Posts Tagged ‘CFIA’


Your Designation Maintenance Begins with our Professional Development Courses

Image: Seminar Room


A new year means a new start and this includes a reset to the maintenance requirements of your professional designations set forth by the credential’s governing body. Your Professional Development starts with Pacific Customs Brokers.

Taking any of our seminars and webinars may earn you maintenance points, credits, and hours towards a variety of professional designations. Some examples of eligible designations are:

  • Certified Customs Specialist (CCS)
  • Certified Trade Compliance Specialist (CTCS)
  • Certified Export Specialist (CES)
  • Designate with the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC)
  • Accounting Professional

Registration for Spring is now open!

Review and plan your professional development maintenance for the first half of 2018 by clicking on the course names below:

CDN Importing for Beginners Part 1
CDN Importing for Beginners Part 2
US Importing for Beginners Part 1 1
US Importing for Beginners Part 2 1
FDA Regulated Goods 2 2 1
CFIA Regulated Goods 2 2
NAFTA for Beginners Part 1 1 1
NAFTA for Beginners Part 2 1
Shipping Perishables – NEW! 3 3
CDN Trade Compliance Part 1 5 5
CDN Trade Compliance Part 2 5 5 3
Exporting from Canada 5 3 3
US Trade Compliance Part 1 5 5 3
US Trade Compliance Part 2 5 5 3 3
HS Tariff Classification 5 6 4
Free Trade Agreements 5 5 5
Customs Valuation 5 5
CFIA 5 5
FDA 5 5 3
C-TPAT 2.5 2.5 2 2


If you have never attended one of our Professional Development Courses, the following information might help you decide on attending the next one.

Professional Development Courses – Webinars

Our webinars are designed to meet the demands of the global trade community. These live sessions are a convenient way for trade professionals to stay ahead of new regulations with international trade and gain additional knowledge in key areas. Benefits of attending an online course include:

  • Cost-effectiveness – More affordable than industry standards
  • Global accessibility – Travel is removed from the equation for companies with multiple locations or branches
  • Convenience – Attend from the comfort of your desk or home
  • Concise training – In a fast-paced industry, efficiency becomes just as important as staying compliant
  • Industry accreditation – Earn points towards maintenance of your industry designations

Professional Development Courses – Seminars and Workshops

At our in-person courses you learn the best practices of being a compliant importer and/or exporter which will help you expedite your commercial shipments to and avoiding costly delay triggers. Our experts share their knowledge and stories on international and cross-border shipping regulations to keep you current with customs and partner government agency requirements.  Benefits of attending an in-person seminar or workshop include:

  • All day access – Get our experts to answer your questions one-on-one
  • Case studies and real-life examples – Examine other attendees’ trade compliance hurdles
  • Cost-effectiveness – More affordable than industry standards
  • Range of topics – Choose from a wide variety of topics
  • Certificate of Completion – Receive a certificate for each course you attend
  • Handouts – Take home your own set of course material
  • Industry accreditation – Earn points towards maintenance of your industry designations
  • Networking – Connect with other like-minded professionals


Have questions or comments about any of our courses? Call 888.538.1566 or email us today!

Basic Import Requirements for Food Products into Canada

Just because you can buy it, does not mean you can import it. Food products tend to be one of the most misunderstood imports. Our licensed customs broker, Gloria Terhaar, provides an overview of the basic import requirements when importing food products into Canada.

Basic Import Requirements for Food Products into Canada

To assist importers in becoming aware of their requirements and implications of regulations involved with importing food products into Canada, Pacific Customs Brokers regularly hosts seminars and webinars. Visit the Trade Compliance Education section of our website to see a list of seminars and webinars currently being offered.

For more information on how Pacific Customs Brokers can help you commercially import food products into Canada, please contact us.

Have questions about importing produce into Canada? Leave them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.


Related Blog Articles:

Considerations When Importing Produce Into Canada

{This post was last updated on March 28, 2016}


The importation of produce into Canada is a hugely important industry and it brings with it some unique challenges.

One of the primary  challenges is understanding the interaction between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The type of produce, the time of year, and the packaging itself are all variables that can cause potential delays and added costs at the border. Licensing, permits and accurate documentation all play a key role in a successful shipment.

For example, fresh potatoes for consumption have minimum grade requirements that must be met as well as be accompanied by a certificate from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) attesting to this fact. Potatoes also are one of the few fresh produce items that attract a duty rate of $4.94 per metric tonne. In addition, during the period of August 1st through April 30th, Russet potatoes are subject to dump duty. The amount of dump duty is affected by the type of potato, the type of packaging, and the U.S. state it is grown in. Not all produce commodities are as complicated as potatoes, however the basic procedures and processes are similar.


1. Admissibility:

A good first step is to ensure that the type of produce that you wish to import is admissible into Canada. Certain commodities from certain countries or regions are prohibited entry, such as crab apples from Brazil or blueberries from Peru. The CFIA’s Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) is a handy interactive tool that allows importers to check the admissibility of a wide variety of products. This website will also advise of any additional documentation requirements and the associated regulations.

Secondly, importers of fresh fruits and vegetables are required to hold either a CFIA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Licence or become a member of the DRC (Dispute Resolution Corp). Please see the below links to each of the respective applications.


2. Grades and Container Sizing

Many fruits and vegetables have specific grade standards that must be met in order to come into Canada. Visit this link on the CFIA website, for an overview of federal requirements of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations and the Licensing and Arbitration Regulations for the import and interprovincial marketing of fresh fruit and vegetables » Import and Interprovincial Requirements for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables


Fresh Fruit And Vegetables For Which Grades Are Established:

Fruit: Vegetables:
(miniature vegetables are excluded, but miniature cucumbers are included)
  1. Apples
  2. Apricots
  3. Blueberries (exception – for processing)
  4. Cantaloupes
  5. Cherries
  6. Crabapples
  7. Cranberries
  8. Grapes
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Plums and Prunes
  12. Field Rhubarb
  13. Strawberries (exception – if no grade is used)
  1. Asparagus (exception – white asparagus)
  2. Beets (exception – beets with tops)
  3. Brussels Sprouts
  4. Cabbages
  5. Carrots (exception – carrots with tops)
  6. Cauliflower
  7. Celery
  8. Sweet Corn
  9. Field Cucumbers (exception – pickling cucumbers)
  10. Greenhouse Cucumbers
  11. Head Lettuce – Iceberg type
  12. Onions (exception – onions with tops)
  13. Parsnips
  14. Potatoes (excluded if certified for seed)
  15. Rutabagas
  16. Field Tomatoes (exception – cherry tomatoes)
  17. Greenhouse Tomatoes

For most produce items containers cannot exceed 50 kg, although container sizes for apples cannot exceed 200 kg. Containers that fall outside of the approved standard sizing requirements would require application for a Ministerial Exemption which is further explained under the General Guidelines for Requesting Ministerial Exemptions.


3. Labelling and Packaging:

As with all importations into Canada, produce is subject to strict guidelines on labelling and packaging. Please visit Labelling Guide for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables for more information.


4. Documentation Requirements:

All produce entries are required to be documented on a Confirmation of Sale (COS). This document must be completed properly, signed, and kept at the importer’s place of business for six (6) years. Your customs broker will also be able to assist with filling this out.

Certificates of Origin, Phytosanitary Certificates, Plant Protection Import Permits, CITES Certificates, and Ministerial Exemptions are all types of additional documents that may be required to satisfy the CFIA, CBSA and other government departments. The perishable nature of produce make it a target for a variety of pests and this pest risk factor is the biggest trigger for additional documentation. As mentioned , the CFIA AIRS website mentioned above is an excellent tool that importers can use to determine whether the commodity in question requires any further documentation. Once a specific commodity is typed into the search, the system will prompt you for further information until all variables have been satisfied and then a list of required documents will pop up. Additionally, the specific regulations that pertain to the commodity are accessible by clicking the link.


In conclusion, the key to any successful importation is to research the product and regulations surrounding it thoroughly prior to its arrival at the border. A good rule of thumb is to check with your customs broker prior to importing a new produce item or importing from a new supplier as this will allow time to obtain any additional documents needed to meet the requirements of CBSA and CFIA.


Understand Your OGD / PGA Requirements

Many importers find it valuable to attend educational seminars and webinars on the topic. Our webinar on importing CFIA Regulated Goods would be a good place to start. In this 75 minute session, you will gain a better understanding of the interaction between Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), licensing, permits and documentation requirements. The knowledge you acquire will streamline your shipments rather than trigger costly delays. Whether you are a novice or an experienced importer of CFIA regulated goods, this is a great opportunity to learn about the additional requirements and checkpoints that importations of regulated goods undergo. Learn more and register today!


Have questions about importing produce into Canada? Leave them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.

New Aquatic Animal Import Regulation Enforcement Begins April 8

seafoodSweeping changes have been made to the Canadian Import Requirements for Aquatic Animal Imports under the National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP). Effective April 8, 2013, import permits will be required for certain targeted species whether they are live, dead, smoked, etc. Information regarding the import permit requirements as well as the targeted species affected by the import permit requirements can be found on the following website: Canadian Food Inspection Agency. These changes will target the importation of finfish, molluscs and crustaceans entering Canada.

The NAAHP has been developed to help prevent the introduction of aquatic diseases in the targeted species and prevent the spread of any such diseases. It was also developed to help with the requirement for Health Certification for exports from Canada. The program is administered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).


Impact on Seafood Importers:

If you are an importer of seafood products to Canada, it is important that you read the regulations and understand the necessity of import permits and when they are required.


Required Information on Documentation:

As a result of these changes, it is absolutely imperative that the following information be provided on documentation for shipments destined for Canada.

  • the taxonomic (scientific) name or the taxonomic serial number (TSN)
  • the exact description of the product being imported including eviscerated or other for finfish, fresh, chilled or frozen excluding fillets
  • the full name of the Exporter and Importer
  • quantity including number of containers and weight
  • country of origin

Examples of Proper Commodity Description:

The following are two examples of a proper commodity description for imports:

  • Pacific Sockeye Salmon (oncorhynchus nerka) or (TSN 161979), fresh, eviscerated
  • American Lobster (homarus americanus) or (TSN 97314), ready to eat, frozen


Failure to provide proper information on shipments destined for Canada, may result in your shipment being held up at the border pending receipt of required information.


At Pacific Customs Brokers, we understand the urgent nature of perishable products and pride ourselves on our reputation for servicing the seafood industry. We are Always Open 24/7 and look forward to hearing from you with any questions on this matter.

Additional Reading:

Aquatic Animal Imports – Are Your Permits in Place?


Have questions or comments about Aquatic Animal Imports to Canada? Leave them in our comments sections below or email Ask Your Broker.

CFIA Streamlines the Processing System

Tractor, carrots, strawberries & fishIn an effort to streamline their processes, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has gone from having three Service Centers (British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec) to having one central depository for all importers and customs brokers to send their documentation to obtain a CFIA release. We applaud wholeheartedly the department’s effort to streamline processes, save tax payer money, and become more efficient.

Change however, does not always happen as smoothly as we would like and this particular change has been a bit more challenging than one would have hoped. Importers, brokers and carriers are routinely faced with delays up to 4-6 hours to obtain a CFIA release. This is assuming that the time frame does not coincide with the 4 hours that CFIA is closed between midnight and 04:00 Eastern time. This has a snowball effect, as the Customs release is then 6-8 hours, and if you are an importer purchasing goods from a vendor located within 4 hours from the 49th. parallel then you know all too well, that your trucks are arriving at the border before the Customs release has been processed.

A long standing term in the produce industry is “First to Market”. You can’t be first to market if your truck is sitting idling, and this reflects in lost market share. Idling trucks also cost money, and this is being reflected in costs for waiting time being passed on from Carriers to Importers. As consumers, we feel the pinch when we go to purchase our favorite fruits and vegetables at the market.

As your customs broker, we are in touch with CFIA on a daily basis regarding these issues, and we are assured that they are being worked on, and a process is being put in place to deal with the sheer volumes that are causing their systems to function in a less than optimal manner. We have faith that change will be forthcoming and we extend our thanks to the CFIA for their willingness to listen to industries issues and proactively react to them. Patience is a virtue, or so it is said, so at this time, we hope that as importers, brokers and carriers, we can all practice a little patience and know that this, like all issues that crop up, no pun intended, from time to time, will have a positive resolution.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact our office at anytime to discuss this or anything else related to your shipments. We are proud to say that we have served the Produce industry for over 55 years and look forward to continuing to do so well into the future.