Traveling within Canada

There are no regulations that control movement of privately owned parrots within Canada provided they are legally owned. It is considered an offence to transport illegally obtained wildlife (e.g., smuggled birds) between provinces and territories.

Traveling back into Canada

MAKE SURE YOUR BIRD CAN COME BACK HOME. Before taking your bird out of Canada, you need to make sure that you can bring it back home again. The requirements are different if your birds are coming into Canada from the United States, or from another country. The regulations for pet birds apply to personally owned birds including psittacines (parrots), many passerines (canaries, finches, etc) and some other species such as toucans. They do not apply to pigeons, doves, species of wild or domesticated fowl, or game birds. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW whether your pet bird fits in the “pet bird” category or whether special permits are necessary. Contact your local CFIA office if you have any doubts.

Traveling outside of Canada

FROM THE USA: Information on the  importation of privately owned pet birds from the United States is available on the CFIA website. If the import of your bird fits within certain conditions of ownership, and the bird passes a health inspection at the border, you may be able to simply fill in a form available at customs and there will be no import permit or quarantine period required. BE SURE YOU QUALIFY for these conditions before leaving Canada, otherwise you will need to obtain an import permit from your local CFIA office IN ADVANCE.

NOTE: If you are just passing through the United States on your way back to Canada from another country you must follow the regulations for “Returning from a country other than the United States”

FROM COUNTRY OTHER THAN THE USA: If you are returning from a country other than the United States you must obtain an import permit IN ADVANCE issued by your local CFIA office. Beware that importation of birds is NOT ALLOWED from certain countries to prevent diseases found in those countries from entering Canada. In order to obtain a permit, there are a number of conditions of how your bird has been kept that must be fulfilled, you may have to provide a CFIA approved quarantine facility, and your bird may need to be treated with antibiotics for infection by Chlamydophila psittaci (psittacosis). The basic guidelines for importation are available online. A veterinarian will need to be consulted on whether and how to best treat your bird.

The CFIA provides an Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) to help you understand the import regulation that are necessary for your situation. When you get to the page where it asks for the “Commodity” you intend to import, enter the word “bird”. This will provide you with a list of different groups of bird “types” from which to choose. You then work through a series of windows further describing the bird “type”, where it is coming from, and the purpose of importing the bird. Make sure to consult with the CFIA to ensure you have the most up to date information, and that you fully understand what is required, before making any travel arrangements.

Most countries have permits for the importation of various kinds of birds for different purposes; some of these apply to pet birds. Your bird is not allowed to leave Canada unless the permits are in order for the country you will be entering. The following, CFIA site has a variety of import permit forms, listed by country, available in pdf form.

These forms must be signed by a veterinarian accredited by the CFIA, and may require considerable supporting documentation. Your veterinarian must be able to specifically identify each bird, and must also attest that the birds are in good health and have not been in contact with certain specified infectious diseases. Permits may be refused if there have been disease outbreaks within Canada that would be of concern to other countries, for example certain strains of Avian Influenza or particular poultry diseases. It is critical to contact your local CFIA office to obtain the most recent information on health certificates and import regulations.

The Veterinary Health Certificate form to export birds to the United States is available online.

Other Resources

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is Federal Agency whose responsibilities include minimizing the transfer of animal diseases to humans. This is relevant to the movement of animals (including pets) across the borders into and out of Canada.


This website is provided for general information only and pet bird owners must contact the relevant government agencies directly to ensure that they understand all import and export regulations that might apply to their bird.