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Interim guidance: Sending food export certificates to foreign countries during COVID-19

Introduction

Sending original paper export certificates and related annexes or any other Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued export documents to foreign country border control points continues to be the preferred practice.

The COVID-19 pandemic may impact the availability of courier services to the destination country and/or the availability of border control employees to accept paper certificates. In response, some countries have indicated they are willing to accept, or even prefer, scanned export certificates and associated documents sent by email instead of paper certificates sent by courier.

The process below is temporary until the impacts of COVID-19 are resolved and describes how to send an export certificate in an alternate format if sending the original paper certificate is not possible.

Since countries vary in what and how they will accept alternate formats of export certificates, Annex 1 and 2 of this process provide the specific options and requirements for each country.

Roles in the process

Exporters and brokers

Continue to send paper export certificates as per normal procedures.

In exceptional circumstances where the paper certificate cannot be sent, follow the process below and the country specific requirements to either email your local CFIA inspector to send the scanned certificate (Annex 1 countries) or send the scanned certificate to the Foreign Competent Authority yourselves (Annex 2 countries).

Retain the original paper certificates carefully and submit them to the Foreign Competent Authority as soon as possible or when the COVID-19 situation improves. CFIA will not replace lost original paper certificates at a later date.

CFIA inspectors

Work directly with exporters to:

CFIA headquarters

Forward scanned certificates to foreign competent authority as per the requirements of the importing country.

Process to send scanned export certificates

  1. Trigger: You, as the exporter or broker, encounter a circumstance where, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not possible to send the original paper copy of the export certificate to the foreign competent authority.
  2. Refer to Annex 1 and Annex 2 for available alternate processes to send export certificates. The information in these annexes is subject to change by importing countries without advance notice. Consult this guidance regularly and check with your importer to determine the most up-to-date information.
  3. For countries listed in Annex 1: These countries require scanned export certificates to be sent directly from CFIA to the foreign competent authority. The CFIA is sending scanned versions of export certificates as a temporary measure to facilitate trade and is not liable if foreign competent authorities does not accept scanned copies of the certificates.
    1. Contact your local CFIA inspector and request in writing for CFIA to send the scanned certificate to the foreign competent authority.

      Rules for email requests to inspectors

      1. Each email request and included attachments must be for a single port of entry within a specific country of destination (that is, do not send multiple export certificates for various countries or different port of entries in one email).
      2. Subject line must include the destination country name, number of export certificates requested, and the current date (for example, "South Africa – three certificates – Apr 20 2020").
      3. Email must include justification for why delivery of a scanned certificate is needed.
      4. Email must include the destination port of entry for countries where required in Annex 1.

      Rules for certificate scans

      1. Certificate scans must be in PDF format.
      2. Scans must be in colour with legible text and numbers. If the quality of the scanned version are not clear, it may result in delay in sending the scanned certificates or clearance of shipments.
      3. One certificate and any associated documents/Annex(s) per PDF file.
      4. Each PDF file name must include country name; export certificate number and date of certification (for example, "South Africa – Cert. No. 123456 – Apr 20 2020").
    2. The CFIA inspector will need to verify the authenticity of the scanned export certificate (for example, by comparing the scan to the original certificate) and will then forward the email and destination information to CFIA headquarters.
    3. CFIA headquarters will send the certificate to the foreign competent authority. A confirmation will be sent back to the CFIA inspector that sent the request.
  4. For countries listed in Annex 2: These countries will accept a scan of export certificates sent directly by email from the exporter/broker/importer to the foreign competent authority.
    1. Consult Annex 2 for country specific requirements and acceptable format of the export certificate.
    2. Consult with your importer to verify the information is current and directly send the export certificate to the importer and/or the foreign competent authority.
  5. For countries not listed in Annex 1 or Annex 2: Original certificates continue to be a requirement for clearance of shipments or consult with your importer to determine if the destination country will accept an alternative to the paper copy of the certificate and, if so, any special instructions they may have on how to send the alternate version.
  6. For all countries, retain the original certificates carefully and submit to the foreign competent authority as soon as possible or when the COVID-19 situation improves.
  7. For any questions or issues, including replacement certificates or changes to destination, please work with your local CFIA office, your importer and the foreign competent authority of the destination country as needed.

Annex 1: List of countries that will accept scanned versions of export certificates directly from CFIA

Country Food commodities in scope Optional or mandatory scanned certificates Delivery address
European Union All foods

Optional

Paper copies are preferred

Scanned PDF versions accepted when not possible to send paper certificates

Specific port of entry must be provided.

Israel Food of animal origin

Optional

Paper copies are preferred

Scanned PDF versions accepted when not possible to send paper certificates

Specific port of entry must be provided; one of these three:
  • Ashdod port
  • Haifa port
  • Ben Gurion port
Japan Food of Animal Origin

Optional

Paper copies are preferred

Scanned PDF versions accepted when not possible to send paper certificates

Specify to country level; port of entry details optional.
South Africa Food of animal origin

Mandatory

Scanned PDF versions of export health certificates sent by the CFIA

Specify to country level; port of entry details optional.
Taiwan Food of animal origin

Optional

Paper copies are preferred

Scanned PDF versions accepted when not possible to send paper certificates

Specify to country level; port of entry details optional.
Turkey All foods

Optional

Paper copies are preferred

Scanned PDF versions accepted when not possible to send paper certificates

Specific province where the shipment inspection will occur must be provided. Refer to list in Annex 3.

Obtain information on within which province the shipment inspection will occur from your Turkish importer.

Philippines Food of animal origin

Mandatory

Scanned PDF versions of export health certificates sent by the CFIA

Specify to country level; port of entry details optional.
United Kingdom (UK) Animal products and food

Optional

Paper copies are preferred

Scanned PDF versions accepted when not possible to send paper certificates

Specify to country level; port of entry details optional.
Dubai All Foods

Optional

Paper copies are preferred

Scanned PDF versions accepted when not possible to send paper certificates

Specify to country level; port of entry details optional.
Korea Processed Foods, Livestock Products, Fishery Products

Optional

Paper copies are preferred

Scanned PDF versions accepted when not possible to send paper certificates

Specify to country level; port of entry details optional.

Annex 2: List of countries that will accept scanned version of export certificates from exporter/broker/importer

Country Food commodities in scope Optional or mandatory scanned certificates Delivery address
Mexico Food of animal origin

Optional

Paper copies are preferred

Scanned PDF versions accepted when not possible to send paper certificates

Canadian exporters can forward PDF scans of certificates to their importers in Mexico. Mexican importers will be responsible for sending the scans to SENASICA, along with a letter of intent to provide the original certificate within 15 days after the end of the contingency period.
Russian Federation Food of animal origin

Optional

Paper copies are preferred

Scanned PDF versions accepted when not possible to send paper certificates

Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance notification-ca@fsvps.ru.

Annex 3: List of provinces for Turkey where shipment inspection may occur

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