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Guidlelines for Importing Human Pathogens

Import permits are required by the Public Health Agency of Canada (formerly Health Canada) for the importation of human pathogens. Prior to the shipment of the human pathogens described on the import permit, the importer must:

  • Provide a copy of the import permit to the vendor and notify the vendor that a copy of the import permit must accompany the shipment.
  • Ensure that a copy of the import permit is placed outside of the package, in the envelope/window containing the commercial invoice and other documentation for customs. (Do not put it inside the package as it will not be accessible to Customs.)
  • Notify the vendor that the outer shipping container in which the human pathogen is transported in must clearly display the import permit number on the outside of the container with the following statement:

"Human Pathogen - Import Permit Number: _______" 

    Failure to have a proper import permit prior to importation may result in the seizure and confiscation of materials by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

    To facilitate customs clearance, a copy of the import permit is to be forwarded to UBC's customs broker, Livingston International Inc.

    Import permits for human pathogens are issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Office of Laboratory Security, Biosafety Division

    Permits must be in place before you can import human pathogens.

It is the individual's responsibility to abide by the conditions of the permit and to keep records on the following:

    • Permit number
    • Type of material imported
    • Quantity
    • Purpose of Importation
    • The date it was imported
    • Name and signature of supervisor of record keeping
    • Where it is stored
    • Date and location of incineration and / or disposal
  • All import permits, records and documentation must be kept for 6 years plus current to meet the requirements of Canada Customs, although the import permit conditions for record-keeping may be less,.

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