International Plant Protection Convention

Official title: International Plant Protection Convention  

Subject category:
Type of agreement / instrument:
Legally-binding treaty
  • Signed by Canada December 6, 1951
  • Ratified by Canada July 10, 1953
  • In force in Canada July 10, 1953
  • In force internationally April 3, 1952
Lead & partner departments:
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Global Affairs Canada
For further information:
Web links:
Compendium edition:
February 2022
Reference #:

Plain language summary

  • The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) provides a framework and develops standards for the harmonized use of measures to prevent and control the introduction and spread of pests, and to protect plant resources.
  • Canada’s engagement in the IPPC ensures that Canadian interests are included in the key initiatives and plant health practices are reflected in the international standards developed by the IPPC.
  • Canada influences the strategic priorities of the IPPC through its leadership and active engagement in bodies such as the Standards and Implementation and Capacity Development Committees and the Strategic Planning Group.
  • IPPC is the only international plant health treaty. It is recognized by the World Trade Organization as the standard setting body for plant health.
  • The scope of the IPPC also extends to vehicles, aircrafts, vessels, sea containers etc., which can harbor pests; Certification of plants and plant products in international trade assures freedom from pests and the electronic certification system developed by the IPPC will facilitate faster and more secure trade.  


The objectives of this agreement is to:

  1. protect sustainable agriculture and enhance global food security through the prevention of pest spread;
  2. protect the environment, forests and biodiversity from plant pests;
  3. facilitate economic and trade development through the promotion of harmonized scientifically based phytosanitary measures; and,
  4. develop phytosanitary capacity for members to accomplish A, B and C.

Key elements

The IPPC requires signatories to:

  1. Secure common and effective action to prevent the spread and introduction of pests of plants and plant products, and to promote appropriate measures for their control.
  2. Make provisions for an official national plant protection organization (NPPO). The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is the NPPO of Canada, with responsibilities of an official NPPO shall include the following:
    1. the issuance of certificates relating to the phytosanitary regulations of the importing
    2. the surveillance of growing plants  with the object of reporting the occurrence, outbreak and spread of pests, and of controlling those pests
    3. the inspection of consignments of plants and plant products, and other regulated articles moving in international trade
    4. the conduct of pest risk analyses to determine phytosanitary import requirements.
  3. Cooperate in the development of international standards.
  4. Make provisions for the implementation of the IPPC.

Expected results

  • Protection of global plant resource through the effective prevention of introduction and spread of pests.
  • Implementation of technically justified and least trade restrictive phytosanitary import requirements.
  • Harmonized application of phytosanitary measures through the effective development and implementation of international standards for phytosanitary measures.
  • Effective implementation of the IPPC and timely response to new plant health emergencies and needs.
  • Strengthening phytosanitary capacity of developing countries to ensure successful implementation of the IPPC and its principles.

Canada’s involvement

  • Canada was one of the first signatories to the IPPC.
  • The IPPC is important to Canada because the global implementation of its principles prevents the movement of pests through international trade, which in turn protects Canada’s plant resources.
  • Through its international standards, agreement ensures application of technically justified and least trade restrictive measures by signatory countries, which facilitates trade of Canadian plant and plant products. Canada is a major exporter of plant and plant products.
  • The agreement is referenced in the Plant Protection Regulations with regards to provision of principles relating to import regulations and export certification.

Results / progress


  • Canada plays leadership and active role in influencing the strategic policies and activities of the IPPC. Canada actively participates in the Commission, the governing body of the IPPC, and has members in the key bodies of the Commission, such as the Standards Committee, Implementation and Capacity Development Committee, ad-hoc working groups and focus groups.
  • Funding and supporting expert working groups for the development of international standards. Supporting the work of the IPPC development agenda as outlined in the Strategic Framework for the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) 2020–2030.
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