February 20, 2023 | Circular No. 11496

Dear Member,

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has published the revised directive (D-98-08 Entry requirements for wood packaging material into Canada) which includes the new shipborne dunnage program coming into effect July 6th, 2023.  Currently, all marine dunnage in Canada is considered non-compliant and unable to be discharged in Canadian ports.  While there are a few ports with Regional CFIA approval to allow dunnage discharge, there is no national standard.  This new policy is CFIA’s response to industry request for a nationally consistent approach to dunnage discharge from break-bulk vessels in Canadian ports.

The basic elements of the policy are:

  • Shipowners/agents are responsible to notify CFIA their intention to discharge dunnage prior to entering Canadian waters.
  • Dunnage can be discharged at any port in Canada where there is an import permit in place with the CFIA
  • To obtain an import permit, any Canadian individual or corporation must have a CFIA approved and audited Preventative Control Plan (PCP) outlining procedures to safely monitor the discharge of marine dunnage.
  • This policy allows for terminals/stevedores/other 3rd party service providers to offer dunnage discharge as value added service.

The Federation has worked very closely with CFIA through multiple consultations over several years on the development of this policy.  CFIA has been collaborative and responded to several of our major concerns with the policy proposal as outlined in our last submission. However, we still have several concerns and we will be inviting CFIA to a future meeting with members for clarification on some of the points in the Policy.  Below are highlights of several of industry issues addressed in the Policy:

D-98-08 Federation Submission
5. Phytosanitary entry requirements:
To be admissible into Canada, including movement in-transit through Canada, all wood packaging material (WPM), including dunnage, must:

  • be constructed with debarked wood; and
  • be treated using 1 of the approved methods listed in Appendix 1; and
  • bear an IPPC mark that meets the requirements as specified in Appendix 1

A phytosanitary certificate is not required, but may be used in lieu of the marking system prescribed below. Phytosanitary certificates must specify all applicable treatment details in the treatment section.  If heat treatment was applied, an additional declaration must confirm each piece of wood has attained a minimum temperature of 56 degrees Celsius throughout the profile of the wood (including at its core) for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Important note: the phytosanitary certificate must provide a clear link to the WPM or dunnage being imported (or discharged).

Where this linkage cannot be made, the WPM or dunnage may be considered non-compliant.

We asked CFIA to take a pragmatic approach to the issue of chocks and blocks and to acknowledge the long established standard practices in the marine transportation sector.

We asked them to consider a surveyor or master’s declaration that ALL the wood used in the stowage of the cargo was under the certificate(s) presented.

We will request CFIA to define “clear link”.

Note: Also applicable to Appendix 1.


5.2 Specific phytosanitary entry requirements for shipborne dunnage

Shipborne dunnage must meet the entry requirements as specified in section 5 above. Additionally, shipborne dunnage is only permitted to be discharged at a port terminal that is designated through registration in the shipborne dunnage program, further described in section 6. The port terminals that are designated are listed in Appendix 2.

Initially CFIA had proposed mandatory discharge at every port in Canada.  This would have been a barrier to trade as it is impossible for such import permits to be established in every Canadian port.  This would have meant ships would bypass ports with no permit, or have to discharge cargo, then divert to a port with a permit.

CFIA responded positively to our submission and allowed for dunnage to remain on board when no import permit is present at port.

Furthermore, the CFIA accepted our suggestion to maintain an inventory of import permit holders on their website.

5.2.1 Notification requirements for vessels planning to discharge shipborne dunnage in Canada

The vessel owner is responsible for ensuring, where a marine vessel intends to discharge dunnage in Canada, that a notification is made to the CFIA office (as listed in Appendix 3) closest to the discharge port at least 96 hours prior to the vessel’s arrival in Canadian waters.

We recommended to CFIA that the “import permit holder” should be doing all communications with CFIA regarding dunnage discharge which would eliminate the need for agent to report and streamline communications.

Regrettably, CFIA has retained that the agent/vessel will have to advise CFIA if they have dunnage to be discharged in a Canadian port.

6.1 Permit to Import

Any Canadian individual or corporation willing to take care or control of dunnage to be discharged at any given Canadian port terminal can apply for a Permit to Import under the shipborne dunnage program.

CFIA has responded positively to our concern here as initially CFIA had targeted the agent/vessel owner as the party to do the PCP and the import permit.

This wording allows for any Canadian individual or corporation to apply for an import permit .


6.7.3 Requirements for dunnage reused as dunnage

During the high risk period shipborne dunnage discharged in Canada as per section 5.2 cannot be reused as dunnage.

During the low risk period reuse is possible provided:

  • the dunnage has been visually monitored by the designated terminal as per section 6.3.1, and
  • the dunnage is in compliance with section 5, and
  • the vessel leaves Canada (Canadian waters) prior to the end of the low risk period

The PCP must describe how the designated facility will ensure that the conveyance with reused dunnage onboard will leave Canada prior to the high risk period.


Appendix 8:

Compliant shipborne dunnage only

Under the written authorization of the CFIA, shipborne dunnage that has been visually monitored as per section 6.3 and found compliant with entry requirements in section 5 may be permitted to be recycled (or remanufactured) in a facility registered under D-13-01. Original certification marks must be completely obliterated and the material treated and re-marked in accordance with ISPM-15 by the facility.

Segregation and identification is required at all times.

Another positive response from CFIA, where under some conditions, the re-use of compliant dunnage is now possible. CFIA had initially proposed all dunnage to be disposed off with no option for re-use.


8.2.1 Discharge of dunnage in Canada

Violations of the Plant Protection Act are subject to compliance and enforcement controls, including monetary penalties. Dependant on the type of violation, the owner of the vessel, the agent, or any other individual or corporation may be identified as the responsible party.

Regrettably, our request for directing compliance and enforcement control for the party contractually responsible for dunnage was not considered.



Chad Allen,
Director, Marine Operations
Shipping Federation of Canada