1.10.3 What is a first importer?

A first importer is a company that is the first to take control of products entering a province from outside of the province. The first importer of a brand becomes the designated steward of PPP associated with imported goods if the brand owner is not resident in the province and a Canadian-based, non-resident brand owner has not become a voluntary steward (as outlined in Section 1.8) for the brand in the province.

The following table provides examples of the legally obligated steward in different scenarios.


Example Responsible Party
Registered brand

Company A is resident in British Columbia and holds the registered trademark/brand.

Company A as the resident brand owner in BC.
Unregistered Brand

Company A in Ontario holds the intellectual property rights to an unregistered brand.

Company A as the brand owner in ON.
More than one brand on package or printed material

Company A and Company B, both resident in Manitoba, have one product they jointly supply where the product or the packaging displays both of their brands. Company A is more involved with the production of the product or printed material than Company B.

Company A as the brand owner in MB
No identifiable brand on package or printed material

Company A in Saskatchewan is the first to take control of the imported product associated with packaging that bears no identifiable brand.

Company A as the first importer.
Resident has Licensing Agreement with non-resident brand owner

Company B is not resident in Ontario and either has registered the brand and/or holds the intellectual property rights to the brand; Company A is resident in Ontario and is licensee of Company B’s brand(s).

Company A as the resident brand owner in ON
Resident has Licensing Agreement with resident brand owner

Company B is resident in Saskatchewan and either has registered and/ or holds the intellectual property rights to the brand; Company A also is resident in Saskatchewan and is licensee of Company B’s brand.

Company B as the SK resident brand owner.
First Importer

Company A imports products into Manitoba and is the first to take control of the imported products which are associated with obligated packaging and/or printed paper. The brand owner is not a resident of Manitoba.

Company A as the resident first importer
Franchisor and Franchisees

Company A is a franchisor with residency in British Columbia with franchisees located in BC.

Company A as the franchisor is responsible for the entire BC franchise system.
Franchisor and Franchisees

Company A is a franchisor and is not resident in British Columbia and has franchisees located in BC.

Company A as the franchisor is responsible for the entire BC franchise system.
Franchisor and Franchisees

Company B is a franchisor located in the US with a franchise system operating in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan

Company B as the franchisor is responsible to report and pay fees on all three franchise systems

Two brands packaged together

Company A and B are packaging their individually branded products together to be supplied in a kit to consumers in Saskatchewan. Company A has a more direct relationship with the joint packaging than company B, but is not resident in Saskatchewan. Company B is resident in Saskatchewan.

Company B as the resident steward in SK is responsible for reporting and paying fees on all products in the kit.
Service packaging with or without brand

Company A is resident in BC and supplies plastic bags t0 residential consumers that carry the brand name of the bag manufacturer (Company B). [NOTE: packaging provided at point of sale is called service packaging].

Company A, whether deemed a steward as a brand owner, franchisor or first importer, is responsible for all of the service packaging it supplies to residential consumers in BC.
Manufacturer of private label brands

Company A manufactures private label goods on behalf of company B.

Company B as the brand owner of the private label goods.
Warehouse/distributor (as a third party)

Company A is the brand owner and is resident in Ontario and ships product to a warehouse or distributor in Ontario. The warehouse or distributor fills orders on behalf of Company A.

Company A as brand owner.
Drug Store

Company A is a pharmacy that is resident in Manitoba and dispenses Company B’s brands of prescription medication in Company A’s service packaging (e.g., pill bottles).

Company A is responsible for all service packaging it supplies in MB.