If the strong Canadian dollar has you eyeing chemical prices across the border, you’ll need to fill out some paper work and make some phone calls before shopping. The Grower Requested Own Use (GROU) import program, which replaced the Own Use Import program of a few years ago, lays out the rules.
There are times when, generally speaking, it can make sense to shop down south. Proprietary products are typically cheaper here in Canada, but generic products tend to be more affordable in the U. S., especially when our dollar is high. Generic versions of proprietary products also tend to become available in the U. S. sooner because of the regulation climate there.
While GROU is in place for a growing list of products, there are some products that now have a NAFTA label — a common label for the U. S., Canada and Mexico. A product with a NAFTA label (usually identified by the presence of English, Spanish and French language on the label) doesn’t need a GROU certificate to be brought across the border. Knowing which product is which is up to you to figure out. Make sure you’ve done you’re homework.
If you’ve decided that the GROU program is for you, there are a few ways to side-step any pitfalls. First off, check with PMRA via website (see the bottom of the article) or phone to determine if the product you’re after is eligible. (See the box for the list of 18 products eligible for GROU.) You also must pay the container-recycling fee — even before you’ve been approved to make the purchase. Should your application be turned down you can get this money back. More information on the container recycling fee can be found at www.groucontainerfees.caor by calling 1-866-691-3225.
You’ll need to download or print off the certificate, fill it out and email or mail it back to PMRA for approval. Once you’ve got the approved certificate treat it well — that’s your importing paper work. Once you’re ready to hit the road, do yourself or your driver a favour and contact Canada Border Services Agency a few days ahead of time (www.cbsa.gc.ca).CBSA may require other information or paper work before allowing you back into Canada. No one wants to hang out at the border for longer than necessary, so do the footwork prior to heading south.
RULES OF NOTE
The product imported must be for your own use and not for re-sale.
You must pay into the container-recycling program to be eligible.
You must have received approval from PMRA before heading across the border.
For more information, to access the import certificate and for the full listing of chemical products available through the GROU program visit: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cpsspc/pest/agri-commerce/import/_ grou-piapda/index-eng. php. It’s an ugly web address, so perhaps Google “PMRA GROU” and follow the links instead. PMRA’s information service toll free number is 1-800-267-6315.
Lyndsey Smith is a field editor with Grainews in Lumsden, Sask. Email her at [email protected]