CARM: What all importers need to know about CARM

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Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulations under the Single Window Initiative

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) enforces policies and standards, set by Health Canada, governing the import of plant, animal and related products.

The CFIA are the import enforcement body for the following programs: Animal Health, Feed, Fertilizer Safety, Food, Plant Health, Plants with Novel Traits, and Seed.

Import requirements of these programs are available to importers/brokers via the CFIA’s Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) which is an HS Classification based reference tool.

Goods regulated by the CFIA include:

  • Animal feed
  • Animal and plant pathogens, including microorganisms and biological material
  • Fertilizers, fertilizer-pesticide combination products, soil supplements and growing media
  • Fish, seafood and fish products
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Grains, seeds, and nuts
  • Live animals including:
    • terrestrial animals
    • aquatic animals (including gametes and germplasm)
    • animal semen and embryos
    • hatching eggs
    • honey bees
  • Pet food and treats
  • Plants and plant products
  • Processed fruits and vegetables, and maple products
  • Products and by-products of animal origin including:
    • meat and meat products, including glands and organs (edible and inedible)
    • eggs and egg products
    • milk and milk products
    • honey, beeswax and propolis
    • hides, skins, feathers, wool and trophies
    • manure
    • rendered animal meals and rendered animal fats
    • animal carcasses, parts and derivatives
    • aquatic animal carcasses, parts of carcasses and offal
    • animal samples (tissues, blood, feces, etc.)
  • Roots, bulbs and tubers and other plant matter for propagation
  • Soil and related matter
  • Wood and wood products

In addition to applicable AIRS data elements, some imports are subject to additional documentation, as example:

  • Import Declaration Form (CFIA/ACIA 4560) – although previously this form was inconsistently required by CFIA, under SWI the form is mandatory for the following classes of goods:
    • Dairy Products
    • Processed fruits and vegetables
    • Maple products
    • Seeds
    • Honey
    • Feed
    • Fertilizer

To avoid clearance delays, we recommend that all importations of the above commodities be accompanied by a fully completed Import Declaration.

  • Official Meat Inspection Certificate (OMIC) – required prior to import for goods containing more than 2% meat, e.g. fresh, frozen or cooked meats (beef, poultry, pork, etc.), cold cuts, meat sauces, etc.

Additional documents include:

  • Import permit
  • Licences
  • Phytosanitary certificate
  • Zoosanitary certificate
  • Meat certificate
  • Permits/Declaration/Statement of Compliance

For more information about the data element rationales for the CFIA, visit:

For Data Element Matching Criteria Tables complete with HS Tariff Classification cross-reference please refer to
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

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