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Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS)

Do you know about PARS for CFIA Commodities?

PARS is one of many Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) initiatives aimed at improving service and compliance. It is available at all automated Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) commercial offices.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Pre-arrival Review System is one of the Canada Border Services Agency release options. As you may know, as of October 15, 2007, the CBSA will no longer accept paper versions of either the release on minimum documentation (RMD) or the Pre-arrival Review System (PARS) service options. However, there will be certain exceptions to this requirement.

Please refer to the Canada Border Services Agency website to obtain more information:

What is PARS?

PARS is a Pre-Arrival Review System for imported fish, food and agriculture products. It blends with the existing CBSA pre-arrival systems.

Why should I use PARS?

Waiting times at the point of importation are significantly reduced if, under PARS, goods are in compliance and required documentation is complete.

How does PARS work?

The key element of PARS is a bar-coded cargo control number which the exporter or carrier applies to the top right-hand corner of the original CBSA invoice for each shipment. All other required documents must also be provided - certificates of origin, invoices, declarations, etc.

A copy of the documentation, including the bar-coded invoice(s), is sent to the Canadian importer or broker by facsimile before arrival of the shipment in Canada.

The importer/broker submits the PARS documentation to CBSA (for commodities that should be released by the CBSA as per AIRS) or to the CFIA National Import Service Centre (NISC).

The importer or broker must submit the CFIA-PARS release package a minimum of four hours and maximum of 30 days before the goods are scheduled to arrive in Canada.

The only exception to the 30 days applies to meat from the USA- whereby the shipment must arrive on Canadian soil within 72 hours.

If the documentation is complete, a CFIA-NISC Import Specialist stamps the documents and sends the reviewed release package to the importer/broker for further processing by CBSA.

If the documentation is unsatisfactory, a CFIA-NISC Import Specialist will stamp it as rejected and return it for correction.

The importer or broker has to submit their import request to CBSA. When the documentation is received by the CBSA, an Officer enters the recommendation "Release" or "Refer" into the automated CBSA computer system. Once entered into the Customs Commercial System, the CFIA-PARS "Release" or "Refer" recommendation will remain in effect for a limited period of time (Refer to the table).

When the shipment arrives at the point of importation, the carrier presents the bar-coded original release documentation to a CBSA Officer. The Officer electronically enters the cargo control number into the CBSA’s automated system.

The system displays the status of the shipment as “Release” or “Refer”.

If the status of the shipment is “Release”, the CBSA Officer releases the goods. If the status is “Refer”, the shipment will be referred by the CBSA Officer to CFIA-NISC who then will follow normal examination procedures.

Where do I get more information?

Contact the National Import Service Centre.

CFIA Commodities Eligible for CFIA-PARS & All Import Requests

Categories Scope *Maximum Time
Live Animals (including Animal embryos, semen and honey bees) All N/A
Meat and meat products From USA origin 72 hours
Meat and meat products Other Countries 30 Days
Dairy products All 30 Days
Eggs and processed egg products (including hatching eggs)
Egg products (including hatching eggs)
All 30 Days
Fresh Fruit and vegetables All 30 Days
Processed Fruits and vegetables honey and maple products All 30 Days
Grains, seeds and nuts for human consumption All 30 Days
Seeds for propagation All 30 Days
Animal feed All 30 Days
Plants and plant products All 30 Days
Fertilizers, soils, and growing media (including forestry products) All 30 Days
Pest control products All 30 Days
Biologics (plant and animal) All 30 Days
Other - Products of animal origin not specified elsewhere All 30 Days

NOTE: Once entered into the Customs Commercial System, the CFIA-PARS "Release" or "Refer" recommendation will remain in effect for this limited period of time.

After this period of time a new import release request will have to be re-submitted to the National Import Service Centre (NISC) for release.