AIRS tutorial (video)

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements are being phased in over the following 12 to 30 months. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

Want to know if you can bring an item into Canada?

CFIA regulates the import of thousands of commodities including food, plants, animals and other items. Some regulated commodities require certain documents or registrations before they will be allowed into Canada.

To avoid delays at the border, find the latest import requirements in the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) database.

This tutorial will show you how to use the AIRS database to determine the requirements for importing a regulated commodity into Canada.

Let's get started.

Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) Tutorial – Transcript

[Text on screen: CFIA Safeguarding with Science]

CFIA regulates the import of thousands of commodities including food, plants, animals and other items.

Some regulated commodities require certain documents or registrations before they will be allowed into Canada.

To avoid delays at the border, find the latest import requirements in the Automated Import Reference System commonly known as AIRS.

[Text on screen: AIRS Tutorial: Automated Import Reference System]

Welcome to the tutorial for the Automated Import Reference System.

[Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) homepage.]

In the next few minutes, you will learn how to use AIRS to:

[Import Requirements main page.]

  • Search for the import requirements for a regulated item, and, find the information you need to complete your import declaration; and,
  • Find the information you need to complete your import declaration.
<>There are different ways to search. However, each search method will lead you to the same result.

[Yellow circle highlight [Find by Commodity:].]

For example, you can search by commodity name or Harmonized System or HS code.

[Yellow circle highlight [Select by Drill-down:]]

You can also use the drill down menu.

Let's look more closely at a couple of these options.

[Text on screen: Search by Commodity]

[Import Requirements main page. Click [Search Bar]. Type [fresh apple]. Yellow arrow points to search box. Click [Search]. Text [The search could not be completed.] appears in red and yellow circle highlight.]

To search by commodity name, type the name of the item you wish to import in the blank box on the screen and click Search.

[Click [Start Over]. Click [Search Bar]. Type [apples]. Click [Search]. New results appear at bottom. Page scroll down.]

A search that does not produce any results does not necessarily mean the commodity is not regulated. When there are no matches found, start over and broaden your search parameters with a more general search term.

[Show search results. Page scroll down. Click [View].]

The search will bring up every result that contains your key words. Select the result that best describes the item you wish to import and click the View button.

[Yellow circle highlight [HS Description]. Cursor moves to arrows. Yellow circle highlight [arrow]. A drop down menu appears.]

You will now see a high level description of the item that you can use to drill down further. By selecting a product, you have already narrowed down your selection as reflected under HS Description section. To narrow your search down further, select the arrow for the drill-down box.

[Click [Start Over].]

Let's start over and explore finding your item by using the drill down menu.

[Text on screen: Search by Drill-down menu]

[Yellow circle highlight [arrow]. Click [Arrow]. drop down menu appears.]

Start by clicking the down arrow to the right of the rectangular box.

[Cursor scroll through list. Click [08_Edible fruits and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melons].]

From here, select the most appropriate description of your item. Using the example of fresh apples, choose 08 edible fruit and nuts, peel of citrus fruit or melons.

[Yellow circle highlight [Go]. Click [Go]. Refreshed page appears. Click [Arrow]. Drop down menu appears.]

Now click Go to continue. The system will continue to prompt you for specific details until all the necessary information is collected.

[Cursor scroll through drop down menu. Click [08_ Apples, pears and quinces, fresh]. Yellow circle highlight [Back]. Click [Go]. Drop down menu appears.]

Remember to click the Go button after choosing each selection. If you make a mistake at any time, click the BACK button to return to the previous screen.

[Click [Arrow]. Click [10 Apples (fresh)]. Click [Go]. Page refresh. Click [Arrow].Click [4001_Apples (fresh)].]

Once again, you will be prompted by the menu to drill down further. Choose the item that fits your needs.

Follow the prompts provided in the drill down menu. Let's demonstrate:

[Page Refresh. Click [Arrow]. Click [United States]. Click [Go].]

Choose United States for the Origin.

[Page scroll down. Click [Arrow]. [California]. Click [Go].]

Then choose California.

[Page Refresh. Page scroll down. Click [Arrow]. Click [British Columbia]. Click [Go].]

Select British Columbia for the destination, and

[Page Refresh. Page scroll down. Click [Arrow]. Click [Human consumption]. Click [Go].]

Human consumption for the end use.

[Page Refresh. Page scroll down. Click [Arrow]. Click [Container weighing less than 200kg]. Click [Go]. Page Refresh.]

Finally, select container weighing less than 200 kilograms.

[Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Summary of Requirements Page. Yellow circle highlight [Summary of Requirements]. Page scroll down.]

Once you've answered all the questions in the drill down menu, the system will show you a summary of requirements. This is the information you need to complete your import declaration.

[Page scroll down.]

This information will include: the release recommendation, as well as any document and registration requirements, such as permits, certificates, or licences.

[Page scroll down. Zoom in. Yellow circle Highlight [Refuse Entry]. Scroll down.]

You can also view any special instructions, conditions or additional information relating to the product you want to import. If you are not able to import the specified item, this page will say "Refuse entry" under the "Recommendations to CBSA/Documentation and Registration Requirements" section.

[Yellow circle highlight [Print]. Page changes Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Summary of Requirements.]

From here, you may print the results or go to the top of the page to start over or begin a new search.

[Yellow circle highlight [OGD PARS/RMD].]

If you are a commercial importer or broker, you may now select the service option that is most relevant to your declaration method.

[Yellow circle highlight [OGD PARS/RMD].]

The button on the left, labelled "OGD PARS/RMD", is for Other Government Department Pre-Arrival Review System and Release on Minimum Documentation.

[Yellow circle highlight [IID].]

The button on the right, labelled "IID", is for Integrated Import Declaration.

[Click [IID]. Integrated Import Declaration (IID) Page Appears. Page scroll down.]

Once you choose an option, you will receive a complete summary of the documents and registration requirements to import your shipment into Canada.

[Scroll up. Yellow circle highlight [Transfer to AIRS User Guide].]

Congratulations! You have successfully used the Automated Import Reference System to get the information you need to submit your import declaration. For more information on AIRS please refer to the AIRS User Guide.

[Text on screen: www.inspection.ca.ca/stay-connected]

Stay informed about AIRS and other CFIA programs and services by following CFIA on social media or subscribing to email updates.

[Text on screen: Canada Wordmark. © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), 2018.]

For more information on AIRS or about importing into Canada, please refer to one of these resources:

Date modified: