IPPC ISPM-15 Heat Treated Wood Pallets

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What is IPPC ISPM 15 Certification

The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is an international treaty which is focused on protecting plants and plant products by minimizing the spread of potential pests and diseases. Over 100 countries are members of the IPPC and by working collaboratively they produced the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 15 regulations which were implemented in March of 2004.

As a member of the IPPC, Canada has adopted these regulations and to meet our international obligations Canada has harmonized it's import regulations and produced an export certification program that is compliant with the ISPM 15 standards. Wood packaging materials (WPM) such as pallets, crates and loose dunnage are regulated materials under these ISPM 15 rules and therefore they must meet specific certification requirements to be shipped internationally.

Pallets, crates and other wood packaging materials that are used for shipping Canadian goods within Canada or into the U.S. are exempt, but the ISPM 15 rules do apply when shipping to or from other countries (including Mexico).

The staff at St. Boniface Pallet are well versed in the ISPM 15 rules and regulations and can help you ensure your shipment meets all the required international regulations.

ISPM 15 process

Under ISPM 15, all non-manufactured wood packaging materials (WPM) for export - including wood pallets, crating and loose wood dunnage - must be treated, either by heat or fumigation. Manufactured wood products such as plywood, oriented strand board (OSB) and particle board do not need to be treated as any pests are destroyed during the manufacturing process.

Heat treating heats the wood until its core temperature reaches 56 degrees Celsius for at least 30 minutes. This process is widely recognized as an effective means to destroy any pests that could be harmful to forests. Wood can also be fumigated, but heat treating is considered an environmentally preferable alternative.

Once a wood pallet is treated, it never has to be treated again and is considered suitable for export and re-export, as long as none of the original components of the packaging is replaced. Once treated, the pallet or wood packaging must be marked with the internationally recognized IPPC markings, which indicate the country of origin and treatment method used. Here is an example of the markings used to indicate the packaging was manufactured in Canada:

ippc logo

Shipping within Canada

If you are shipping to an end user inside Canada and the wood pallet is made or repaired in Canada, ISPM 15 does not apply and you don’t need to use packaging that is treated or marked.

Shipping to the U.S.

If your goods are of Canadian origin and are being shipped directly from Canada to the U.S., the wood pallet or packaging doesn’t have to meet ISPM-15 standards nor does it require any certification or markings. But the shipment is subject to inspection for pests.

If the goods are not of Canadian origin, U.S. customs will assume that the wood pallet is also foreign and it must be treated, in accordance with ISPM 15.

If the foreign goods have been repacked onto a North American wood pallet, the pallets can enter the U.S. untreated, but the origin of the packaging must be identified on the customs paperwork with this statement: “The wood packaging material associated with this shipment is derived totally from trees harvested in Canada or the United States.”

These rules are expected to change in the future, see our news page for any updated details.

Shipping to Mexico and other countries

ISPM 15 does apply in shipping to Mexico which means wood pallets and packaging must be treated and marked with the IPPC stamp shown above.

Shipping into Canada from the U.S.

Canada doesn’t require any treatment or markings on wood pallets and packaging originating from the U.S., or any special comments on the customs paperwork, but the packaging is inspected for pests.

If the packaging is to be re-exported outside of North America, then it has to be treated by a certified treatment facility and marked accordingly.

These rules are expected to change in the future, see our news page for any updated details.

Shipping into Canada from outside North America

ISPM 15 applies and the packaging must be treated and marked accordingly.

Canadian and U.S. Customs information links

For more information on the Canadian Wood Packaging Certification Program (CWPCP) please visit the CFIA website

For more information on the U.S. Customs rules please click on the following link: U.S. Government