a CFIA inspector

Part A - Laboratory/Facility Information

Facility name:

Facility contact person:

Facility address:

Email address:

Phone number:

Fax number:

Date of inspection:

Inspected by:

Part B - Documentation Checklist

Item No Yes Notes
Is the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) valid and up to date? (see SOP sample in Appendix 2B)
Is internal movement of soil traceable via paperwork and records?
Is import paperwork (incoming logs, etc.) complete and valid?
Are disposal records, including autoclave calibration logs, accurate and up to date?
Are staff aware of risk involved with the material (e.g. training and awareness)?
Is this a university lab?
If so, the permit and lab inspection report must be issued under the name of the professor (or officer) with responsibility for the lab.
Name of person responsible for lab:

Part C - Inspection Checklist

Item No Yes Notes
Are samples labelled to prevent them being mixed with non-regulated materials?
Is the material delivered and stored in secured, leak-proof containers?
Is storage facility adequate, safe and secure such that stored samples cannot contaminate surrounding land or groundwater?
Does it contain and segregate international and regulated domestic soil from non-regulated domestic soil?
Are spill-kits located effectively where needed?
Are staff trained in their use?
Does the standard operating procedures include provisions for dealing with spills?
Are tools, equipment and surfaces appropriately sterilized/disinfected?
Is protective gear (lab coats, disposable gloves and footwear) available and used when appropriate?
Are all soil-contaminated liquids captured and treated as is soil (autoclaved) or sent to a drain where water enters a municipal system, without bypass (storm overflow), for treatment?
Is soil treated, prior to disposal, using one of the following processes:

Autoclave: 30 minutes, 15 psi pressure, at 121°C. Soil must be moist and be placed in water permeable packages (e.g., paper bags) or in trays with soil in layers no thicker than 4.5 cm.

Dry oven: Soil in a layer 2.5 cm thick or less heated to 121°C for a minimum of 6 hours.

Is another disposal method used?
If so, please provide information.

Part D - Notes

Include Any Corrective Actions Required

Part E - Signature and Date

Checklist for Signature and Date
Item No Yes Notes
Recommended for approval?

CFIA Inspector (print name):


Appendix 2B

Standard operating procedure requirements for soil-importing facilities

  1. All facilities must have written operating procedures for handling imported soil and soil-related matter.
  2. The facility must notify the CFIA of any significant changes to their procedures or of any change in personnel handling regulated soil.
  3. Movement of untreated soil and soil-related matter outside the facility is only permissible with written approval from the CFIA (Movement Certificate), as specified in the Permit to Import.
  4. The following may serve as a guideline as to the information to include in standard operating procedures.

Company: The import of soil is prohibited unless imported under Section 43 of the Plant Protection Regulations for scientific research, educational, processing, industrial or exhibition purposes. Provide a general description of your company as it relates to the importation of soil, including the origin(s) of the soil, quantities and purpose of importation, and list most recent soil Permit to Import number(s).

Responsibility: Everyone handling the soil must be aware of the required procedures. List all the people responsible for handling the soil and have them sign the following statement indicating they have read and understand the requirements for importing soil as stated in the operating procedures and conditions of entry for soil and soil-related matter authorized by a Permit to Import issued under Section 43 of the Plant Protection Regulations.

The following staff have read and understand the import requirements and operating procedures:

Records: A record of all soil importations and their disposition must be kept by the facility. A record of the location of any soil in the facility as well its disposition must be readily available at all times. Describe the method by which soil importations are recorded, as well as the system used for tracking the location of the soil, its treatment and its disposal.

Shipping: All soil must be sent in sturdy leak-proof containers to ensure proper containment while in transit. Describe how your shipping procedure will accomplish this.

Storage: All imported soil must be stored in a manner which ensures that it is easily identified as such and is not mixed with any non-regulated domestic soil which may be present (if the two are mixed, all of the material would then be considered as regulated and have to be disposed of accordingly). Labels should be used which clearly identify any regulated soil and can be easily cross-referenced to the company records mentioned above. The containers should be leak-proof and be organized and labelled to separate regulated material from non-regulated material. Describe how your company will meet these requirements. Specify if your company will retain soil samples and, if so, for how long.

Processing and Handling: Precautions must be taken to ensure that untreated regulated soil does not leave the premises. Procedures must be in place to prevent cross-contamination of non-regulated soil with regulated soil, to ensure that contaminated equipment and any accidental spills are properly dealt with using CFIA-approved methods, and to identify where spill kits are located. Describe your facility's processing and handling procedures including the location and staff operating instructions for use of spill kits.

Disposal: Unless otherwise authorized by the CFIA, imported soil must be sterilized prior to disposal as follows:

  • Dry oven: Soil in a layer 2.5 cm thick or less heated to 121°C for a minimum of 6 hours.
  • Autoclave: 30 minutes at 15 psi and 121°C. The soil must be moist and be placed in water permeable packages (e.g., paper bags) or in trays with soil in layers no thicker than 4.5 cm.

What is the maintenance schedule for your drying oven/autoclave?

How does your company manage liquids combined with soil? All liquids contacting the soil must be captured and treated as is soil (autoclaved) or sent to a drain where water enters a municipal system (with no storm overflow) for treatment.

Include complete details of disposal and treatment in your facility's operating procedures.

Movement: Is your company affiliated with any other soil labs? Will there be any domestic movement of soil to other approved facilities? Movement of untreated soil outside the facility is not permissible without written approval from the CFIA, as specified in the Permit to Import. Describe your facility's domestic movement of imported soil, if applicable.

Facility Name:

Contact Name:




Email Address:

Officer in charge of facility (printed name):



Date modified: