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On March 4, 2019, Topwin Trading Co. Ltd. (“Topwin”) pled guilty to violating the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPRIITA) and fined $50,000 in penalties.

The Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) notified the enforcement branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada (“ECCC”) upon becoming aware of a shipment of Deida Wanhua Herbal Oil entering the country. The shipping invoice indicated that the herbal oil contained plant material derived from the Bletilla striata, a species native to East Asia and known as the hyacinth orchid or Chinese ground orchid. Approximately 51 boxes containing 10,200 vials of the herbal oil were detained by ECCC enforcement officers. Currently, all orchid species are listed in the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flauna and Flora (CITES)[1].

Prior to importing the substance, a permit is required to import Bletilla striata into Canada. It is notable that all orchid species are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

$45,000 of the total fine will be directed towards the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund. The court also ordered that the 51 cases of seized product be forfeited. The Environment Damages Fund was created in 1995 and is administered by Environment and Climate Change. The Environment Damages Funds provides a mechanism to use the funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments for projects that benefit the natural environment.

In 2010 Topwin pled guilty to illegally importing Nardostachys grandiflora (Spikenard), commonly used in dried form as a medicinal herb, and fined under WAPPRIITA.

[1] CITES, The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention, is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals. The convention was opened for signature in 1973 and CITES entered into force on 1 July 1975.

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