February 9, 2024 | Circular No. 11629

Dear Member,

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has provided this notification which serves as an annual reminder of the program requirements for vessels which have called on areas regulated for FSMC and are subsequently travelling to North American ports.  Please note that there are no policy changes for 2024, and the current certification requirements and penalties continue to apply.

As a reminder:

  • The high-risk period for FSMC begins on March 1st for the West Coast and March 15th for the East Coast. The high-risk period ends on September 15 for all Canadian ports.  We will email another reminder of these dates closer to the time.
  • These requirements apply to vessels that have visited the regulated ports during specific risk periods found on Table 1 of the attached notification either in the current year, or in the year immediately preceding the current year.
  • Vessels must be inspected and obtain certification from a recognized entity before they leave high-risk ports.
  • Agents must notify CFIA of a vessel’s arrival 96 hours in advance of arriving in Canadian waters with::
    • A summary of the ports called upon by the vessel for the past two years;
    • A copy of an approved phytosanitary certificate or pre-departure inspection certificate issued by a recognized entity before the vessel departs the high risk ports. Please refer to Appendix 4 of CFIA Directive 95-03 for the list of recognized sources of phytosanitary certificates and pre-departure inspection certificates.
  • Vessels arriving without advance notification and/or certification are considered non-compliant and are subject to enforcement action. A vessel calling on a Canadian port for a second time without the required certification may be refused entry to Canada.
  • Vessels must arrive in North American ports free from FSMC and CFIA recommends that: “Crew maintain good ship cleaning practices such as minimizing rust, storing excess equipment and clearing debris from the outer decks of vessels (…) This helps to minimize sheltered surface area where egg masses may be deposited, and also improves the efficacy of the FSMC certification inspection and vessel self-inspection.”
  • Upon inspection, if an inspector is not satisfied that the risk of introducing FSMC has been mitigated, the vessel will be ordered out of Canadian waters and refused entry for up to 2 years during the FSMC risk period for Canada or until the ship meets the requirements specified in Section 2.1 of Directive D-95-03.  At a CFIA inspector’s discretion, a non-compliant vessel may be permitted to conduct a clean-up outside Canadian waters. Once cleaning is complete, the vessel may be allowed to return to Canadian waters for re-inspection at a designated offshore inspection site. If an inspector is satisfied that the risk of introducing FSMC has been mitigated, the vessel may then be allowed to proceed to a Canadian port.
  • It is important to note that both the valid certification and a report from US CBP, SAG Chile or MPI NZ are required for the vessel to be permitted to proceed to port without CFIA inspection. Marine vessels which have visited a regulated area and present a valid Phytosanitary Certificates or other approved certificate(s) (as per Appendix 4 of Directive D-95-03) and that are found free of FSMC after phytosanitary inspection by authorities in the United States (U.S.), Chile or New Zealand may enter a Canadian port without inspection, provided that the original confirmation of inspection carried out by U.S., Chilean or New Zealand authorities is presented as part of the pre-arrival documentation.

Please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned if you have any questions.


Farah Ahmad,
Coordinator, Marine Operations