ARCHIVED - Change in procedures for obtaining CITES documentation for plants and plant material

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As of August 1, 2015, CITES-related activities for plants certified under a Phytosanitary Certificate will no longer rest with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), but will be transferred to Environment Canada (EC).

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild. EC is the lead government department responsible for the implementation of CITES and, as such, this change supports a more streamlined approach to CITES delivery in Canada.

A transition period will begin May 1, 2015 and end July 31, 2015. During this time, stakeholders may use either the current CFIA process or the new EC process to obtain required CITES documentation. As of August 1, 2015, only the EC process will be in effect and EC permits will be required.

As part of the new process, EC has developed a number of new permits to suit the different categories of applicants. The permit application forms are available on EC's website, along with information documents explaining how to complete and submit the forms and general information on the overall process.

In particular, different permits are now available for single or multiple use:

  • One-offs: Those who require CITES permits on an occasional basis would fill out a permit application form each time a permit is needed. On average, these permits take 20 to 25 calendar days to issue. The "Application for CITES Permit to Export Live Plants" would be used.
  • Multi-use: Those who require CITES permits on a more regular basis or who ship a large volume of plants in a given period can apply to obtain multiple permits for the same plant material. The application form is to be completed when new plant material is expected to be shipped. The applicant must specify the number of shipments expected over the next 6 months. If the number of actual shipments is higher than planned, additional permits can be requested. The permits issued will be valid for 6 months, but a simple renewal can be submitted if the same plant material will be exported after the 6 month period. The same "Application for CITES Permit to Export Live Plants" would be used, with the number of shipments specified in the Shipment section of the application.

Stakeholders are strongly encouraged to begin using the new EC process early in the transition period in order to identify any issues well in advance of August 1. All affected stakeholders are responsible for ensuring that they are aware of how this change will impact the way they obtain their CITES documentation, and should contact either the CFIA or EC with any questions or concerns before the August 1 deadline.

The CFIA has also notified the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Customs and Border Protection of this change.

For any questions or concerns about this change, please contact your local CFIA office or:

Lise Jubinville
Head, Permitting Operations
Environment Canada

or the central CITES office at:

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