Guidelines for the Phytosanitary Certification of Lumber for Export

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The export of some Canadian lumber products including green lumber, manufactured homes, log homes, and other constructed lumber products may require official certification to verify that the products have been officially inspected or tested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to verify freedom from specified pests and diseases prior to export to meet the specific phytosanitary requirements of the importing country. Similarly, treatments of lumber products may require CFIA verification to ensure that actions have appropriately resulted in removal pests or diseases. This process of official inspection or verification is required for the issuance of phytosanitary certificates.

The CFIA, mandated by the Plant Protection Act and Plant Protection Regulations, carries out these inspection and certification activities to verify conformance with the import conditions of the country to which the products are destined and thereby to facilitate the export of Canadian commodities. To ensure that inspection occurs in a timely, efficient manner, in conformance with the standards established by the Government of Canada for employees working in the public service and within the import standards of the importing country; the following conditions for inspection should be observed by exporters:

  1. Contact a local office of the CFIA well in advance (2-4 weeks) of the date of exportation to determine the requirements of the importing country. Requirements can change frequently and as such exporters should continue to check with a local office prior to export. Local offices are listed at:
  2. Inspection and phytosanitary certification is an official government to government process with significant limitations as to what can be provided on phytosanitary certificates. Consult CFIA's "Policy on the Issuance of Phytosanitary Certificates, D-99-06" for details.
  3. Allow sufficient time for CFIA inspection staff to be able to attend the inspection. Scheduling inspections in advance (3 to 4 days) of the date of exportation is likely to avoid shipment delays or additional inspection costs.
  4. Shipments should be assembled in an convenient location for inspection. If shipments are dispersed throughout a loading area, warehouse or holding area, the exporter should ensure that they are available to locate the items for the inspector(s).
  5. Inspector(s) must be able to inspect a sufficient proportion of the shipment to ensure that the conditions of export have been met. As such, exporters must provide to the inspector reasonable assistance in the carrying out of their inspection duties. This may include: moving lumber packages to allow the inspector sufficient space to inspect them, providing sufficient light or other tools or services to carry out the inspection effectively.
  6. The CFIA is responsible for the safety of inspection staff. As such, CFIA inspection staff are not permitted to enter situations that they feel may result in their injury or death. Exporters are therefore required to provide a safe environment within which inspections may occur. Lumber packages stacked at heights greater than 10ft. may be required to be lowered or other conditions may have to be met (e.g. ladders provided, etc.)
  7. Depending on the requirements of the importing country, the lumber commodity may be required to meet one or more of the following conditions prior to inspection:
Requirements of the Importing Country Inspection Standard Requirements to be Met by the Exporter
Kiln Dried Lumber must have been dried to a moisture content not exceeding 19% in a kiln that reached a temperature of 56°C for at least 30 minutes
  1. If the kiln is registered in the Canadian Heat Treated Wood Products Certification Program the exporter must provide a heat treatment certificate.
  2. If the kiln is not registered the exporter must produce documentation verifying treatment (including kiln records, invoices, etc.)
  3. The exporter must ensure that any requirements for marking (e.g. "Kiln Dried" on package wrapper, etc.) are met.
Heat Treated Lumber must have been heated to a temperature of 56°C at the core of the wood for at least 30 minutes
  1. Facility must be registered in the Canadian Heat Treated Wood Products Certification Program and the exporter must provide a heat treatment certificate.
  2. The exporter must ensure that any requirements for marking (e.g. "HT" on wood, etc.) are met.)
Free of Bark Lumber must not contain any bark
  1. Exporter should ensure that the lumber does not contain any bark. A single piece the size of a credit card will result in CFIA being unable to certify the shipment or lot.
Debarked The lumber has gone through a mechanical debarking process
  1. Some bark is tolerated.
Free of signs of insects or diseases The lumber has no evidence that insects have infested the wood
  1. The lumber presented must be free of insect bore holes, insect frass (sawdust produced by insect feeding), stains, etc.
Free of live insects or diseases The lumber has no live organisms within it
  1. The lumber presented must be free of live wood boring beetles, bark beetles, surface insects, incidental insects that may be attracted to safety of the packaging, etc..

Not all lumber exports require official phytosanitary certification. Some countries recognize the CHTWPCP, others have no phytosanitary requirements.

For questions regarding this update, please contact a local office of the CFIA.

Originally issued January 13, 2005 (Notice to Industry)

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