Over the last few months we have received a number of questions from new members relating to the importation of new produce types not normally seen in Canada and what to do about it. In one situation the product was refused entry by CFIA and the importer was left trying to find another destination for the product. The first thing we suggest is doing some basic research: finding the latin name for the plant, the genus and species can be extremely helpful; has your supplier exported the product before, if so, what HS code have they applied to the product; does the product have multiple common names, etc.
With this information, you should now be able to use the CFIA’s Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) to find out if it is allowed into Canada from your source country. If you see “Approved” that is great news and you can import the product subject to potential requirements; however, if you see “refuse entry” this means that your product will not be allowed entry into Canada. Regardless, of the AIRS status, take time to read through the conditions, sometimes you may require an import permit, a phytosanitary inspection from the exporting country, or maybe even a Plant Health Risk Assessment.
If you cannot find the product in AIRS, give DRC a call, contact CFIA or contact a broker.