Contributing Lawyers


Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross


Andrew Hudson

New Rules in Canada for Stopping Goods Contaminated with Foreign Soil

On January 28, 2011, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) released Customs Notice CN-11-001 "Implementation of the Strengthening of the Canada Border Services Agency's Procedures Respecting the Importation of Goods Contaminated with Soil and/or Related Matter". For a copy of CN-11-001, please go to the following link -

CN-11-001 states that starting on February 1, 2011, any goods contaminated with soil are not admissible into Canada. Goods that are not admissible will be stopped, detained and seized. Non-compliant goods will be refused entry and ordered removed from Canada at the first point of arrival (FPOA) under the authority of the Plant Protection Act and the Health of Animals Act.

That being said, under highly regulated circumstances and where operational capacity exists, certain goods contaminated with soil may be allowed to be cleaned within a CBSA-controlled environment at the FPOA by a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)-approved mobile wash facility. Alternatively, these goods may be allowed to proceed by a bonded carrier to a CBSA-bonded facility within the existing urban environment of the FPOA for cleaning by a CFIA-approved wash facility, provided such action will not result in the introduction of soil into the environment. Where the above-mentioned conditions cannot be met, the goods will be refused entry and ordered removed from Canada.

The importer of record is responsible for all associated costs – including the inspection, handling, transportation, storage, cleaning, and/or disposal of contaminated goods.

Plants and plant products are not eligible for remedial action.

The issue is the prevention of the entry of pests and diseases into Canada that would cause harm to Canada's eco-system and people. CN-11-001 represents a sanitary or phyto-sanitary measure. While agricultural products (fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, etc.) are one of the targets of the new measure, the measure also will affect other goods. It will be interesting to see what the CBSA will do when livestock crosses the border (are they going to be cleaned before shipment?)

It will be interesting to see what will be considered to be a good that is "related matter" to soil. Is sand or silica a "related matter"? It is likely that soil pests (e.g. aphids, ants, earwigs, slugs, etc.) would be "related matter". It is also likely that mud would be considered to be "related matter"?

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