About Us

The Trade Controls Bureau (TID) is responsible for administering the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) which was first enacted in 1947. The EIPA delegates to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (referred to as "the Minister") wide discretionary powers to control the flow of goods contained in specified lists provided for under the Act. The Minister for International Trade provides policy direction in most areas involving market access and trade policy.

Role of the Bureau

While the economic benefits of free-flowing trade are one of Canada's greatest assets, controls have been judged essential for a variety of reasons:

  • to regulate trade in military and strategic dual-use goods, and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as we are obliged to do under multilateral agreement;
  • to prevent the supply of military goods to countries that threaten Canada's security, are under UN sanction, are threatened by internal or external conflict, and/or abuse the human rights of their citizens;
  • to protect vulnerable Canadian industries, such as clothing manufacturing;
  • to obtain negotiated benefits from international agreements;
  • to implement trade restrictions in support of Canada's supply management programs;
  • to fulfil other international obligations; and
  • to implement UN Security Council trade sanctions.

The Use of Lists

The EIPA provides that the Governor-in-Council may establish lists known as: the Import Control List (ICL), the Export Control List (ECL), and the Area Control List (ACL). The Act sets out the purposes for including goods or countries on these lists. The ICL generally comprises a list of goods, some of which are only controlled for certain countries of origin; all goods contained in this list require an import permit. The ECL is a list of goods only; all goods contained on this list also require an export permit. The ACL is a list of countries for which export permits are required to export any and all goods.

Controlled Goods

Import Controls:

  • Textiles and Clothing
  • Agricultural Products
  • Steel Products
  • Weapons and Munitions

Export Controls:

  • Agricultural products: Refined Sugar, Sugar-containing Products and Peanut Butter
  • Textiles and Clothing
  • Military, Strategic Dual-use Goods
  • Nuclear Energy Materials and Technology
  • Missile, Chemical or Biological Goods of Non-proliferation Concern
  • Softwood Lumber, Unprocessed Logs and Certain Other Forest Products
  • Miscellaneous Goods including Goods of U.S.-origin, Roe Herring and Certain Items with Medical Value
  • All Goods Destined for Countries on the Area Control List: Myanmar.

Individual and General Permits

Most controlled goods require an Individual Permit for import or export, although some goods may enjoy facilitated treatment under a General Permit. General Permits are not specific to an individual importer or exporter in the manner of Individual Permits. General Permits allow for the pre-authorized export or import of certain eligible goods to/from certain eligible countries, by a simplified process (explained in later sections). For instance, the import or export of household goods are treated in this manner.


Import Permit Regulations (IPR) and Export Permit Regulations (EPR) establish procedures for obtaining permits. Copies are available upon request.

Other Acts or Regulations may apply simultaneously, in some cases. For instance, countries listed on the ACL are often also named in the United Nations Act (UNA) and specific Regulations because they are under some form of trade sanction authorized by UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution.

Fees for Permits

A modest fee is charged for most permits, as a cost recovery measure. Please enquire what fee may apply in your case, and how it should be submitted.


The EIPA makes provision for prosecution and penalties for contravention of the EIPA or its regulations. Both corporations and their officers are potentially liable. Investigators from Canada Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police enforce the EIPA. Where offences are suspected, Border Services Officers may detain or seize goods; as well, forfeiture action may be taken. Investigations may lead to charges, prosecutions, fines and/or incarceration.

Advice and Assistance in Obtaining Permits

We would be pleased to reply to your telephone call, letter or facsimile; please clearly describe the goods in question, their country of origin and their final and intermediate destinations. If possible, specify the nature of your question:

  • "Are my goods controlled/do I need a permit?"
  • "What is the correct procedure for obtaining a permit?"
  • "I need application forms or other documents (specify if possible)."
  • "What is the status of my application (already submitted? when? application number?)?"