Chapter 7: Failure to Obtain Approvals from “Other Government Departments and Agencies”

To help ensure that prohibited and controlled goods are not illegally imported into Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency assists other federal government departments and agencies by administering and enforcing legislation and regulations on their behalf.  

These agencies, known as “other government departments (OGDs),” or “partner government agencies (PGAs),” set standards for a wide array of goods including firearms, vehicles, plants, food, live animals, tires, and wood packaging.  In some instances, importation is strictly controlled. In other instances – invasive plants, pornography, modified vehicles — importation is prohibited.

CBSA acts on behalf of the OGDs by ensuring that all required permits, licenses, fees and other OGD authorizations are in place.  A CBSA listing of some of the most frequently imported commodities that may require permits and/or certificates includes:

Canada Post – Items that cannot be imported by mail, e.g. perfumes and perishable items

Canadian Firearms Program – Firearms

Canadian Heritage – Cultural Property

Canadian Food Inspection Agency – Food, plants, animals and related products

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission – Nuclear material, equipment and technology

Competition Bureau – Clothing labels, Packaging and labeling of non-food products

Controlled Goods Program – Goods and technologies that have military or national security significance

Environment and Climate Change Canada – Endangered or threatened species of plants or animals; Hazardous waste; Ozone-depleting substances

Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Aquatic invasive species; Illegal and unreported fishing

Global Affairs Canada – Agricultural products, firearms, goods under trade embargoes, steel

Health Canada – Consumer goods, drugs, food, medical devices, natural health products

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada – Radio communications, telecommunications equipment

National Energy Board – Butane, ethane, electricity, gas, oil, propane

Natural Resources Canada – Explosives including fireworks and ammunition, Diamonds

Public Health Agency of Canada – Human pathogens, bodies and body parts

Transport Canada – Dangerous goods, vehicles and tires.

Compliance mandates can vary from one OGD to another.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) may require import permits for certain types of seed, plant materials and live animals, while Health Canada requires pre-authorization and a permit before a chemical, drug or veterinary drug may be allowed in to the country.

In all instances, it is the importer’s responsibility to determine if a product is subject to OGD regulation, identify the compliance requirements, and ensure that all paperwork is complete and accessible when a shipment arrives at the border.  

Failure to comply could result in a fine, as outlined in CBSA’s Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS), or in a shipment delayed or denied entry outright.  In addition, certain OGDs assess their own non-compliance penalties, for which a business would be liable.


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