Table of contents
- 1. Purpose
- 2. Customs Broker Responsibilities
- 3. National Import Service Centre (NISC) General Business Process
- 4. Request for Release Approval
- 5. Importation of Meat and Poultry Products
- 6. Importation of Fish and Seafood Products
- 7. Import Permits
- 8. Original Documents
- 9. Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs)
- 10. General Information
- Appendix I National Import Service Centre (NISC)
- Appendix II Import Requests Transmission
- Appendix III Change Request
This information kit is a reminder of your responsibilities as an agent representing a third party importing Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulated commodities. It is an update on CFIA's latest requirements and modifications to our established procedures.
The National Import Service Centre (NISC) is responsible for the review and process of documents for all importations of CFIA regulated commodities requiring approval prior to Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) releases.
The NISC is a single window of service for Brokers, Importers, CBSA Officers and the general public to obtain import information.
The CFIA has created the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) and an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) link with CBSA which allows you to obtain releases for CFIA regulated commodities.
We invite you to share this information with your clients and to contact us for suggestions, comments or to obtain more information.
The CFIA would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your constant support and cooperation.
The responsibilities described hereby pertain strictly to the CFIA. This list does not replace or supercede any other responsibilities that you may have as a body representing a third party.
Therefore, your responsibilities are:
- To facilitate the importation of CFIA regulated commodities by preparing and presenting supporting documents that meet CFIA and CBSA requirements.
- To verify AIRS requirements and forward your Request for Documentation Review to the appropriate Agency (CFIA or CBSA).
- To inform your clients of any new procedures implemented by CFIA that will affect their operations.
- To keep your staff informed and updated on all CFIA import procedures.
- To provide all necessary information that is required by CFIA to make an import release decision.
- To ensure CFIA has approved the documentation before inland movement from the first port of landfall in Canada, when required. Approval may be acquired using the Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS).
- Following a CFIA decision, ensure that the instructions on the disposition/ destination of a shipment as indicated on the request for documentation review, is forwarded to transport companies.
- To advise the NISC, in a reasonable amount of time, of any changes made to the transaction number, the client account number or other requested information after the entry has been processed by the NISC. See Appendix III.
- To forward to the importer or owner any specific instructions from CFIA as soon as received (e.g.: Detention to Destination, Notice to Importers, etc.)
- To forward within the prescribed time any original documents required from the importer or his representative (broker) by the CFIA following the NISC release.
The CFIA review and approve documentation related to CFIA imported regulated commodities. The approval must be granted before inland movement from the first port of landfall in Canada for any commodity which must be "referred to CFIA-NISC" as indicated in the Memorandum D19-1-1 or AIRS. This applies to all ports of entry: seaports, land borders, airports, courier depots, mail, train yards including "in-bond" shipments where the CBSA release office is located at an inland office.
We strongly recommend that you submit your request for release at the CBSA office closest to the first point of entry.
For example, an importation of live plants which require a permit or a phytosanitary certificate must not enter on Canadian soil before obtaining the CFIA NISC authorization. If the merchandise is imported through Lacolle border, paper information will be faxed to the NISC and the CBSA release office should be 351, even if the importer is located in Ontario.
NOTE: Please remember that an import permit must be obtained prior to import animal or plant commodities and before the departure of the shipment from the country of origin.
Since October 15, 2007, CBSA requires transactions to be submitted electronically via EDI. A few exceptions may apply. Please refer to CBSA website (Customs Notice 08-009) for more information on these exceptions and the measures to increase the use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) for CBSA Release Purposes: http://cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/cn-ad/cn08-009-eng.html. You will find specific information on CFIA-EDI process under section 4.7 of this document.
The CFIA form 5272 "Request for Documentation Review" must accompany supporting documents for every shipment. All documents submitted must be legible, complete and signed when applicable. It is extremely important that this cover sheet be completed accurately. Lack of information may delay the release of shipment and trigger additional work for all parties involved. Please use the latest version of the "Request for Documentation Review" form which is available on our web site www.inspection.gc.ca, under Quick Links, "Forms and Publications" then under "CFIA Forms". We have added an appendix to this form to explain what information is required.
A Customs transaction number is mandatory for all import requests and should appear on the "Request for Documentation Review" form. The cover sheet will be stamped by the NISC to inform Brokers and CBSA of the CFIA decision. It will also include instructions on how to handle the shipment and relevant documents. (For EDI transactions, please see section 4.7).
Instructions on how to handle the shipment and relevant documents such as original certificates generally appear in the "comments" section. The box located at the bottom right corner of the cover sheet is used exclusively for CFIA stamps and is a clear message for CBSA Officers (i.e. refused, satisfactory, border inspection or refer to D-19-1-1/ AIRS).
NOTE: In some cases, all documents in the entry may be stamped with the CFIA stamp. This does not make any difference for release purposes, as long as the cover sheet is stamped.
The NISC will fax the stamped cover sheet with instructions, and any other necessary documents to the Broker. In addition, an invoice will either be faxed to the Broker (if the Broker's account is being billed) or mailed to your client directly (if your client's account is being billed). Should the invoice be missing from the faxed package, you must call the NISC immediately to obtain one.
If you require additional copies of the invoice or disagree with the amount being charged, please contact the appropriate finance office. The NISC is responsible for generating an invoice when a Request for Documentation Review is presented and Accounts Receivable Service Centre in Moncton is responsible for the monthly summaries. NISC contact phone number is indicated in Appendix I and Accounts Receivable Moncton may be contacted at 1-888-677-2342.
Should an error attributed to CFIA occurs, the error will be corrected by the NISC office. However, should changes or modifications be required due to a Broker/Importer error (i.e. wrong transaction number used, changes in client name and/or account numbers) and to which the request for release has already been approved and transmitted, this will be considered a new entry and will be billed accordingly (see change request form in Appendix III).
NOTE: If you have to fax the Request for Documentation Review form more than once to the NISC, please indicate in the comment box: "Second or third Request...". Otherwise you will receive an invoice for each request sent to the NISC.
"Low Value Shipments" (LVS) being imported via courier companies do not fall under the same CBSA rules as regular commercial shipments. However, imported commodities that requires CFIA-NISC approval according to AIRS, regardless of their value, must be presented with a complete commercial declaration and not under LVS program. They need to be presented to CBSA to be released according to the D-19 Memo and AIRS. CFIA approval is mandatory for high risk commodities when the AIRS tool indicates "Refer to CFIA-NISC". In situations where CBSA inspects parcels containing food, plant or animal products that are not eligible in Canada, those products will be confiscated or seized and ordered to be removed from Canada.
For commodities requiring a CFIA release, you must indicate the airway bill number on the "Request for Documentation Review" form. This will prevent unnecessary delays to the release of your commodity when an inspection is performed in the cargo area.
When AIRS indicates "Refer to CFIA-NISC", you must first obtain CFIA release before the commodity leaves the seaport and moves on Canadian soil. In order to avoid potential delays, it is suggested you obtain the Approval before the vessel arrives at the Canadian seaport. Requesting the release prior to arrival allows CFIA to react to any potential or serious problems in advance. This procedure is also suggested for marine containers transiting the USA via rail or truck and arriving at land borders.
You must ensure the following information is clearly indicated on the Request for Release Approval form: the first point of entry in Canada (Seaport), the CBSA release office (e.g.: 395, 495, 821), the vessel's name, the voyage number and the container number.
Since January 2005, all inspection activities required at the border are performed by CBSA, with the exception of some live animal inspections and situations where a technical or scientific evaluation is required from CFIA. Therefore, some of the CFIA inspectors were transferred to CBSA to pursue activities related to inspection of wood packaging, dunnage, used vehicles, personal and settler's effects and other mandatory inspections on food, plant and animal products at the point of entry.
If you have been informed that your container is on Dock Hold, please follow the instructions received from the CBSA harbour inspection office.
The following is a list of the CBSA harbour offices which deliver inspection activities previously performed by CFIA at the seaports.
|CBSA harbour office||Telephone||Facsimile|
|Port of Halifax||902-426-5460 or e-mail address:
|Port of Saint-John (New Brunswick)||506-636-3517
|Port of Montreal
(7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m)
|Port of Vancouver||604-713-9586||604-713-9844|
|Toronto Container Inspection Unit||905-676-2545||905-676-3804|
Please note that the harbour offices and Toronto Container Inspection Unit are opened from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m (local time) and they are closed during weekends and holidays.
Commodities indicated as "Refer to CFIA" in AIRS must be referred to the CFIA National Import Service Centre or to CFIA animal health inspector (live animals) before leaving the border crossing. This also applies to marine containers and air shipments which arrive at a USA Port and travel overland to enter Canada at a land border crossing. It These same conditions apply to In-Bond shipments needing CFIA approval.
As of April 6, 1998, when more than one broker is involved in the release of a shipment, the different parts of the shipment must be documented separately.
The D-19 Memorandum between CFIA and CBSA allows CBSA Officers to release or dispose of food, plant and animal products at the point of entry according to instructions found in the AIRS tool. Some commodities need the CFIA NISC approval while some others do not need any NISC review.
To avoid unnecessary faxing of documents, please verify if your commodity can be released by CBSA without CFIA approval before you fax the request to the NISC. If NISC receives a request to release for a commodity that can be released directly by CBSA, your request will be stamped with the indication: "CBSA to release as per D-19-1-1/AIRS".
*** This indication is strictly limited to the documentation review and has no reference to inspection or agreement for inspection on the merchandise. ***
CBSA officers are authorized to release some regulated commodities upon presentation of duly completed documentation. Examples of this documentation include an Import Declaration (CFIA-4560) for processed fruits and vegetables, or a Confirmation of Sale (CFIA-3885) for fresh fruits and vegetables. At the time of release, please ensure that there is a copy identified for delivery to CFIA when you present a "paper" request for release to CBSA. Upon releasing the goods, CBSA will forward these documents to CFIA for further verification or product inspection. When the request is transmitted via EDI, the documents should be available to CFIA upon request only. The importer SHALL keep original documents on file for further CFIA inspection and audit purposes.
NOTE: The Import Declaration or Confirmation of sale may need to be faxed to the NISC when a border lookout is placed on commodities like fresh fruit and vegetables and processed products.
To help you determine where to send your Requests for Documentation Review, refer to the messages indicated in the AIRS web site under Recommendations to CBSA / Documentation and Registration Requirements as follows :
*N.B. OGD = Other Government Departments
|Transmission mode:||If the "Recommendations to Customs" are:||Send the request to:|
|PAPER||APPROVED WITH must be accompanied by the following documents/registrations; **Please ensure there is a copy identified for delivery to CFIA at the time of release||CBSA|
|EDI||APPROVED (if HS codes used are in the CFIA HS Codes List. See section 4.7 third paragraph)||CFIA
(OGD Service Options)
|EDI||APPROVED (if HS codes used are NOT in the CFIA HS Codes List)||CBSA|
|EDI||APPROVED WITH "must be accompanied by the following documents/registrations" **Please DO NOT fax copies to the NISC||CFIA
(OGD Service Options)
|PAPER & EDI||CBSA INSPECTION||CBSA|
|PAPER & EDI||NO CFIA REQUIREMENTS||CBSA|
|PAPER & EDI||REFER TO CFIA-NISC||CFIA
(OGD Service Options)
EDI will be rejected
|REFER TO CFIA - VETERINARIAN INSPECTION
(Re: live animals as per AIRS )
at first point of entry
All Requests for Documentation Review forms for EDI transactions must bear the indication "EDI"on the upper right corner of the form and on the stamp box.
The Request for Documentation Review form and all pertinent documents should be faxed first to the NISC, then the request should be transmitted as soon as possible by the EDI. Your reply will be returned only through the electronic system. Depending on the commodity imported, you will receive a copy of the invoice only if you are identified as the payer of the import fee.
NOTE: All "EDI" transactions must be received by the NISC that originally received the faxed documents, PRIOR to the end of their scheduled working hours, in the same day. If this is not possible and to avoid electronic reject message, it is the Broker/Importer responsibility to forward all pertinent documents to the NISC according to the hours of transfer. (see Appendix II)
To help you determine which commodities must be submitted through CFIA service options (RMD-471/PARS-463) please refer to the latest CFIA HS Codes List at : http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/eservices/ogd-amg/hs-sh-eng.html
For more information on the EDI business process, please refer to the Participants Information Document (PID) or contact: the EDI Hotline at 613-773-5322 by phone or by e-mail at EDI-CFIA-ACIA@inspection.gc.ca.
NOTE: To inquire about the status of an EDI transaction, please contact the NISC.
We strongly recommend that you submit your request for release to the CBSA office closest to the first point of entry.
*** Shipments containing CFIA high risk goods have to be authorised by CFIA before they leave the first point of entry. See AIRS indication: "Refer to CFIA"***
Procedures for importation of meat and poultry products are available from the NISC. However we would like to bring the following important points to your attention:
For all meat shipments originating from the U.S.A. that are identified as "skip lots", you are responsible for sending the original certificate (FSIS Form 9135-3) to the NISC. To facilitate the matching of documents you should attach a copy of the corresponding Multi Commodity Activities Program (MCAP) report (first page only) to the original certificate.
For products of US origin, you must not submit any documents for review more than 72 hrs before the shipment arrives at the border. Some verification procedures will be put in place to ensure that this time frame is respected and any delinquencies will be denied the privilege of using the CFIA Pre Arrival Review System (PARS) for importation of meat from the U.S. Shipments arriving after 72 hours will be refused and the shipment will have to be re-certified. This time frame does not apply to meat products from countries other than the U.S..
Generally the only shipments from the U.S. that will be targeted for border inspection by CFIA are the "partial loads". These shipments must be verified to ensure that there is no incompatible material being shipped in the same vehicle. All other shipments, including those certified as unstamped and unmarked will not be referred automatically at the border. However the NISC has the authority to target any shipment for the purpose of verification.
When completing the "Request for Documentation Review form" (CFIA 5272), make sure that all required information is presented and accurate. Especially the information regarding the establishment designated for re-inspection of the product and the final destination of the shipment. No modification to these fields will be allowed after the NISC has sent their decision. The shipment must be presented to the designated establishment as indicated on the form.
For an unmarked meat product shipment, the NISC will reject your request if this information is not available on CFIA 5272 form. For these shipments, a processing establishment number at destination must be provided, an establishment registered as a storage will not be accepted.
Please note that overtime will no longer be provided by the Western ISC for any request for release received after 11:00p.m, Pacific Time (PT) / 2:00a.m., Eastern Time (ET). Should the NISC be unable to process your shipment, they will notify you by fax that your request will have to be re-submitted to the NISC for processing the following morning.
It is important to note that CFIA will release only ONE transaction per meat certificate. Therefore the first transaction received by CFIA that is associated with a particular certificate number will be the only transaction released by CFIA for that certificate. The name of the importer indicated on the meat certificate is the one entered in our Import Control and Tracking System (ICTS).
Importers are required to obtain an import licence issued by CFIA prior to importing commercial shipments of fish and seafood products for human consumption. To avoid problems at the border, please provide a copy of the import licence and other required documents to CBSA officer when requesting release on paper.
Also, within 48 hours of importation, the importer must provide in writing an import notification with the details of the shipment to the appropriate CFIA office (see fax numbers below). Product must not be distributed until the notification is provided to the CFIA office and the indications are received, from the CFIA Fish Inspection Office, for inspection or distribution of the products. This requirement is also mandatory when the Importer/Broker send the information through EDI. A CFIA inspector will contact the importer to arrange for sampling or to release the product without inspection. The proposed end use of each imported product (further processing, institutional use, retail market) must also be indicated on the import notification for the purposes of determining the required analysis and the related fees.
The use of the "Fish Notification Form" is strongly encouraged. You can obtain this form and the instructions on how to complete it at the bottom of the following page: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/fispoi/import/importe.shtml
Since April 1, 2001 all shellfish entries must be reviewed by the NISC prior to release by CBSA. The Request for Documentation Review form must indicate the shipper's name and registration number. See the information on " Importing Live and Raw Molluscan Shellfish" at: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/fispoi/import/molimpe.shtml
We remind you that the Fish Import Notification should be faxed to the nearest CFIA office prior to or within 48 hours of importation. For specific questions, import permits or scientific information, please contact the fish inspection offices.
Import permits must be obtained prior to import of animal or plant commodities that require one. Without a valid import permit presented to the NISC at time of release, the request will be refused and the shipment will be ordered to destroyed or removed from Canada. You must apply before your shipment leaves the country of origin. A permit will not be granted if the shipment has left the country of origin.
NOTE: For plant products the names of the plants listed on your Import Permit MUST match the names of the plants listed on the Phytosanitary Certificate. If the names do not match the shipment and/or the species missing, the shipment will be refused entry and ordered destroyed or removed from Canada.
Four CFIA programs have regulatory requirements for an original document to be presented to CFIA during the import process. They are: the Animal Health, Plant Health, Meat Hygiene and Eggs Programs. You are responsible to provide CFIA NISC with the Original Meat Inspection Certificate (OMIC) for meat shipments with a "skip lot" status. The Certificates must be sent within 10 working days of the release. Original Phytosanitary Certificates must be sent to the NISC within 14 calendar days.
Other original documents such as Zoosanitary, Meat and Eggs Inspection Certificates must accompany the shipment to destination or the inspection facility. Original documents must be available to CFIA inspectors, upon arrival, when requested. These documents are mandatory prior to performing the inspection of the shipments.
NOTE: The original zoosanitary certificates must be kept on file at the importers premises for ten (10) years. CFIA inspector may ask to examine these documents at any time.
The Administrative Monetary Penalties system AMPs, gives the option of issuing penalties for violations of the Health of Animals Act and the Plant Protection Act and their regulations.
The CFIA and now CBSA enforces these Acts. AMPs is a flexible and cost-effective response to violations that do not warrant costly and lengthy court prosecution procedures but are serious enough to pose a risk to our country.
Since June 5, 2000, AMPs also apply to commercial violations of these same laws at border points and beyond. Individuals and companies who bring restricted and prohibited items into the country for sale; who transport animals to market in an inhumane fashion; or who conduct their business in a manner that brings them into conflict with these two acts in any way, will find themselves facing fines of up to $6,000.
Clients requiring general information on food import should be referred to the AIRS tool and to the following documents at CFIA web site: www.inspection.gc.ca under Subjects: Food, then Imports:
- Guide to Importing Food Products Commercially
- Good Importing Practices For Food
- Plus more specific guides
Please use the latest CFIA forms under "Quick links", "Forms/ Publications", then under "CFIA Forms":
3885 - CONFIRMATION OF SALE
4560 - IMPORT DECLARATION
5272 - REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTATION REVIEW
5272 - REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTATION REVIEW - EDI
(NOTE: This form must be use if you are transmitting information electronically)
Permit applications, Registration Requests and other CFIA forms are also available at this address.
National Import Service Centre
7:00 a.m. to 03:00 a.m. (Eastern Time)
Telephone and EDI: 1-800-835-4486 (Canada or U.S.A.)
1-905-795-7834 (local calls and all other countries)
1050 Courtney Park Drive East
IMPORT REQUESTS TRANSMISSION
Remember that commodities requiring NISC release (ie: when AIRS indicates "Refer to CFIA") must be cleared by CFIA at the first point of entry before moving inland or to an inland CBSA bonded warehouse.
EDI releases :
In addition to the above, please ensure that all electronic request for Documentation Review forms bear the indication "EDI" (Form 5272). All pertinent documents should be faxed to the NISC, followed by the EDI transmission. Refer to point 6.3 of the Participant Information document (PID). (Does not apply for MEAT shipments).
Change Request Form
- Date modified: