Ottawa, May 4, 2022
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This memorandum has been updated as a result of Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) decisions on the classification of rubber medical examination gloves, which confirm the requirements of conditional relief of the specified tariff items.
This memorandum outlines the CBSA’s interpretation of the expression “to be employed in a noxious atmosphere” throughout the Customs Tariff.
Departmental Consolidation of the Customs Tariff
3926.20.10 - - - Protective suits and their accessories (including gloves), to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
3926.90.10 - - - Respirators, consisting of several layers of nonwovens of man-made fibres, whether or not treated with activated carbon, with or without an exhalation valve, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
4015.19.10 - - - Protective gloves to be employed with protective suits in a noxious atmosphere;
4015.90.10 - - - Protective suits and parts thereof, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6113.00.10 - - - Protective suits, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6117.90.10 - - - Of protective suits, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6210.10.10 - - - Protective suits, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6210.40.10 - - - Protective suits, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6210.50.10 - - - Protective suits, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6217.90.10 - - - Of protective suits to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6307.90.10 - - - Respirators, NIOSH approved or equivalent, consisting of several layers of nonwovens of man-made fibres, whether or not treated with activated carbon, with or without an exhalation valve, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere
Guidelines and General Information
1. The term “noxious atmosphere” has the same scope in every tariff item in which it occurs.
2. Each of the tariff items listed in the legislation must first meet the terms of the headings and subheadings under which they fall.
3. The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT), in its decision in AMD Ritmed Inc. v. the President of the Canada Border Services Agency (AP-2014-013-/015) (referred as AMD Ritmed in this memorandum) established that a hospital falls within the term “noxious atmosphere” as many serious and even life-threatening types of infection are present in a hospital setting.
4. The decision also confirmed that isolation gowns are a protective suit as it protects parts of the body from exposure to infections. The CBSA also recognizes single use coveralls, single use aprons and disposable lab coats as protective suits.
What is a “noxious atmosphere”?
5. In AMD Ritmed, the CITT examined the definitions of noxious atmosphere, as indicated below:
- Noxious: harmful, injurious (noxious fumes), synonyms: poisonous, virulent, toxic, harmful.
- Atmosphere: the air in a particular place, especially if unpleasant.
6. The CITT found that noxious atmosphere does not only include “life-threatening environments… that legally require specific protective apparel to be worn.”, but also includes environments that are “potentially harmful to life, injurious to health and/or fatal.”
7. Examples of noxious atmospheres include:
- Medical or health care environments (e.g., hospitals, doctor’s offices, dental offices, environments to which emergency response teams or first responders are deployed, residential care homes, long term care institutional facilities, medical and veterinary clinics) which can be contaminated with microorganisms that are considered harmful to human health; or
- Potentially life-threatening, environments (e.g., radioactive atmospheres, bio-safety containment level 4 laboratories) that legally require specific protective apparel to be worn, as well as injurious to health and/or fatally suspended airborne particle environments, such as building sites where asbestos is being installed or removed, and areas where sulfur dioxide gas, or vaporized sulphuric acid, are present.
8. The noxious substance or contaminant may be in the air, in a gas, in a liquid/fluid, on/in a surface/object, or in an infected host organism (e.g., human, plant or animal).
9. Mildly uncomfortable environments or minor conditions (e.g., rain, cold, mud, minor electric shock) are excluded as noxious atmosphere.
Goods to be employed in a noxious atmosphere
10. Goods typically worn by health care workers as personal protective equipment (PPE) will qualify for classification under one of the applicable tariff provisions only if they meet the terms of the heading, subheading and tariff item and are not more specifically classified elsewhere.
11. For example, as discussed in CITT decision Cardinal Health Canada Inc. v. President of the Canada Border Services Agency (referred subsequently as Cardinal Health) (AP-2018-038), subheading 4015.11 specifically provides for surgical gloves of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber; therefore surgical gloves of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber cannot be classified under subheading 4015.19, which includes tariff item 4015.19.10 (“Protective gloves to be employed with protective suits in a noxious atmosphere”).
12. The use of PPE goods is recognized internationally as critical control measures to help mitigate against the transmission of infection, disease and other life-threatening hazards.
PPE standards and/or technical specifications
13. The World Health Organization (WHO), the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) and the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other internationally recognized health and safety organizations have guidelines and recommendations with respect to the use of PPE in managing the risks posed by hazards found in noxious atmosphere, including infection prevention and control.
14. A list of safety standard designations are provided in Appendix A - Table of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Goods and Standards and/or Technical Specification Requirements.
15. A list of recognized certifying bodies is provided in Appendix B - Table of Recognized Certifying Bodies for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
16. A Health Canada licence for a Class II medical device will be considered equivalent to certification by an internationally recognized standards body.
17. Tariff items providing for goods “to be employed in a noxious atmosphere” are considered to be conditional relief provisions; this means that duties are relieved only if the condition(s) of relief are met.
18. As confirmed by the CITT decisions of Cardinal Health (AP-2018-038) and AMD Medicom Inc (AP-2018-044), in addition to meeting PPE standards/specifications, (see paragraph 12 above), goods must also actually satisfy the specified use. As such, it must be proven that the qualifying goods will be employed in a noxious atmosphere and not simply intended for that purpose.
19. For example, plastic disposable gloves imported by, or imported and sold to spas, nail salons, hair salons or the food service industry would not qualify as gloves to be employed in a noxious atmosphere under tariff item 3926.20.10 because they will not be employed in a potentially life-threatening, injurious to health, and/or fatal environment.
20. Classification in these tariff items requires sufficient evidence to establish that the goods will be employed in a noxious atmosphere, by means of proper imported goods records, as is required by the Imported Goods Records Regulations (SOR/86-1011), as well as requires that the goods meet the PPE standards/specifications.
21. For example, purchase orders, invoices to or end-use certificates from, the ultimate consumer are not necessary documents, but are considered to be sufficient evidence to satisfy the end-use condition.
22. An invoice to an intermediary wholesaler is not sufficient proof of an end-use condition, since they in turn may sell the goods to various other buyers. However, an invoice from an intermediary wholesaler to the buyer(s) could support evidence of a qualifying end use (for example, where the buyer is a hospital). The importer must provide sufficient evidence that the ultimate consignee would be employing the good in a noxious atmosphere.
23. The importer may also provide some other evidence that indicates the goods were actually made for and marketed exclusively for use in a noxious atmosphere, for example, in hospitals, laboratories, or other potentially life-threatening industrial environments.
24. The proper imported goods records must be made available to the CBSA, upon request from an officer during a post-release verification, or submitted when filing a form B2, Canada Customs-Adjustment Request.
25. Please refer to Memorandum D11-8-5, Conditional Relief Tariff Items for details on importing goods subject to conditional relief.
26. For certainty regarding the tariff classification of a product, importers may request an advance ruling on tariff classification. Details on how to make a request for a tariff classification advance ruling are found in CBSA Memorandum D11-11-3, Advance Rulings for Tariff Classification, which is found on the CBSA website.
27. For more information, call contact the CBSA Border Information Service (BIS):
Calls within Canada & the United States (toll free): 1-800-461-9999
Calls outside Canada & the United States (long distance charges apply):
1-204-983-3550 or 1-506-636-5064
Contact Us online (webform)
Contact Us at the CBSA website
Table of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Goods and Standards and/or Technical Specification Requirements to Qualify “To Be Employed In a Noxious Atmosphere”
The following is a table of standards that apply to various types of personal protective equipment (PPE) for which there are related “to be employed in a noxious atmosphere” conditional relief tariff items.
The standards listed below are not exhaustive; other standards or technical specifications may qualify if it can be demonstrated that the alternative standard is recognized as equivalent to a standard listed in the table.
|PPE Good||Standard/technical specification|
|Gloves, except surgical gloves - disposable, single use||
EU Regulation 2017/745 (former EU Council Directive 93/42/EEC), EN 455;
|Surgical or Isolation gowns - disposable, single use||
|Coveralls – disposable, single use||
|Aprons – disposable, single use, waterproof||ANSI/AAMI PB70|
|Particulate respirator (including single use, disposable masks that form a seal around the mouth and nose)||
|Lab coats – disposable, single use||
Table of Recognized Certifying Bodies for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
|American Association of Textile Chemists and Colourists||AATCC|
|American Society for Testing Materials||ASTM|
|American National Standards Institute||ANSI|
|Association for the Advancement of Medical Instruments||AAMI|
|Canadian General Standards Board||CGSB|
|Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety||CCOHS|
|Canadian Standards Association||CSA|
|Center for Disease Control||CDC|
|Conformité Européen (English « European Conformity »)||CE|
|European Economic Community||EEC|
|International Standards Organization||ISO|
|National Institute of Occupation Safety and Health||NIOSH|
|National Fire Protection Association||NFPA|
- Issuing office:
- Trade and Anti-dumping Programs Directorate
- Headquarters file:
- HS 3926, HS 4015, HS 6113, HS 6117, HS 6210, HS 6217, HS 6307
- Legislative references:
- Departmental Consolidation of the Customs Tariff
- Other references:
- Superseded memorandum D:
- D10-15-26 dated September 17, 2019
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