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How do I import wood products into Canada?

Lumber, firewood, packing material, furniture, home décor… When bringing wood items into the country, importers need to know what’s required of them by Canada Customs and other regulatory agencies.
Since we’ve had a lot of interest in our previous blog posts about importing wood items, we thought we’d reprise the topic here to remind anyone bringing these products into Canada that wood articles fall into a few different categories and are treated differently from other types of imports. (Also… stay tuned for a follow-up blog on importing wood products into the U.S.)
Import requirements vary depending on the type of product, its dimensions, the quantity you’re bringing in and where it comes from – among other factors. Because there’s so much variability in products and the requirements for each, it’s best to check with the relevant regulatory body to make sure you follow all the rules. It can also be a good idea to consult a customs broker who’s well-versed in the import requirements for all manner of goods.
The import of wooden and wood-containing products into Canada is regulated by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). In specific circumstances, they may also be subject to provisions under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, of which Canada is a signatory).
The first step for importers should be to acquire the pertinent permits and certificates. Most wood articles will require one or more of the following:Here's what all importers need to know before bringing wood and wood-containing products across the border.
A couple other distinctions of note: Processed wood materials (plywood, fibreboard and so on) are exempt from most import requirements. And wooden packing materials (pallets, crates, shavings, etc.) have their own requirements, too. Check the CFIA’s requirements for wood packing materials for more information.
As you might have guessed, clear documentation is key. For starters, make sure you are fully aware of the following pertinent information and that this is included in all customs documentation for each wood import:
  • Country of origin and country of export (if different)
  • Thickness/dimensions
  • Bark (presence/absence)
  • Treatment status (was the item treated with heat or chemicals to destroy pests?)
  • Tree species (not always required, but provide this information if you have it)
  • Finish (is the item painted or lacquered, vs. unfinished?)
Because import requirements can change over time, it’s always a good idea to check with CFIA or your customs broker before you purchase and import wooden articles to be sure you are compliant with the current policies and regulations.
With over six decades of experience, our logistics professionals have a wealth of knowledge that comes from handling countless transactions throughout North America and around the world. If you have questions about importing wood products or any other customs matter...
Contact us today!
Information provided by: Customs Brokerage Dept. - Cole International
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