Ornamental plants are mainly acquired from specialized producers and seed distributors in Canada and, to a lesser degree, the United States.
Importing plant material into Canada is subject to the regulations of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The objective is to avoid introducing parasites and diseases into Canada.
Strict but variable import rules
As soil is considered a major phytosanitary risk, potted plants are generally purchased in Québec and other Canadian provinces.
Importing material exempt of soil, such as plants with exposed roots, grafts, cuttings and seeds, is easier, but still requires a CFIA import permit request. Import restrictions for this type of material vary according to species and the part of the plant being imported. A phytosanitary certificate issued by phytosanitary authorities in the country of exportation must (without exception) accompany the imported material. The plant material is then subject to inspection by the ACIA when it enters the country.
Text adapted from an article by Denis Barabé and Édith Morin in Quatre-Temps magazine, vol. 17, no. 1.