The Canadian Wood Packaging Certification Program (CWPCP) would like to ensure that all end users of wood packaging materials understand why ISPM-15 certification is important for them and how to identify certified products. As many AGGA members are exporters, we feel this information would be relevant for their businesses.

Introduction:  The Canadian Wood Packaging Certification Program (CWPCP), as administered by the Canadian Wood Pallet and Container Association (CWPCA) is committed to promoting information on shipping regulations of wood packaging materials (WPM) to end users of pallets, crates, and containers. Exporters need to understand regulations and how certified wood packaging follows them, lest their product end up held at borders for non-compliant packaging. A major regulation is the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 15, which sets out rules regarding the heat treatment of wood to stop the spread of pests.

The CWPCP would like to ensure that all end users of wood packaging materials understand why ISPM-15 certification is important for them and how to identify certified products. As many AGGA members are exporters, we feel this information would be relevant for their businesses. Most importantly, the current bilateral agreement to allow non-ISPM 15 stamped wood packaging to flow between the US and Canada will be coming to an end in the near future (an exact date has not been announced). This will require businesses who ship within North America to make certain their wood packaging meets ISPM-15 requirements. Implementation of the US-Canada regulation will be preceded by a period of informed compliance starting when the rule is announced.

More:  A major regulation Canadian shippers face is the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM-15), implemented to stop the invasion and spread of pests that damage trees and plants. In order to comply, packaging manufacturers must use heat treated wood in the construction of their packaging products and dunnage.

Exporters take pains to ensure their products meet international regulations and can cross international borders quickly and easily. The same should be taken into account when it comes to wood packaging used to transport the product. ISPM-15 compliant packaging is identified by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) stamp, a sample as shown here. The IPPC stamp is like a passport which allows pallets and containers to be sent through borders quickly. Without the IPPC stamp, products can be held at borders and denied entry.

The IPPC stamp may only be used by registered facilities of the Canadian Wood Packaging Certification Program (CWPCP). These are considered legitimate and verified sources for wood packaging. In addition, the CWPCP website contains a link to the CFIA list of certified facilities—another way to check a supplier’s certification status.

Currently, WPM exported or imported into Canada from countries other than the U.S. must be ISPM-15 certified and marked as such. WPM shipped between Canada and the United States remains exempt from ISPM-15 regulations under a bilateral agreement.

However, this exemption has been under review for the past several years and is scheduled to be terminated within the near future due to increasing concern over the risk of invasive pest species to the forests across North America. Termination of the bilateral exemption will be preceded by a period of informed compliance lasting several months, during which shippers will be notified of the planned phased implementation period for these new regulations. After this change, all WPM being exported or imported for shipment between Canada and the US will require heat treatment and certification with the IPPC stamp, making it even more important that Canadian businesses and shipping companies take steps to ensure that wood packaging or dunnage used in the shipment of goods is ISPM-15 compliant.

For updates on the end of the bilateral agreement and heat treatment certification information follow us on Twitter @CanadianPallets and check out the CWPCP website at www.woodpackaging.ca. To find out whether you should be certified, or for any other questions, contact the CWPCA.