Since the early 1990s, some of Canada’s principal export markets have demanded that wood products exported from Canada be heat-treated to a minimum core temperature of 56°C for at least 30 minutes, in order to kill all pests that could be associated with wood prior to export.
Under the Plant Protection Act and the Plant Protection Regulations, any product exported from Canada must meet the phytosanitary requirements of the importing country. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has implemented a program – the Canadian Heat Treated Wood Products Certification Program (HT). This program allow wood packaging producers, wood packaging heat treatment facilities and wood drying facilities accredited under the HT program to produce wood or wood packaging materials in accordance with the requirements of the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 15.
This official certification program makes it possible to export of wood products to countries that require heat treatment as a phytosanitary measure. Wood that is heat-treated in accordance with the HT is also considered a source of certified wood for product components. Companies participating in the program may include lumber kilns, sawmills, prefabricated and log home manufacturers, brokers, remanufacturers, and shippers of wood products.
The QFIC is recognized as an authorized service provider and can provide its members with certification of their facilities under the HT program, thus permitting them to apply the official QFIC stamp. This mark is recognized by the Canadian and American standards agencies (CLSAB and ALSC respectively). Participation in the program also entitles recipients to apply the wood packaging mark and obtain heat treatment certificates. The website of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) posts an up-to-date list of approved companies.
Wood packaging materials are essential for trade and the transport and protection of freight and containerized products. This packaging may accompany various items and constitute a wide group of products, including pallets, dunnage, boxes, crates, packaging blocks, barrels, cases, load boards, pallet collars and skids. In the past, these products were usually made of non-manufactured wood that was not sufficiently processed or treated to kill or eradicate any pests present in the untreated wood.
In March 2002, a standard on wooden packaging titled Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade – ISPM No. 15 – was adopted under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). To reduce the phytosanitary risks associated with wood packaging materials, the standard recommends that all wood packaging materials be previously treated.
The HT program is a certification system that enables Canadian producers of wood packaging materials and wood treatment facilities to produce wood packaging that meets the requirements of the ISPM No. 15 standard. An international certification mark for wood packaging materials is stamped on the finished product. This mark is unique to each registered facility.
The CFIA’s official wood packaging certification stamp can only be applied by a facility accredited under the HT program. Heat treatment certificates may also be issued under the program.
To be accredited, facilities must use the services of a CFIA-approved supplier. The QFIC and the Quebec Wood Export Bureau (QWEB) are recognized as authorized service providers and can provide certification of facilities to their members.
All Canadian lumber, whether in bundles in or custom cut packages exported to the United States to be used in a facility that produces packaging material for export from the United States must meet the requirements of the American Lumber Standard Committee’s regulations on non-manufactured wood packaging materials.
Under the American Lumber Standard Committee’s program, all lumber (U.S. or Canadian) entering the United States and going to a facility must be stamped HT or KD-HT under the supervision of a certification agency approved by the review committee. Each piece in the bundle or package must be stamped to indicate the grading agency, the facility’s number and the type of treatment (HT or KD-HT).
The table below, derived from PI-01 of the CFIA, shows the minimum treatment time required for each option.