October 31, 2023 | Circular No. 11594

Dear Member,

Following up on our Circular Letter 11588, you will find below a summary of the Dunnage Information Session organized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on October 30th.  With an attendance of over 20 participants, the session aimed to deliver insights into the ongoing Shipborne Dunnage Program D-98-08, which sets out new requirements for wood packaging material used as dunnage on board ships entering Canada.  CFIA emphasized that their inspection team has undergone the required training and is fully prepared for the program’s official commencement on November 6.  The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has also been briefed and stands ready to facilitate the program’s implementation.

Outlined below are the key highlights from the session.  Please click here for the presentation.

  • Effective November 6, 2023, the program mandates that dunnage can only be offloaded at designated terminals. Currently, Thunder Bay stands as the sole fully approved terminal for dunnage discharge. Nevertheless, CFIA inspectors retain the discretion to allow discharge at engaged yet not formally “designated” terminals on a case-by-case basis. The aim is to support the industry during the transitional phase without penalizing unapproved discharge.
  • In response to our requests, CFIA outlined five modifications that will be incorporated into an updated version of Directive D-98-08.  More specifically:
    • As vessels must notify CFIA offices 96 hours in advance of discharging dunnage, CFIA will provide contact information for local offices (please click here to view the list). This will be under Appendix 3 of directive D-98-08
    • CFIA has provided a notification template (this is information that has to be submitted in the vessel’s advance 96-hours notice). This will also be under Appendix 3 of the directive D-98-08.  Please see Section 5.2.1 of the Directive.
    • CFIA has clarified Section 5 of the Directive, stating that dunnage used inside containers are not considered shipborne dunnage.
    • CFIA will accept a phytosanitary certificate stating that unmarked pieces in a shipment were cut from appropriately treated and marked pieces of wood.
    • CFIA has added a comprehensive flow-chart illustrating the dunnage management process from terminal to disposal facility in Appendix 9 in the Directive.

CFIA also provided an update on the progress made in designating terminals, highlighting the need for increased engagement from the Atlantic region. They expressed optimism about witnessing more significant developments in the upcoming months. Queries were addressed concerning discharge exceptions and notification procedures, with CFIA reaffirming the flexibility offered during the initial implementation phase. They reiterated their commitment to supporting terminals in obtaining approvals and permits efficiently. Stakeholders were encouraged to reach out to CFIA offices for any implementation-related queries or concerns.

Please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned if you require any further clarification or information.


Farah Ahmad
Coordinator, Marine Operations