Authorized Importer

Information for facilities that import and release common and pedigreed seed for sale in Canada.

Seeds Canada is accredited under CFIA to conduct Authorized Importer (AI) audits, ensuring your facility imports and releases seed into the domestic market that meets the requirements of the Seeds Regulations. Authorized importers can import seed on minimum documentation, and are responsible to report imports to CFIA. To ensure your seed imports meet all of the regulatory and plant health import requirements please visit the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) website. 

The Seed Import Conformity Assessor (SICA - previously called a SIRA) of the AI conducts examinations of seed testing reports issued by domestic or foreign seed testing laboratories for the purpose of determining if the imported seed lot is eligible for release in Canada.

In the case of pedigreed seed, the importation must be retested and graded in Canada before it can be labeled and sold. Pedigreed seed that is imported, tested in Canada, and found to meet a Canadian pedigreed grade is automatically released and eligible for sale.

Obtaining Seeds Canada Accreditation

There are three main requirements to becoming registered as an Authorized Importer for businesses that import seed products. Each of the headings below lead to detailed instructions on how to fulfill these requirements.

Click here for the Application Form for CSI Seed Establishment Accreditation and CFIA Registration

1. Certification of Personnel Background

In order for Seeds Canada to recommend any facility for CFIA registration, an individual on staff must be a licensed Operator. This is accomplished by the individual passing the AI evaluation to ensure the Seeds Regulations are understood.

All AI's must have or make use of an accredited grader for the examination of domestic seed analysis reports or use a SICA for the examination of foreign seed analysis reports. Please contact your local CFIA office to inquire about the SICA practical evaluation.

2. Writing Your Quality Assurance Manual Background

Your manual must be written based on the current practices and activities of your facility, and must address all of the elements of the CSI AI quality management system standard.

The Authorized Importer Quality System Standard is part of the Seed Facility STAN 4.0.0 and can be found in the secure document library. Please contact the CSI office to obtain a username and password.

 The writing process is simplified by using the template that we provide at no charge. The template addresses all of the elements as described in the standard. Clients using the template are reminded that the wording is provided as an example only and must be edited to ensure the manual describes the procedures and systems they follow.

Quality Assurance Manual templates also reside in the secure document library. Please contact the Seeds Canada office to obtain a username and password.

Once your manual is complete, you may select any Seeds Canada accredited auditor from the current list of auditors provided by CSI. At this time you should forward your manual to the auditor of your choice for review against the AI standard.

Click here to download the Seed Auditor list PDF format

Upon successful review the auditor will recommend to Seeds Canada that the facility be registered by CFIA with the understanding that an on-site assessment will take place after the first lots have been imported; but not later than six months after initial accreditation.

3. On-Site Audit Background

Your on-site audit must take place to ensure that the practices as described in your manual are being implemented at your facility. The auditor you choose to review your manual will schedule a visit at a mutually convenient time.

Click here to download the Seed Auditor list

Subsequent to the on-site audit, the auditor will write an audit report and send copies to the Seeds Canada and to the client. Pending positive results from the on-site audit, your auditor will also provide to Seeds Canada another recommendation for continuing Seeds Canada accreditation and CFIA registration.

Your Seeds Canada audit package is sent to you including your certificate, and in the case of a new facility, your CFIA registration number will be communicated to you by the Seeds Canada office.

After initial accreditation is granted, there are on-going responsibilities in order to maintain CSI accreditation including having an audit every two years and informing CFIA of seed imports. Please discuss these responsibilities with your auditor or contact Jennifer Scott at

If you are not sure of which registration you require, please e-mail us at