AVS Frequently Asked Questions

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Is there a fee associated with AVS?

AVS is a free service provided to industry by CFIA. Although this is a free service, all AVS users must be registered with CFIA and a web key is required to gain access the service.

What is a "web key" and how do I get one?

A web key is your unique identifier and acts as your access key to AVS. Web keys should not be shared with anyone. Web keys are obtained by contacting the CFIA AVS primary contact.

Does a web key expire?

No. A web key does not expire; it can, however, be disabled by CFIA.

What if I lose my web key or what if my web key has been compromised?

If you misplace your web key, or if your web key has been compromised, please contact the CFIA AVS contact immediately to deactivate your old web key and to activate a new web key for your brokerage.

When is AVS available?

AVS officially launched on January 4, 2010. As with CFIA's AIRS Query tool, AVS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
* Please note, AVS will follow the same maintenance schedule as CFIA's AIRS Query. Messages are sent to advise industry of down times via CFIA's free email notification service available at www.inspection.gc.ca *

How do I send information to AVS?

AVS uses XML formatting to exchange information. The specifications, including format for transmission, have been outlined in the technical specifications document which is available by contacting the CFIA AVS primary contact.

How many lines can AVS process in one transaction?

AVS is programmed to accept up to 400 lines per transaction.

Why can AVS only process 400 lines when EDI processes 999 lines?

AVS cannot produce response without timing out beyond 400 lines. In order to maintain optimum performance, the limit on an AVS submission must remain at 400 commodities or less.

Why has CFIA provided AVS and not an AIRS data dump?

Due to the frequency of changes to AIRS requirements, importers/brokers would be required to constantly download updates. There is an insurmountable number of possible combinations in AIRS and the size of the file for an AIRS data dump would be in excess of 5,106,636,534 kb. It would be necessary to re-download this file after every AIRS publication and therefore was deemed unfeasible at this time.

If I use AVS do I still need to use AIRS?

Yes. AIRS houses CFIA import requirements whereas AVS will only validate codes sent in an XML message. AVS will determine which line in a transaction is missing, or which line contains invalid information. AIRS will provide the most up to date codes necessary for an EDI transaction. It is strongly suggested that AIRS be consulted in order to determine CFIA import

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