Use of Methyl Bromide for the Export of Forest Products from Canada

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is making efforts to reduce reliance on methyl bromide for quarantine and pre-shipment uses in keeping with Canada's international obligations under the Montreal Protocol. The CFIA Technical Reference R-005, Implementation Policy for the Quarantine and Pre-shipment (QPS) Treatment Applications of the fumigant Methyl Bromide in Canada published outlines the CFIA's approaches to phytosanitary certification in relation to methyl bromide.

Methyl bromide is a substance known to cause serious depletion of the ozone layer. CFIA policy R-005 specifies that "Methyl bromide quarantine treatments on exports from Canada shall only be conducted and may only be certified on phytosanitary certificates when the treatment is officially required by and has been prescribed by the NPPO of the importing country in their Plant Quarantine Import Requirements or other official documents". It also specifies that "Methyl bromide used for QPS purposes will be scrutinized so that it is used judiciously". It also requires the treatments "be verified in accordance with relevant official standards, policies or standard operational procedures".

In keeping with the policy, possible use of methyl bromide to facilitate exports in forest products is confined to situations where:

  1. methyl bromide is prescribed as the only acceptable treatment option in the plant quarantine import requirements or other official documents for the export of a commodity; or
  2. methyl bromide is prescribed as one of several treatment options in the relevant plant quarantine import requirements or other official documents, but limitations in the use of the prescribed alternative treatments in Canada makes methyl bromide the only option; or
  3. effective systems of re-capture and re-use are in place to reduce the impact of methyl bromide on the atmosphere; or
  4. there exists an official Canadian standard, policy or operating procedure prescribing methyl bromide treatment in relation to a commodity to be exported.

Phytosanitary certification will not be provided for shipments, where methyl bromide is intended to be used as a more economical option than others accepted by the importing country. Additionally, where shipments can not be easily treated using alternative treatment options, the use of methyl bromide to facilitate the export will not be permitted. For example, where a shipment has been loaded and readied for export, without the exporter being aware that a treatment is required by the importing country, the CFIA cannot authorize the use of methyl bromide to facilitate that export. The exporter will be required to have the shipment treated using one of the other treatment options, should the exporter wish to continue to export the shipment.

Originally issued March 1, 2011 (Notice to Industry)

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