Food, Plant and Animal Inspections
Protecting Canada from invasive species

The CBSA plays an active and important role in helping to keep harmful foreign species of animals, plants and microorganisms from entering Canadian ecosystems. With the growing volume of trade, travel and tourism, new invasive species are continually arriving at Canada's border by air, land and water. The deliberate or accidental introductions of these species can be devastating to the Canadian economy and environment. This is one of the reasons why the CBSA conducts inspections of food, plants, animals and related products at the border, for both travellers and commercial importers.


As invasive insects and diseases can exist in firewood, it cannot be imported into Canada without a permit. For more information, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Web site.

Asian carps

An emerging threat to Canada's lakes and waterways is the potential invasion of freshwater fish such as Asian carps through shared waterways with the United States, or through the illegal importation of live fish across our border. Asian carps are considered to be Aquatic Invasive Species in Canada as they represent a significant threat to Canada's aquatic environments because of their devastating impact on indigenous aquatic ecosystems.

The CBSA works closely with federal officials, as well as provincial and territorial authorities, to stop shipments of live Asian carps from entering Canada

For more information, visit the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Web site.

Wood packaging material

Wood packaging material (WPM) import requirements are strict guidelines put in place to protect Canadian forestry from non-native pests found in WPM. Invasive pests can result in economic losses — stemming from eradication and control costs in the millions of dollars, loss of export markets, and loss of Canadian industry and tourism jobs and dollars — as well as irreversible damage of forests and forest ecosystems.

What is wood packaging Material?

The definition of "wood packaging material" is any piece of non-manufactured wood used to brace, support, protect or secure a consignment or cargo. Wood packaging materials include, but are not limited to dunnage, crating, wood boxes, load boards, pallets, wooden wire drums and skids.

Wood packaging products constructed entirely (100%) from manufactured parts: plywood, plastics, cardboard, fibre board and oriented strand board are exempt from Canada's import requirements.

What goods must comply with the import requirements?

In Canada, all non-manufactured WPM used in international trade must be compliant with ISPM 15. It is prohibited to import or move untreated, non-manufactured WPM into or through Canada, unless it originates from the continental U.S.

The entry requirements for wood packaging from all areas except the continental United States are specified in D-98-08: Entry Requirements for Wood Packaging Materials Produced in All Areas Other Than the Continental United States.

Importers should be aware that undeclared or non-compliant wood packaging may be refused entry into Canada and/or be subject to a penalty.

What happens to non-compliant shipments?

Both the shipment and the WPM will be ordered removed from Canada. Under certain conditions, and at the discretion of the CBSA, shipments containing non-compliant WPM may either: (a) be deconsolidated or (b) have the non-compliant WPM separated from the associated cargo and replaced with compliant WPM. Deconsolidation or separation is never an option when there are live wood-boring pests or signs of live wood-boring pests.

If there is evidence of living pests, the WPM will be ordered treated prior to being ordered removed to limit the risk of pest escape. Even if it has been treated, the shipment must be removed from Canada. The importer, or the person in possession or care and control of the shipment, is responsible for all costs associated with the removal (including treatment, if required) of non-compliant WPM.

Need more information? 

For more information on importing wood packaging material, please visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)'s Wood Packaging – Questions and Answers.
For more information on CFIA's other policies relating to the import and export of Canadian forestry products, you may also visit:

Other related references:

Goods potentially contaminated with soil

Soil is a high risk pathway for foreign pests and diseases that can harm Canadian's economy, environment and natural resources. 

All goods found to be contaminated with soil are inadmissible and will be refused entry or ordered removed from Canada. 

All motor vehicles entering Canada are subject to inspection to ensure they are clean and free of pest and or soil. Inspections are subject to fees. If the motor vehicle is not adequately cleaned, there will be an additional cost to the importer to obtain the service of a professional motor vehicle cleaning firm.

For more information, consult the following resources:

Zebra and quagga mussels

Zebra and quagga mussels are freshwater species that can dramatically change entire ecosystems. They are native to Eastern Europe and were introduced to the Great Lakes in the 1980s. Since then, they have become widespread in eastern Canada and the United States (US), but have also recently arrived in the western US and in Manitoba. While not currently known to be present in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Atlantic Provinces, they could survive in much of these waters, causing serious environmental and economic impacts.

How are these species moved across borders?

Unlike mussels native to Canada, zebra and quagga mussels can attach to hard surfaces, allowing them to be moved by boats and equipment trailered between water bodies. These mussels can survive for extended periods out of the water and can be easily overlooked in the smaller juvenile stages when attached to a boat. Their microscopic free-swimming larvae can also survive for up to 30 days in standing water in boats or other equipment.

What do travellers towing watercraft and equipment across borders need to be aware of?

Any vessel, watercraft or piece of equipment that has been in any province or state known or suspected of having zebra or quagga mussels and is not clean (free of these mussels, plants, soil and mud), drained, and to the extent practical, dry, is high risk. Travellers towing watercraft and equipment across borders must ensure that they are not inadvertently transporting zebra or quagga mussels. If CBSA officers suspect the presence of these mussels, authorities will be notified and travellers and their equipment may be refused entry into Canada or required to follow decontamination and/or quarantine procedures.

Need more information?

For more information, please consult the CBSA Memorandum D19-8-5, Import Prohibitions and Requirements for Commercial Importers of Aquatic Species and for Travellers Under the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations and the Fisheries and Oceans Canada web page on Aquatic Invasive Species.

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