Online buying, selling and trading of plants and other organisms

E-commerce has opened up beneficial opportunities for both buyers and sellers. However, it has also increased risks to Canada's agriculture, forests and the environment. Potentially harmful organisms such as invasive plants, seeds and insects, as well as commodities or articles capable of carrying or spreading these pests, can easily be offered for sale and purchased from anywhere in the world.

E-commerce Requirements

The same requirements that apply to traditional types of commerce apply to online buying and trading of plants and other organisms. Through the Plant Protection Act, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has Plant Protection Regulations to prevent the import, export and spread of pests in Canada. Before your next purchase, sale or trade, ensure that you are following these requirements.

Import

Import requirements apply to all regulated goods entering Canada, no matter why or how they enter (for example, by mail, courier, boat or vehicle). For more information, please see Importing plants and plant products: what you need to know. Requirements for importing specific items can be found in the CFIA's Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) and from cfia.airs-sari.acia@canada.ca.

Domestic Movement

The CFIA regulates the domestic movement of certain organisms and commodities that may harbour these organisms. Please see the domestic plant protection measures for more information.

Export

Before exporting products from Canada, make sure they meet the import requirements of the receiving country. Exporting products that do not meet the phytosanitary laws of the importing country is an offence under the Plant Protection Act.

Failure to comply with requirements

These requirements help protect Canada's forests and plants. Failure to comply with requirements under the Plant Protection Act may result in compliance and enforcement action being taken by the CFIA, such as:

  • an order to treat, destroy or remove a product or shipment from Canada
  • monetary penalties
  • prosecution

Contact us

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