Canadian Exporter Non-compliance and Responsibility

Recently, the Government of Canada has received numerous letters of “notification of non-compliance” for wood packaging used in the transport of cargo from Canada. By International Standard, when a country intercepts a commodity; such as wood packaging in association with cargo, which fails to meet their import requirements, an “official notice of non-compliance” is sent to the government of the exporting country. The notice will provide details on the individual shipment including the consignor, the consignee, the transport, the point of entry, description of the interception of the consignment and reasons for interception.

In several situations, Canadian freight forwarders have been identified on these notices as freight forwarders are often named on shipping documents, such as the “master airway bill” or “ocean bill of lading”, as the consignors, shippers, or the parties in control, care and possession of the shipment, as the case may be, by the foreign government.

Since failure to meet the plant health import requirements of a foreign government is also a violation of the federal Plant Protection Act and Plant Protection Regulations, whenever Canada receives a “notice of non-compliance” from a foreign country, the CFIA will send a letter to the party identified on the notice. The CFIA letter requests that the party submits a plan of action within 30 days to the local CFIA office identifying a method of meeting the foreign government entry requirements and demonstrating an understanding of foreign plant health import regulations.

Subsequent violations will result in an investigation by the CFIA, including targeting inspections at the air and sea container terminals. This violation may result in enforcement action by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Failure to meet the foreign import requirements is taken very serious as continued failure can ultimately impact market access to these foreign markets and increase import control.

The Government of Canada and industry have developed an export certification program, the Canadian Wood Packaging Certification Program (CWPCP), designed to meet the entry requirements of the European Union (EU). This information can be found on the CFIA Forestry Website:

At the present time, the CWPCP is recognized only by the EU. Other countries have set their own standards and may differ from the phytosanitary standards of the CWPCP. To verify the import requirements of other governments please contact a local CFIA office prior to export.

The CFIA encourages Canadian freight forwarders to consider their company policies in regard to notifying their clients of foreign government plant health import requirements. I also invite companies to review the CFIA Forestry Section Website on wood packaging ( The website also provides an information Listserv.

In March 2002, the International Plant Protection Convention, representing 118 governments, adopted an International Standard, the Guidelines for Wood Packaging Used in Trade (ISPM # 15). Once implemented, the standard will harmonize the import requirements for participating governments. It is anticipated that most of Canada’s trading partners will implement ISPM # 15 over the next year. During early 2003, the CFIA will publish a new version of the CWPCP. The policy will allow Canadian wood packaging producers a process to construct certified wood packaging to meet the import requirements for governments adopting the International Standard.

Best regards,

Greg Stubbings
National Manager
Forestry Section

Posted February 11, 2003