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Specific requirements for controlled items

Controlled items are subject to specific requirements in order to be sent outside Canada.

Import permits and other documentation

Unlike prohibited items, controlled products may enter Canada but are subject to special requirements. The requirements often include the need for an import permit. If you don’t meet these requirements, the CBSA may not allow the product to enter Canada.

Controlled products include:

  • Tobacco
  • Prescription drugs
  • Certain foods
  • Plants
  • Seeds
  • Animal parts
  • Currency
  • Goods listed in the Import Control List 

Before you import goods into Canada by mail, check to make sure they're not prohibited or controlled. It’s your responsibility to be aware of any specific requirements or documentation required.

If you need specific information on products, you can contact:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

1-613-225-2342

1-800-442-2342

Health Canada

1-866-999-7612

Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development Canada

1-613-996-2387

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

1-800-461-9999

Tobacco and vaping products

The federal government regulates the importation of tobacco and vaping products into Canada under several laws and regulations.

For sale

The importation of tobacco products for sale in Canada must meet the requirements of the:

Regarding the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act, there are specific requirements for the sale of tobacco products in Canada depending on the product you import for sale. It’s recommended that you contact:

HEALTH CANADA TOBACCO CONTROL PROGRAM

1-866-318-1116

Email

For personal use

You should address questions about duties and taxes on imported or exported tobacco products for personal use to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

Tobacco importations aren’t eligible for the CAN$20 duty and tax exemption or as gifts. The CBSA will assess duties and taxes on tobacco products.

Please note: Labelling and stamping requirements for tobacco products don’t apply when you import 5 units or less of packaged tobacco for personal use.

We define a unit as:

  • 200 cigarettes
  • 50 cigars
  • 200 tobacco sticks
  • 200 g of manufactured tobacco

Intoxicating beverages

For information about the importing or mailing of intoxicating beverages, refer to the federal Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act and contact the provincial or territorial liquor board. Importers can also refer to the CBSA website for information on importing intoxicating beverages through the mail.

You can only import intoxicating beverages into Canada by mail when:

  • They’re imported by a licensed distiller or body authorized by the board, commission, officer, or other governmental agency in the province of destination
  • They’re mailed to a licensed distiller or body authorized by the board, commission, officer, or other governmental agency in the province of destination
  • The alcohol content is no greater than 24% alcohol by volume (for example, 48 proof)

Cannabis and cannabis products

International customs and transportation regulations strictly prohibit recreational and medicinal cannabis (including cannabis products) in the international postal network.

Currency and monetary instruments

You must report to the CBSA all Canadian or foreign currency and monetary instruments (CAN$10,000 or more) entering or exiting Canada through the mail.

These monetary instruments include:

  • Securities such as:
    • Stocks
    • Bonds
    • Debentures and treasury bills
  • Negotiable instruments such as:
    • Bank drafts
    • Cheques
    • Promissory notes
    • Travellers’ cheques and money orders
    • Other warehouse receipts or bills of lading
  • Negotiable instruments that bear a restrictive endorsement or stamp for the purpose of clearing
  • Negotiable instruments that you make payable to a named person and you haven't endorsed

Foreign currency and monetary instruments with a value of CAN$10,000 or more mailed into Canada must include a:

  • Form E667 (Cross-Border Currency or Monetary Instruments Report-General)
  • Customs Declaration CN23

Visit the CBSA website for more information.

Prescription drugs

The importation of drugs is strictly regulated. Narcotics, controlled, and restricted drugs may only be imported or exported by:

  • A pharmaceutical manufacturer
  • A pharmaceutical distributor
  • Another person licensed by the Minister of National Health and Welfare

The importer, owner, or exporter must have a valid permit, issued by the Health Canada, for the shipment.

You can find more information about the importation of drugs through:

HEALTH CANADA

HEALTH PRODUCTS AND FOOD BRANCH INSPECTORATE - BORDER INTEGRITY UNIT

Phone: 1-613-957-9994

Fax: 1-613-960-2156

Email 

Food

Many food products need an import permit or other documentation to enter Canada. To see if there are special requirements for specific foods, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website or contact the CBSA at 1-800-461-9999.

Plants, seeds, and other agricultural products

The CBSA regulates the importation of:

  • Plants
  • Seeds
  • Agricultural inputs
  • Agricultural products

Plants, seeds, and other agricultural products are subject to many Canadian laws including the:

  • Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act
  • Plant Protection Act
  • Seeds Act
  • Canada Agricultural Products Act

The documentation required to import these products depends on the specific product and the country or State that it’s arriving from. In most cases, you need a permit. For specific information, visit the CBSA website or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website

There are also requirements to follow policies about wood packaging materials. A phytosanitary certificate must go with most wood packaging material. Wood packaging material from China is no longer allowed into Canada unless an International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) mark is clearly denoted to indicate treatment certification. For more information on requirements about wood packaging material, please visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website

Visit the CBSA website for information related to food, plant, and animal import requirements.

Rough diamonds

A Kimberley Process Certificate must accompany rough diamond imports to Canada. The government of the country of export must confirm the certificate. The certificate must also accompany rough diamonds in transit across Canada to another country. Each shipment requires a distinct certificate. A shipment may consist of several containers. Importers must present the Kimberley Process Certificate to a CBSA officer at the point of entry in Canada.

For more information, visit the Natural Resources Canada website or contact the Kimberley Process Office at:

KIMBERLEY PROCESS OFFICE
MINERALS AND METALS SECTOR
NATURAL RESOURCES CANADA
9TH FLOOR
580 BOOTH STREET
OTTAWA ON K1A 0E4

1-886-539-0766

Animals and insects

Live animals aren’t allowed in international mail.

You may import live insects and pests if they’re:

  • Packaged properly
  • Identified properly
  • Have an import permit (if required)

For more information contact:

CANADIAN FOOD INSPECTION AGENCY
59 CAMELOT DR
OTTAWA ON K1A 0Y9

1-613-225-2342 or 1-800-442-2342

CFIA website 

Medical or biological materials

You’re allowed certain medical and biological materials if they’re:

We’re providing this information as a convenience only. All of this information is subject to change without notice, and we don't guarantee its accuracy or completeness. It's your responsibility to make sure that you are complying with all applicable requirements when you send or receive international mail items.