The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for regulating the importation of animals, including dogs, into Canada in order to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases that could negatively impact the health of both animals and humans. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) is responsible for administering and enforcing this legislation to the extent that it applies at the border.
In general, all dogs imported into Canada must be healthy and fit to travel with no visible signs of illness when leaving their country of origin. They must have the necessary vaccines and be accompanied by the necessary export documentation which are dependent on their age and the purpose of import. CFIA veterinarians are available to provide inspection services at the Pearson Airport when requested by the CBSA.
Once CBSA and/or CFIA staff confirm that import requirements, as per the Health of Animals Act and the Health of Animals Regulations have been met, the CFIA must release the animal(s) to the importer. CFIA has no mandate to be able to follow up on the condition of the animals once they have left the airport.
Most airlines have specific requirements for transporting animals. When handling and transporting live animals, commercial airlines are to follow the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animal Regulations (LAR).
In Ontario, the Ministry of the Solicitor General is responsible for the protection and humane treatment of animals in the province.
In the case of the shipment of puppies which arrived at Pearson Airport on June 13, all live puppies were released to the importers. Given the condition of some of the puppies upon arrival, CFIA staff recommended to the individual importers coming to collect their shipments that these puppies be immediately brought to a local veterinarian for appropriate care.