Personal Exemptions and Imports

Personal Imports – General

You are eligible for a personal exemption if you are one of the following:

  • a Canadian resident returning from a trip outside Canada;
  • a former resident of Canada returning to live in this country; or
  • a temporary resident of Canada returning from a trip outside Canada.
  • Children are also entitled to a personal exemption as long as the goods are for the child’s use. Parents or guardians can make a declaration to the CBSA on behalf of the child.


What are my personal exemptions?

The length of your absence from Canada determines your eligibility for an exemption and the amount of goods you can bring back, without paying any duty and taxes. (Tobacco products carry a specialized level of limitation, please click here for details.)


What are my personal exemptions if I’ve been gone for 24 hours?

  • No personal exemptions on this trip. Try to limit your spending and plan your big shopping trips when you can spend more time across the border.
What are my personal exemptions if I’ve been gone for more than 24 hours, but less than 48 hours?
  • You can claim goods worth up to CAN$200.
  • Tobacco and Alcohol are NOT included
  • Be careful – If you EXCEED the $200 limit, you will pay duty on the entire value of your goods coming back. (the $200 will not be deducted from your total)
  • Goods must be in your possession and reported at time of entry to Canada.


A minimum absence of 24 hours from Canada is required. For example, if you left at 19:00 on Friday the 15th, you may return no earlier than 19:00 on Saturday the 16th to claim the exemption.

What are my personal exemptions if I’ve been gone for 48 hours or more?
  • You can claim goods worth up to CAN$800.
  • You MAY include Alcohol and Tobacco products (click each for details)
  • Goods must be in your possession and reported at time of entry to Canada.
  • If the value of the goods you are bringing back exceeds CAN$800, duties and taxes are applicable only on amount of the imported goods that exceeds CAN$800.


A minimum absence of 48 hours from Canada is required. For example, if you left at 19:00 on Friday the 15th, you may return no earlier than 19:00 on Sunday the 17th to claim the exemption.

What are my personal exemptions if I’ve been gone for MORE than 7 days?
  • You can claim goods worth up to CAN$800.
  • You must have Alcohol and Tobacco products in your possession when you enter Canada, but other goods may follow you by other means (such as courier or by post). However, all of the goods you are bringing back must be reported to the CBSA when you arrive. See Unaccompanied Goods section.


A minimum absence of seven days is required. When calculating the number of days you have been absent, exclude the day you left Canada but include the day you returned. For example, we consider you to have been absent seven days if you left Canada on Friday the 7th and return no earlier than Friday the 14th to claim the exemption.

What are the restrictions on personal exemptions?

  • You cannot combine your personal exemptions with another person’s or transfer them to someone else. (Keep your receipts separate)
  • You cannot combine your personal exemptions. Regardless of how long you have been gone beyond 48 hours, your maximum personal exemption is  still only $800.
  • In general, the goods you include in your personal exemption must be for your personal or household use. Such goods include souvenirs that you purchased, gifts that you received from friends or relatives living outside Canada or prizes that you won.
  • Goods you bring in for commercial use or for another person do not qualify for the exemption and are subject to applicable duties and taxes.
  • In all cases, goods you include in your 24-hour exemption (CAN$200) or 48-hour exemption (CAN$800) must be with you upon your arrival in Canada.
  • Except for tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, goods you claim in your 7-day exemption (CAN$800) may be shipped to your home by mail, courier or other means of transportation. You must still claim them at the time of re-entry.
  • You must always report the value of the goods you are importing in Canadian funds. Foreign currency amounts including any foreign taxes must be converted to Canadian dollars at the exchange rate recognized by the Bank of Canada at the time of your re-entry.

What if I spent part of the year outside of Canada?

If you spend six months or less in another country for health reasons or pleasure, the CBSA still considers you a resident of Canada and you are entitled to the same exemptions as other Canadian residents. When you import foreign goods or vehicles for your personal use into Canada (even temporarily), you must meet all import requirements and pay all applicable duty and taxes.

Can I send gifts home when I am on vacation?

While out of the country, you can send gifts to friends in Canada and not pay duty and taxes under the following conditions: each gift must not be worth more than CAN$60 and the gifts cannot be tobacco products, alcoholic beverages or advertising matter.

The recipient must pay the duty and taxes as well as any provincial or territorial levies that apply for each gift having a value in excess of CAN$60. You should include a card indicating that the item is a gift to avoid any misunderstanding.

What if I want to bring the gifts home with me?

While gifts you send while outside Canada do not count as part of your personal exemption, those accompanying you when you return to Canada, whether gifts for others or gifts you received, are subject to personal exemption limits.

What if I win or receive a prize when I am away?

In most cases, you must pay regular duty and taxes on these items if you receive them while outside Canada. Prizes can be claimed as part of your personal exemption. You must pay the duty and taxes as well as any provincial or territorial assessments that apply in excess of your personal exemption.

What if I want to repair or alter my car, boat or plane?

may have to pay duty and/or taxes on the work done. In some cases, where the work is carried out in certain countries outside North America, you may have to pay duty and/or tax on the entire value of the vehicle, vessel or aircraft when you bring it back.

Refer to the following CBSA documents for more information:

What if my car, boat or plane breaks down while I am travelling outside of Canada?

If you are outside Canada and you have emergency repairs made to your vehicle, vessel or aircraft, the repairs are duty and tax exempt. To be eligible for this special provision, be sure to declare the value of all repairs and replacement parts when you return to Canada with the vehicle and provide any supporting documentation, such as police, insurance or mechanic reports.

If there is any doubt that the repairs were required as a result of an emergency, you will be required to pay the duty and taxes that apply for a non-emergency repair or alteration. If you are later able to provide proof supporting the emergency repairs and eligibility for duty and tax relief, you may appeal the initial decision. If you are uncertain if your repairs will qualify, contact us for a consultation.

For more information, refer to Canadian Goods Abroad Program – Emergency Repairs.

Note: If your repairs resulted in extensive modifications, Transport Canada has requirements to be aware of. For more information, contact Transport Canada’s Registrar of Imported Vehicles. (1-888-842-8240)

What is a beneficial duty rate?

After each trip outside Canada of 48 hours or longer, in addition to being eligible for a personal exemption of CAN$800 (48-hour) or CAN$800 (7-day), you are entitled to a beneficial duty rate of 7% for additional goods valued up to CAN$300 over your exemption amount. This rate does not apply to tobacco products or alcoholic beverages. It applies only to goods that accompany you and that do not qualify for duty-free entry under the Customs Tariff. You must still pay any goods and services tax (GST) or harmonized sales tax (HST) that applies. In some provinces, the CBSA also collects the provincial sales tax (PST).

What is the regular duty rate?

If you do not qualify for a personal exemption, or if you exceed your exemption limit and beneficial duty rate amounts, you will have to pay the GST/HST, as well as any duty or other tax or assessment that applies on the excess amount. Duty rates vary according to: the goods you are importing; the country where the goods were made; and the country from which you are importing them. You may also have to pay the PST if you live in a province where the CBSA has an agreement to collect the tax and you return to Canada through that province.

How can I estimate what my duties and taxes will be?

To assist in calculating and planning for the amount owing, the CBSA has created a duty and tax estimator for travellers.


Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), no duty is payable on goods imported for personal use if the good is marked as made in Canada, the United States of America (USA) or Mexico, or if there is no marking or labelling indicating that it was made somewhere other than in Canada, the USA, or Mexico.

Canada’s other free trade agreements contain a similar provision. Refer toRules of Origin for Casual Goods Under Free Trade Agreements.


Most imported goods are also subject to the federal goods and services tax and provincial sales tax or, in certain provinces and territories, the harmonized sales tax.

Provincial sales tax  (PST)

The CBSA has agreements with some provinces and territories which allow the CBSA to collect provincial/territorial taxes, levies and fees on goods with a value that exceeds your personal exemption amount. If you reside in one of these provinces or territories and you return to Canada at a port of entry in your province or territory of residence, the goods that you import in excess of your personal exemption will be subject to a provincial or territorial assessment.


Harmonized sales tax (HST)

The Government of Canada has agreements with New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Ontario to collect the HST. If you live in a participating province and the value of the non-commercial goods you import is more than your personal exemption, you must pay the HST instead of the GST, regardless of where you enter Canada.

Value for duty and foreign sales tax

You must declare the “value for duty” of the goods you are importing. Generally, this is the amount you pay for the goods, including any foreign tax assessment. However, any foreign tax already refunded, or to be refunded by a foreign government, does not have to be included in your value for duty declaration.

How do I declare and send unaccompanied goods?

Often travellers acquire goods outside Canada and have these sent home. These goods arrive after your return to Canada. If you make such arrangements with a courier or postal company, you have 40 days from the date of your return to Canada to claim these goods. The good(s) mailed to Canada must qualify for the 7-day personal exemption(You may not ship goods if you are traveling for less than 7 days). The shipment must not contain alcohol or tobacco products.  Upon arrival, you must tell a border services officer that you have shipped goods to follow and request Personal Exemption CBSA Declaration. Be sure to retain your copy of Form BSF192 until you have received and accounted for all your goods.

What if I want to import goods through a carrier?

Importing certain personal goods can be a challenge – We encourage you to consult with us to assist with the arrangements.

Should you choose to do this process without assistance: When a courier company delivers the goods, they will ask that you to pay the applicable duty and taxes along with a processing fee. You then have two options:

  • You can accept delivery by paying the amount owing and then file a claim with the CBSA for a refund of the duties and taxes. For information on the casual goods refund process, refer to Refund of Duties and Taxes on Non-commercial Importations; or
  • You can refuse to accept the delivery and avoid paying the duty, taxes and the processing fee. If you do this, you must advise the courier company at time of delivery that you will personally clear your goods with the CBSA. Otherwise, the goods will be returned to the country of export. Once you have personally cleared the goods with the CBSA, using Form  Personal Exemption CBSA Declaration you will be required to present the CBSA clearance documents to the courier in order for your goods to be delivered.

For more general information on importing goods by courier, refer to Importing goods for personal use.

What if my goods are imported through Canada Post?

When Canada Post delivers the goods, you have three options:

  • You can refuse the mail item and request a reassessment (a review of the amount charged before you pay);
  • You can pay the duty and/or taxes and request an adjustment (a review of the amount charged after you pay); or
  • If you want to return goods to sender before you pay the duty and/or taxes, advise Canada Post upon delivery.

For more information, please refer to Import by Mail.

What if I need to exchange goods that I paid duty on?

You have 60 days from the date you imported goods under your personal exemption to avoid paying additional duty. Contact your nearest CBSA office for advice.

How do I import restricted or prohibited goods?

Importing certain goods into Canada is restricted or prohibited.  Attempting to import these goods without the right planning can cause you to lose the items, face hefty fines, or experience stress and delays at the border. There are many different government agencies regulating these imports, and the process can be very confusing.  Let the experts lend a hand – Contact us in advance to assist you with the process.

The following are some examples of restricted or prohibited goods.

How do I import Food, plants, animals and related products?

You must declare all food, plants, animal and related products that you import into Canada. Failure to do so can result in your goods being confiscated or you may be subject to a fine or prosecution.

Some of these items are prohibited or regulated because they can carry foreign animal and plant pests and diseases. Refer to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) What Can I Bring Into Canada in Terms Of Food, Plant, Animal and Related Products.

Complete and current import requirements for CFIA-regulated products can be found by consulting CFIA’s Automated Import Reference System (AIRS). AIRS guides the user through a series of questions about the Harmonized System code, origin, destination, end use and miscellaneous qualifiers of the product they wish to import. The import requirements can change on a daily basis due to emerging threats.

Certain species of plants and animals that are endangered or threatened due to commercial exploitation are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES). Their trade is carefully controlled. CITES import requirements do not appear in AIRS. If you have questions about importing a CITES species, visit the CITES website.

Some aquatic invasive species (AIS), such as zebra and quagga mussels and live Asian carp, are prohibited entry to Canada. Refer to Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Aquatic Invasive Species website.

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has set additional limits on the quantity and/or dollar value of certain food products you can bring into Canada duty-free or that you can include in your personal exemption. Unless you have an import permit from GAC for quantities over and above the established limits, you will have to pay duty ranging from 150% – 300% of the value of the goods. Refer to Tariff Rate Quotas: Agricultural Products for more information.

In some cases, provinces and territories have legislation prohibiting possession or transport of specific invasive species and species that can carry diseases. Before you bring any plants, products or animals (either alive or dead such as in the case of carcasses, trophies or whole fish) into a province or territory, check with the jurisdiction to ensure you comply with provincial and territorial laws and regulations.

For more information, refer to Food Plant and Animal Inspections.

What if my goods are contaminated with soil?

Soil is a major carrier of invasive species as well as plant and animal diseases.

Vehicles, equipment, footwear and other goods arriving at the Canadian border that are contaminated with soil are usually refused entry. These goods may be allowed entry under specific circumstances. Refer to Protecting Canada from Invasive Species.

What types of goods are prohibited?

The Canada Consumer Products Safety Act prohibits you from importing consumer products that could pose a danger to the public (for example, baby walkers or jequirity beans that are often found in art or bead work).

You should be aware of consumer products that have safety requirements in Canada. Many of these requirements are stricter than requirements of other countries. For more information refer to Bringing Consumer Products into Canada.

Can I import Cultural property?

Certain antiquities or cultural objects considered to have historical significance to their country of origin cannot be brought into Canada without the appropriate export permits. Consult Import of Cultural Property for more information.

How do I import firearms and weapons?

You must declare all weapons and firearms at the CBSA port of entry when you enter Canada. If not, the goods may be seized and you could face prosecution.

For more detailed information on importing a firearm into Canada, including licensing, registration and permit requirements, consult Import and Export a Firearm or Weapon into Canada.

What if I think my goods might be prohibited?

For information concerning other prohibited goods, consult Prohibited Importations.

What goods are subject to import controls?

To monitor the effects of imports on Canadian manufacturers, there are import controls on items such as clothing, handbags and textiles. These controls are outlined in the Export and Imports Permits Act. You may need an import permit, even if you qualify for a personal exemption, depending on the value, quantity or type of goods you intend to import.

For more information about these products, consult Global Affairs Canada’s Export and Import Controls.

How can I import a Vehicle?

Importing your vehicle can be effortless with our customized service, contact us today.


Vehicle imports fall under several federal departments, including the CBSA, Transport Canada (TC), and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Requirements from all of these departments apply.

What constitutes a vehicle?

Under customs legislation, “vehicle” can refer to any kind of pleasure vehicle such as passenger cars, pickup trucks, camper trucks, vans, jeeps, chassis cabs, motorcycles, snowmobiles and motor homes; as long as it is used for non-commercial purposes.

For the purpose of importing, TC defines a vehicle as, “any vehicle that is capable of being driven or drawn on roads by any means other than muscular power exclusively, but does not include any vehicle designed to run exclusively on rails.” Trailers such as recreational, boat, camping, horse and stock trailers are considered vehicles as are wood chippers, generators or any other equipment mounted on rims and tires.

What are Transport Canada requirements for vehicle imports?

For importing purposes, Transport Canada considers U.S.-leased and financed vehicles as “purchased” and these vehicles must meet TC’s import and admissibility requirements.

Import restrictions also apply to most used or second-hand vehicles that are not manufactured in the current year and are imported from a country other than the United States. For further information, refer to Memorandum D9-1-11, Importation of Used or Second-hand Motor Vehicles.

Before importing any vehicle, you should contact the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV). Created by TC, the RIV administers a national program to ensure that imported vehicles are brought into compliance with Canada’s safety standards.

Once a vehicle is released at the border, you must abide by the terms of your TC declaration which may include fulfilling additional requirements established under applicable legislative provisions.

For more information on TC’s requirements on the importation of vehicles, including a complete list of vehicle classes, refer to D19-12-1, Importation of Vehiclesor contact Transport Canada’s Motor Vehicle Safety Directorate.

What are Provincial/territorial requirements for Vehicle imports?

You should also contact the provincial or territorial licensing authority to determine what provincial requirements may apply for importing and licencing a vehicle in that province or territory. Border services officers will verify compliance to provincial and territorial requirements and legislation prior to releasing a vehicle at the border.

What if my vehicle has come in contact with soil or manure?

Regardless of place of origin, imported used vehicles, farm equipment and related earth-moving vehicles and equipment must be free from soil, sand, earth, plant residue, manure and related debris. Many exotic plant pest organisms capable of causing economic loss to Canadian agricultural production can be transported in soil and related matter. Refer to D19-1-1, Food, Plants, Animals and Related Products.

What if I purchased, rent, borrow or lease a vehicle for temporary importation?

If you buy, lease, rent or borrow a vehicle while outside Canada, CBSA and Transport Canada legislation will allow you to bring it into Canada for your personal use on a temporary basis only under certain specific terms and conditions. For additional information, refer to Temporary Importation of Conveyances by Residents of Canada and  Importation of Vehicles.

What documents do I need from the vendor or exporter of my shipment?

The vendor or exporter (the person or company that sold you the goods) should give you a sales receipt or invoice that describes the goods in detail and shows the purchase price.

The vendor or exporter should also provide you with a certificate of origin so the goods may qualify for lower duty rates, such as those outlined in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), or the Canada-Israel Free Trade, Agreement (CIFTA).

For details, see Tariff Treatments.

What books and records do I have to keep?

As an importer, you have to keep books and records to substantiate what goods you imported, the quantities, the prices you paid, and the goods’ origin. You have to keep records in Canada, in either paper or electronic format, for six years following the importation of the goods. If you want to keep your records outside Canada, you have to get our written approval.

Even if a customs broker carries out customs activities on your behalf, you should also keep the records on your premises. As the importer, you are responsible for all records on reporting, releasing, accounting for, and paying for goods, as well as any later adjustments.

For more details, see Memorandum D17-1-21, Maintenance of Records and Books in Canada by Importers.

Our Compliance team provides expert service and support to business owners to set up and maintain internal records. Contact us for support today.

What is a Carrier?

A carrier is the person or company who transports your goods. As the importer, you can be your own carrier. Your carrier can bring your goods into Canada by air, highway, marine, rail, or international mail.

What records does a carrier have to keep?

Your carrier has to keep records at the place of business in Canada for three years after the year it transported your goods to Canada. These records can include charts of accounts, trip logs, movement history reports, and bills of lading. They may include paper documents or those stored electronically. Carriers can keep these records outside Canada if they receive written permission from CBSA.

Where will my shipment be processed once it arrives in Canada?

CBSA processes most shipments at the border point (e.g., highway border, rail border, international airport, seaport, or customs mail centre). They can process and release international mail only at the three customs mail centres across Canada. However, you can choose to have a customs broker release the goods at an inland office, which is a customs office not located at the border.

For example, your shipment arrives at Fort Erie, Ontario, but you want us to release it in Toronto. In this case, after your carrier reports the goods at Fort Erie, it must have posted security with the CBSA to carry them to one of the approved inland Toronto sites.

Only carriers who have posted security with CBSA (bonded carriers) can transport non-duty-paid goods between points in Canada

What hours of the day can I clear shipments through the border?

One of the many benefits of using a customs broker is the ability to have your goods cleared long before they are due to arrive at a border. Without this service, your goods may only be cleared within the following prescribed timeframes:

There are 22 customs offices that offer commercial service 24 hours a day. Others provide commercial service from 8:00 a.m. to midnight, and others are only open to release commercial shipments during regular office hours (e.g., 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).

If you are importing goods that you need to use immediately in production or manufacturing, you may benefit from releasing your shipment during off-peak times. During off-hours, traffic congestion and waiting lines for counter service are reduced. Therefore, we should be able to release your shipment more quickly at that time than during busier periods.

You can get more details on office hours and peak-period traffic patterns from your nearest customs office. To locate your nearest customs office, please call our Border Information Service (BIS) line.

What is the difference between duties and customs duty?

Duties include any duties or taxes levied under the Customs Tariff, the Excise Tax Act, the Excise Act, or the Special Import Measures Act. Customs duty includes only the duties prescribed under the Customs Tariff.

Who prepares customs documents and presents them to CBSA?

Carriers provide us with the appropriate documents to report the arrival of your shipments. The transportation mode determines what type of reporting document the carrier must use.

As an importer, you also need to submit release or accounting documents, which you can either prepare yourself, or hire a customs broker to do on your behalf. In this document, when we refer to you, we are talking about you as an importer or your customs broker in all matters except the reporting of goods by the carrier. For more information, see Accounting for Your Shipment.

What is a customs broker and what do they do?

The CBSA licenses  customs brokers to carry out customs-related responsibilities on behalf of their clients. A broker’s services include:

  • obtaining release of the imported goods;
  • paying any duties that apply;
  • obtaining, preparing, and presenting or transmitting the necessary documents or data;
  • maintaining records; and
  • responding to any CBSA concerns after payment.

You will have to pay a fee for these services, which the brokerage firm establishes.

Brokers do not work for the federal government-they are not federal public servants.

As the importer, you remain liable for all duties owing until either you or your broker pays them. This applies regardless of whether or not you paid the amount to your broker.

How can I determine what duties will be due on my shipment in advance?

Before your shipment arrives, a customs broker can assist you in determining the duties you will have to pay on the goods. It is important that you have a thorough description of the goods and know their value and origin. We can also give you advice about the appropriate valuation method, tariff classification, and tariff treatment. You can also request an Advance Ruling or a National Customs Ruling on tariff classification, origin, marking or valuation.

For information on rulings, see:

All commercial goods you bring into Canada are subject to customs duty and the goods and services tax (GST), unless they are exempt or free of duties. Regardless of the currency you use to pay for your goods, you must always convert the value of the goods into Canadian funds to determine the duties payable.

Depending on the goods or their value, some other charges or taxes may apply, including excise duty on alcohol.

What are HS Codes?

The Harmonized System (HS) is the standardized coding system of names and numbers used in international trade. Over 200 countries representing about 98 percent of world trade use the HS as a basis for customs tariffs and the compilation of international trade data and statistics. HS compliance refers to the mandatory proper classification and declaration of goods coming into or leaving Canada. As an importer or exporter, you are responsible for the correct declaration of your goods.

To search for a specific HS code, please refer to the Canada Post HS Code Finder or refer to Industry Canada’s Canadian Importer Database to browse products by keyword or by code.

What is the Advance Commercial Information (ACI) Program?

The Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program allows more effective risk management of cargo entering Canada by providing CBSA officers with electronic pre-arrival information so that they are equipped with the right information at the right time to identify health, safety and security threats related to commercial goods before the goods arrive in Canada. The eManifest program is an integral element of ACI.

For general information about the ACI program you can visit the ACI Web page which includes guidelines and requirements.

What do I need to know before I import goods?

As a commercial importer, you must have a valid business number for your import-export account prior to importing goods into Canada.

You will also find a reference list for importers that include contact information for other government departments and agencies involved in the importation of goods.

For more information please contact us for a Free Consultation regarding your importation needs.

Why should I choose Community Customs Brokers over any other broker?

Community Customs Brokers Inc. has brought together a community of experts to take care of every aspect of your shipments.  Whether you import once a day or once a year – Community Customs Brokers has a customized package to meet your needs.  Get affordable rates, expert service and an unsurpassed client experience – every time.

What documentation is required to import goods into Canada?

There is a short and a long answer to this.

The short answer is that a bill of sale or invoice is required to import shipments into Canada.

On that bill of sale or invoice should show –

  • Who the buyer and seller are
  • What the items are
  • Where the items are made
  • How much they cost – including type of currency
  • If applicable, include Free Trade Agreement certificates or statements

The long answer is shown in this 25 step by step of what is required on a proper Canada Customs Invoice – http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d1/d1-4-1-eng.html


What is required to import a horse into Canada?

At Community Customs Brokers, we are experts in handling horses coming into Canada.

We make the process very simple for you.

The following documents and steps are required to import a horse:

  • Bill of Sale
  • Copies of Coggins
  • Make sure the country of where the horse is born is on the paperwork
  • CEM Statement
  • Confirm who the carrier is, and provide us with that information

The fees you will encounter for importing a horse are as follows:

  • Customs Duty – 0% – There is NO duty on horses
  • Customs GST – If imported in a business name, you will pay GST/HST only
  • Customs PST – If imported in a personal name, you will pay PST AND GST or HST
  • Customs Brokerage Fees – Our fees will be based on the value of the horse

Once we have this information, we will prepare the customs entry for you and email you all of the customs charges, which you can pay online via credit card.

To get started, simply fill out these electronic documents and we will get your horse to you in no time!

What do you need to import a yacht or boat at a marine crossing in Canada?

If you are importing your marine pleasure craft into Canada over water, you must report to a designated marine site and call the CBSA telephone reporting centre (TRC) at 1-888-226-7277 immediately upon your arrival. You must declare the importation of the vessel to the border services officer at the TRC and follow his or her instructions. If processing cannot take place at the marina, you may be required to report to the closest CBSA office, where you will need to pay any applicable duty and taxes. Please ensure that you have the bill of sale and proof of ownership ready to present to the officer.

Source – http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/imp-mar-eng.html

If you will be importing the yacht commercially we would be happy to assist with the clearance.  We would need a copy of the bill of sale and registration for the yacht. We would then coordinate the clearance at the appropriate port on your behalf.  Duty/taxes and clearance fees would be payable upon importation of the yacht.

We recommend reviewing the licensing and registration requirements set out by Transport Canada once the vessel has been imported.  You can view these requirements by visiting: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/menu.html .

If you prefer to contact Transport Canada directly, they can be reached at:

Phone: 1-877-242-8770 (Toll Free in North America)

Email: oep-epe@tc.gc.ca

or alternatively at

Transport Canada

620 – 800 Burrard Street

Vancouver, B.C.

V6Z 2J8

General Information: (604) 666-3518

What is required to import fish and seafood products into Canada?

Under the Canadian Food Inspection Agencies Fish Import Inspection program importers of fish and seafood for human consumption and for commercial sale must hold either a Fish Import License or a Quality Management Program Import License from the CFIA.

Importers are responsible for making sure that their products meet the Canadian Regulatory requirements including the food safety standards established by Health Canada. If a shipment fails to meet the regulatory requirements and cannot be brought into compliance by the importer the entire shipment must be removed from Canada or destroyed and the goods will be put on CFIA’s Mandatory Inspection list. Incoming products will be inspected 100% of the time until 4 consecutive shipments meet the Canadian requirements.

Inspections Fish and Seafood products imported to Canada are inspected to prevent the market from unsafe, unwholesome or mislabeled products. CFIA uses a risk based approach in developing an annual sampling plan for inspection of seafood and fish products. It is based on a sampling of 5% and is developed based on a review of the following information: -food safety risk -history of compliance of a particular product Environmental scanning information Targets are randomly selected in addition a first shipment from a producer that has not shipped product in 2 years will be inspected.

Regulatory Requirements http://inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/fisi3oi/import/inspe.shtml

All licensed fish importers must meet the following requirement:

  • Import product that is safe and meets all Canadian Regulatory requirements
  • Notify the CFIA of every import shipment within 48 hours of arrival
  • Make every shipment available for inspection prior to distribution and sale in Canada
  • Keep accurate and complete records of imported shipments so that shipments can be easily traced
  • Obtain information on the manufacturing processes and controls used in the production of all ready to eat and canned products which they import -Investigate any potential problems with the safety of their product and notify CFIA within 24 hours of confirmed health and safety issues and
  • Pay an annual import license and inspection service fee for their imported products.

Responsibilities of Importer CFIA’s mandate is that all importers of shellfish and seafood products be fully aware of their responsibilities and to the program requirements.

Tools for this are available which include the mandatory Inspection list that is updated regularly.

If the products you are importing are on this list CFIA will do a mandatory inspection to confirm they comply with Canadian requirement. It is important to know the suppliers you are dealing with and the product when importing to Canada.

Here is the link to the Mandatory Inspection List http://active.inspection.gc.ca/scripts/fispoi/ial/helaid.asp?lang=e

Fish Import License All importers to Canada require a Fish License to import fish and seafood product.

This license application must also include you to advise CFIA how you will meet the following regulatory requirements:

  • Import products that are not tainted, decomposed or unwholesome and meet all Canadian regulatory requirements, (product sourcing)
  • Store products in a way that prevents contamination and deterioration (product storage and packaging)
  • Track distribution of product you import including name and address of person to whom you sold the fish and the date it was sold (product distribution records)
  • Track complaints and investigate information that you receive which questions the safety of your products
  • Obtain process control documents for canned and ready to eat products you import

Where do I apply for a Fish License?

Application for a Fish Import License is on the Canadian Food Inspection agency website. Please complete form 5587

How long will it take me to obtain a fish license?

It will take approximately 10 working days after CFIA receives the application package.

Does a sample shipment of Fish require a Fish License?

Yes Fish imports require a license no matter if it is a sample or not.

The Regulation of imported Fish and Seafood Products in Canada: http://inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/fispoi/import/inspe.shtml

Mandatory Inspection List:


Fish Inspection Regulation:

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/C.R.C.. c. 802/index.html

Contact Information: Canadian Food Inspection Agency/Fish Inquires 905-795-9666

Where to send documents and paperwork for customs clearance fax or email

When you have a shipment that needs to be set up for customs clearance, here are the details:

For shipments going to Canada:

Send email attachments to docs@communitycb.com

Or, fax, 604.538.3994 (email will receive the fastest response times)

Questions and Answers – On the Fish Import Program?

CFIA has posted some general information on the Fish Import Program that you will find very beneficial. We recommend that you follow this link www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/fispoi/import/pol/queste.shtml

What paperwork will I need to send to Community Customs Brokers for Customs Clearance?

In order to clear your goods thru Canada Customs and arrange for CFIA Release we will require the following documents:

  • Commercial Invoice with TSN number for each item
  • Copy of your Fish Import License
How do I apply for a Carnet?

If you require a Carnet, they can be obtained from your local Chamber of Commerce.

As of January 2015, this was the information provided by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce regarding applying for a Carnet –


There are four components to the carnet application process:

1)Filling out a carnet application form

Carefully read and complete all sections of the application form. The form contains a declaration stating that applicants accept liability for goods not returned to Canada and unconditional liability to reimburse all payments made by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to customs authorities, should a valid claim be filed.

The category of your merchandise determines which countries will accept your carnet. It is advisable to check the relevant country information and advisories under carnet countries prior to your travels.

The duly signed application form may be submitted to any of our three offices by mail, fax or email. If you send your application form by fax or email, please also mail the original form to the issuing office.

2)Completing the general list

The general list is an itemized list of all goods covered by the carnet. Careful completion of this form is essential to ensure entry and exit from foreign countries with minimal delays and costs.

Only typed lists will be accepted. Your list should be submitted electronically in MS Excel format for ease of editing. (Canadian Chamber of Commerce approved format)

Once the list has been submitted and your carnet has been processed, any editing requests will result in additional fees.

3) Arranging for a security guarantee

The main purpose of the carnet is to guarantee to customs authorities, where the goods are being temporarily imported, that all duties and taxes will be paid if the conditions under which they allowed the goods into their country are breached.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, as the guaranteeing association in Canada, is responsible for ensuring the payment of valid claims. As a result, a security guarantee of 40% of the value of the goods listed on your carnet must accompany your application. This security acts as collateral and will be drawn upon to reimburse the Canadian Chamber in the event duties and taxes are owed. The security guarantee may be in the form of cash, certified cheque, money order or a surety bond.

The security guarantee is posted for a period of 30 months. It will, however, be conditionally cancelled at the conclusion of your trip(s) abroad providing your carnet documents are in order and have been returned to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and there is proof that ALL the goods have been re-exported to Canada in a timely fashion.

If your carnet has not been properly validated, the security can be held until the claim period is over (one year from your carnet’s expiration date) or until all claims are settled.

A minimum security of $250.00 is required; this may vary depending on planned trips.

4) Payment of an administration fee

The carnet administration fee is determined by the value of your merchandise, the number of countries to be visited and the total trips to be taken. A discounted fee is offered to members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Allow five working days from the time your application reaches Carnet Services for processing. Both rush processing—three business days (72 hours)—and same day service—within six business hours—are available for a surcharge.

Please refer to the cost and payment instructions for a cost estimate.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce

360 Albert Street, Suite 420 | Ottawa, Ontario | K1R 7X7

Tel: (1-613) 238 4000 | Fax: (1-613) 238 7643

Web Site: www.chamber.ca


Vancouver Board of Trade


Email: carnetvancouver@chamber.ca

Phone: 604-681-2111

What do I need to know about importing from overseas?

Prior to importing, please be advised of the following so you may be customs compliant:

Shipments will be subject to Taxes (GST); and most often they will also be subject to Duties as they would not qualify for NAFTA.

NAFTA only covers goods manufactured in USA, Canada or Mexico.  Goods manufacture overseas may or may not be dutiable based on the Customs HS Tariff Classification of the goods.

Certain countries have trade agreements with Canada that may allow dutiable goods to be imported at a lowered rate of duty when accompanied by supporting documents such as a Form A or Exporters Statement of Origin (Form A )

Please see below link for Countries we have a agreement with –


Exporters Statement of Origin – http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d11/d11-4-4-eng.html#_a27 )

Please note that not all goods would qualify for a lower rate of duty; this will be based on the Customs HS Tariff Classification & the specific Trade Agreements with each country.

The following link may contain information you find helpful: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d11/d11-4-4-eng.html

Marking requirements:

It is also important that any goods coming from overseas are properly marked for the Canadian market – marking requirements vary from commodity to commodity i.e: marking requirements for clothing will be different then the marking requirements for food products etc…  Following is a link regarding CBSA’s marking requirements: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d11/d11-3-1-eng.html

Wood Packaging:

Another point to keep in mind is regarding any wood packaging material used… Please do read and review the information in the following links to CBSA & CFIA requirements regarding the requirements for Fumigation etc…:

CBSA: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/security-securite/wp-meb-eng.html

CFIA: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/plants/forestry/imports/wood-packaging/questions-and-answers/eng/1361337692691/1361338425125

In order to begin processing Customs Clearance of your shipment from overseas, the documents needed to begin are:

  • A copy of the commercial invoice (bill of sale),
  • A copy of the ocean bill of lading (OBL) – or Air Waybill (AWB) if shipped via Air Cargo,
  • A copy of the packing list,
  • A copy of any other supporting documents (such as Form A mentioned above, and/or the Fumigation Certificate also mentioned above)
  • For the OBL – we recommend you work with your Overseas Vendor to have this document “Telex Released”; this will help to save time and avoid delays upon shipment arrival in Canada.
What is the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, or CKFTA?

The Canada – Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) which was implemented on January 1st 2015 essentially eliminated the customs duties on all imports from Korea, either immediately upon implementation of the agreement, or through a tariff phase-out.

Tariff phase-out is a program implemented which begins with a reduction in duty rates and eventually leads to a tariff elimination. It could take years until the tariff is completely eliminated as was the case with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

While some Tariffs will be duty free based on the classification of the product/commodity, some will simply have a reduced duty rate (similar to the GPT). A new preferential tariff treatment is being introduced which is called the Korea Tariff. The newly assigned tariff treatment code is: KRT

The CKFTA is to be completed by the manufacturer/exporter in Korea and must be submitted along with the customs documents at the time of import. If a tariff is dutiable as per CBSA Customs Tariff and has an opportunity for a reduced duty rate under the KRT treatment, when a valid CKFTA is provided the KRT reduced rate will be implemented.

To download the PDF form and for instructions on completing the Certificate of Origin please visit the CBSA website below.


For more information on the Canada – Korea Free Trade Agreement please click the link below


How can I obtain a CA identification number for importing clothing and textiles?

Only Canadian manufacturers, processors or finishers of a textile fibre product or Canadians engaged in the business of importing or selling any textile fibre product are allowed to register for a CA Identification Number. If you are a U.S. company, you must show the name and full postal address of your business. Further information on how to apply and label is shown below.

For Canadian Companies:

You can apply for a CA Number through Government of Canada’s Competition Bureau here – http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/h_02575.html

For U.S. Companies:

As a Non-Resident, you are unable to obtain a CA Identification Number, however, to meet the provisions of the Textile Labelling Act dealers are required to label consumer textile articles with their business name and address. All importers of textiles and apparel should familiarize themselves with these regulations.

As noted in the Guide to the Textile Labelling and Advertising Regulations:

Section VII. c. Dealer Identity

The dealer identity may be disclosed by identifying the name and full postal address under which the dealer normally carries out his business, or for a dealer in Canada, an identification number obtained by applying to a Competition Bureau office of Industry Canada. This identification number, commonly referred to as a “CA Number”, will be registered for the exclusive use of the dealer.

Where can I get a blank NAFTA certificate?

Blank NAFTA certificates are available from our website: https://www.communitycb.com/forms/

*Generally the exporter of the goods will complete this certificate.


What is the Canadian Border Services Agency looking for when they request to perform a trade compliance verification?

When Canada Border Services Agency performs an audit they are looking to make sure that the correct origin of the goods is declared, the correct method of valuation is used or that the right tariff classification and duty amount has been paid.


I have Canadian goods returning which have not been advanced in value or altered in any way, what proof do I need to provide to Customs upon my return?

Canada Customs will accept various documents as proof, but they must be able to match the product on the export documents with the product being imported. Examples of proof of export would be a bill of lading, foreign customs documents and accounting documents. It is important to know that if proof is not supplied to Canada Customs if reviewed duty and tax could apply to your goods.

Where do I send my one-time shipment paperwork?

Your one-time shipment paperwork can be sent to docs@communitycb.com.

Why does my broker keep requesting a breakdown on kits?

Breakdowns are required as CBSA wants to know exactly what has been shipped and the items must all be classified properly. For example, if you have a first aid kit we would need to know what individual items are in the kit such as bandaids, tape, saline, etc. Each product needs an individual monetary value, country of origin, quantity and each item has a specific tariff code that must be applied to reflect the commodity.

Who is responsible if my vendor fails to provide a Free trade verification?

If your vendor fails or ignores a Customs NAFTA verification, the importer (you) will be required to pay the regular duty going forward and on the past importations as far back as the verification indicates.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is asking for documents on specific transaction numbers. How do I link these transaction numbers to my system?

If Canada Border Service Agency does ask for documentation regarding imports into Canada by transaction number this 14 digit code is found on the top of your B3 coding form. A suggestion to easily locate is to enter the transaction number into your system with the corresponding purchase order or if not logged into your system for easy finding.

This number and any related documents should be easily provided from your broker.

What would you need to conduct a Free Trade (FTA) verification on food products that are imported to Canada?

In order for Community Customs Brokers to conduct a food product FTA verification, the minimum documents we will require would be your costed bill of materials complete with the Countries of Origin of the various food items


What is required to import cheese?

If this is a personal shipment you may bring in up to 20kg.

If it is a commercial shipment you will require a Cheese import license which can be applied for from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency prior to starting to import.

Secondly, cheese is regulated and a import permit is also required in order to benefit from a lower duty rate. If you do not have a import permit the duty rate for cheese will be over 200%. Permits are obtained from Global Affairs Canada based on a quota.

Do not import cheese until you know you have these licenses and permits in place or you may be responsible for prohibitively high rates of duty.

Why is the CLVS department requesting documents from me after I’ve received my package?

This shipment is considered a low value couriered shipment. When companies like UPS/DHL/ FedEx bring goods across the border that are under $2600 in value they are only required to do a declaration on the items in the truck. The final accounting of what is actually being brought across the border with weights, values, countries of manufacture, etc. are done afterwards by either the importer if it is personal or done with a broker once the carrier has sent the information to the broker. In this case the shipment would be delivered first then accounted for after the fact with Canada Customs.

What is a B13A form and when is it used?

The B13A is an Export Declaration and is mandatory for all export shipments valued at CAD 2000.00 and over.

Shipments going to U.S. Destinations (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) are not required to fill in the B13A form.

Does the bond application that is being sent back to Community Customs Brokers for processing need to be signed by an owner or a signing officer?

Yes, for a bond, the owner or a signing officer must sign the application for Canadian and US Bonds.

What is the difference between the B13A and the CAED?

Both are Export declarations. The B13A is the actual form that can be filled in manually. The CAED stands for – Canadian Automated Export Declaration.

This is the electronic version that can be filled in on line and once you hit ‘submit’ the information is automatically transmitted to CBSA.

I have a purchaser who is buying the goods but sending them to someone else. How do I indicate that on the commercial invoice?

On the commercial invoice, list the name and address of where you are shipping the goods to as the consignee and list the party who bought the goods as the Purchaser.

I have a small company, but no Business Number (BN), How can I get one if I don’t have a GST number?

If you are a small company, you can still get a Business Number (BN) by simply calling Revenue Canada. They can use your Social Insurance Number and activate the Business number.

A GST number can come later when you are ready to activate one. You may wish to speak with a corporate accountant surrounding the best time to do so.


What are acceptable statements for the marking on wood packaging materials?

Acceptable statements are: the mark must at minimum include the IPPC symbol for treated wood packaging materials. The colors red or orange should be avoided. Reconditioned wood packaging materials must be treated and contain the marks of the facility approved to perform the re-treatment. The NPPOs or producers may at their discretion add control numbers or other information used for identifying specific lots.

Where can I complain about a Canada Customs exam taking too long?

Here is the direct CBSA contact link: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/contact/com-eng.html

How do we update our address if GST or Surety bonds are involved?

The address must also be changed with CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) If you elect to do it by phone it must be done by the company’s signing officer that is registered with them.

The number to call is 1-800-959-5525 OR you can do it online :


To do it online you will need your business number. The person who files your

GST/HST return will have the access to your online account.


After you have updated your address with CRA it must be update with CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency). For that contact Norma Lahoud 613-954-7039.

Please let Community Customs Brokers know once these are completed so we may arrange to have the endorsements done to the addresses on your bonds.

Is a lumber permit required for pallets?


Lumber permits are only required for softwood lumber.

How do I submit an appeal to CBSA?

Contact your Community Customs Brokers compliance specialist who will submit a request on your behalf.

A request must be within 90 calendar days of the date of enforcement action and be submitted in writing to:

Recourse Directorate


333 North River Road, Tower A, 11th Floor

Ottawa, ON K1A-OL8

fax 343-291-7239

Should I add foreign origin products to my NAFTA?

No, do not add your foreign origin (foreign manufactured) to the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) Certificate of origin. The NAFTA certificate is for North American manufactured (Canada, USA, Mexico and their territories) products only.

What is voluntary entry?

A Voluntary Entry is submitted to CBSA when goods were not declared at the time of entry but were in the shipment.

If I can’t put my foreign origin goods on the NAFTA, how do I list their countries of origin?

The origins of manufacture of your foreign manufactured products must be noted on the commercial or Canada Customs Invoice. If everything is, for example, made in China you can put a blanket statement on your invoice “All products made in China”. If there are various origins, they must be added for each and every product line by line on the invoice.

Why are you asking for a NAFTA when I have already put it in with the invoice on the outside of the box when the courier picked up the goods?

We are often asking for a NAFTA even though you have included this with the documents when goods are sent out by courier because in many instances, the courier pulls the documents from the box(es) to hand over to the broker, but does not surrender all of the paperwork. We often receive only the invoice.

Customs rejected my shipment stating a section 146, what does this mean?

A section 146 means you owe outstanding funds to CBSA. Once determined what the outstanding amount is for it can be paid at a customs office and your goods can clear into Canada.

What is considered an assist for valuation purposes?

It is used to describe any of the goods and services provided directly or indirectly by the purchaser free of charge or at a reduced cost for use in the production of the imported goods. If you think this may apply to you Community Customs Brokers specialists can discuss it with you further.

What is the difference between a file number and an invoice number?

All shipments have a File number for reference to the Customs shipment.

There is only one File for one shipment. That File number will have an Invoice number which will always show the File number for that shipment. Although there is only one File number per shipment there can be numerous Community Customs Brokers Billing Invoices related to the shipment.

Why do my FedEx Shipments always seem to get held up even if I put the correct Broker on the documents?

If you are using FedEx Online to arrange shipping – make sure the FedEx account number you are shipping on, does not also include brokerage – FedEx being Automated, will use the account used online to handle brokerage & not send your documents to the correct broker for clearance.

How can I apply for an importer/business number?

We can apply for an importer number on your behalf. All we require is your full name / legal business name / phone / fax / email address. Your GST number is also required. Once we have this information, we will apply for your GST number.

How do you complete a NAFTA certificate, and do you have a pro-format?

Community Customs Brokers has a NAFTA Tutorial, a step-by-step guide, to help you understand how to complete an accurate and valid NAFTA certificate. With the implementation of AMPS (Administrative Monetary Penalty System) it is essential to have fully completed and accurate certificates on file to ensure compliance. Invalid NAFTA certificates of origin are one of the largest areas of concern for non-compliance.

To claim the duty free status, a valid certificate must be on file. Anything less is unacceptable and subject to penalty assessment.

What options does a company have with NAFTA?

There are 3 options to consider:

  • Use the recommended services of a Customs Broker to handle any services related to NAFTA such as record keeping, maintenance and consulting.
  • Do not participate in NAFTA. Be charged the Most Favoured Nation duty rate on all transactions when NAFTA preferential duty rates apply.
  • Take care of all NAFTA issues yourself and do not get charged for performing those services. A Declaration letter on company letterhead is required for CBSA purposes.
I am completing a Canada Customs Invoice, is it acceptable to indicate only the part # for the goods in the description field?

The description field on the Canada Customs Invoice or Commercial Invoice should indicate any identifying numbers along with a complete description of what the goods are. If there is only a part number then Canada Customs will not know what the goods are which could lead to delays in clearance.

What is required to import fresh produce?

You would apply for a produce license with the Canadian Food Inspection agency and/or be a member of the Dispute Resolution Corporation(DRC). A confirmation of sale form is also required to be completed. Both the produce license application and Confirmation of sale is available on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

Who are considered former residents of Canada?

People who are returning to Canada to resume residence in Canada after having been residents of another country for a period of not less than one year. Persons who establish themselves as residents of another country for a period of at least one year may make return visits to Canada as non-resident visitors without jeopardizing their former resident entitlement. However, persons who do not establish themselves as residents of another country during their absence from Canada, such as those on extended vacations, voyages or world cruises, are only eligible to the former resident entitlement if the duration of their absence is a continuous period of at least one year, without any return to Canada having been made during that time. Should these persons make return visits to Canada, they will be entitled to a personal exemption as described in the publication called ” I Declare “

Is there a quota for importing pork?


Quota is handled by Global Affairs Canada ( EICS/ Dept of foreign affairs) CFIA handles all the required meat certificates & import requirements (for all types of meat). The importer will need to work directly with CFIA and Global Affairs.

Once a shipment has been delivered and paid for is it still an option to have the importer changed or corrected?

Yes, If your shipment has been released by CBSA but not yet acquitted then the BN# can still be changed with an RMD correction.

If your shipment is already acquitted (meaning duties/taxes paid to CBSA) then a letter to correct the importer can be submitted – this does not change the internal status of the file with CBSA themselves, the stamped letter is provided to the original importer so they can use it for their accounting backup.

My customs broker wants me to sign a Power of Attorney, what is this?

All customs brokers are required to have a valid Customs power of attorney on file signed by the importer of record prior to assisting with clearing any of their imports.

This may also be referred to as a ‘General Agency Agreement’.

Simply put, it allows the customs broker to conduct business on your behalf in the manner laid out in the document.


What is an I.T bond, and what are the required documents for one?

An Immediate Transportation (IT) Bond covers goods from one U.S. port to another designated U.S. port. This needs to be filed at the first U.S. port of entry. The required documents for the IT bond are:

  • -Bill of lading
  • – The port of origin and port of destination
  • – Notification party
  • – Invoice
What is a T&E Bond and what are the required documents?

A Transportation & Export (T&E) Bond covers goods from one U.S. port to another U.S. port of exit. From the U.S. port of exit the goods will be imported into another Country. The required documents for a T&E Bond:

– A copy of the bill of lading

  • – The container number (If applicable)
  • – Steamship line, pier and delivery port
  • – The name of the vessel the shipment will be on
  • – The booking number assigned by the steamship company
  • – Names and addresses of the shipper, foreign consignee and the discharge port
How soon does the ISF need to be filed prior to the vessel leaving the exporter?

The ISF needs to be filed 24-48 hours prior to the goods being loaded onto the vessel. If this is not completed, the importer could be subject to a fine.


What does NET weight mean?

Net weight ‎(plural: net weights) The weight of a product (especially food) without the weight of its packaging The weight of a vehicle without that of its fuel, cargo, personnel etc

What is the Safe Foods for Canadians Act?

Canadians expect their food to be safe. The act has set the stage for strengthening and modernizing Canada’s food safety system and helps manage the risk to protect Canadian families.

What is HACCP?

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point. It is recommended by the Codex Alimentarius Commission,the United Nations international standards organization for food safety. HACCP is used by most countries around the world. There are 7 universally accepted HACCP principles followed that are used to find, correct and prevent hazards throughout the food production process.

Under the Safe Foods for Canadians Act is a license required?

Yes, licensing and registration are very effective ways to address non compliance. If there is a contravention a license can be suspended or revoked. Currently the Canadian Food Inspection Agency requires licenses for some food commodities. The provisions in the new act will allow CFIA to apply licenses to all food commodities. Those establishments that currently hold multiple licenses due to various commodities will also be able to apply for one license which will reduce the administrative burden for multiply licensing. Example meat and fish products have separate license applications.

I lost some of my B3’s and I understand I need to keep them, how can I get replacements?

We keep all clearance documents and would be happy to supply you with replacement copies.

Under the Safe Foods for Canadians Act what is the cost for the license and how long is it good for?

Although it is not in effect yet, it was previously discussed with CFIA that the cost for a license would be around $250.00 and be good for 2 years.

What do I do with a a detailed adjustment statement?

When a accounting document has been changed/adjusted by CBSA they issue a detailed adjustment statement with those changes. The statement may request a payment due to the changes made which is required to be paid within 30 days. Further appeal of the decision may be warranted so make sure to discuss any Customs decision further with your broker.

What is an End-user Certificate?

An End-user certificate, or EUC, is a document used in international transfers, including sales and arms provided as aid, of weapons and ammunition to certify that the buyer is the final recipient of the materials, and is not planning on transferring the materials to another party.

What is a Transaction value?

Under CBSA’s rules, in the value hierarchy this is the first method of determining the value of goods based on the sale price to Canada.

Do I have to declare pallet charges when completing an invoice for customs purposes?

Yes the number of pallets and value for them should be indicated on the invoice to be declared to Canada Customs

I would like to apply for a fish import license, how long are they valid for?

Your fish import license is valid for one (1) year in which it will need to be renewed.

What is FAST?

Free and Secure Trade – A joint Canada-U.S. initiative that provides an accelerated commercial clearance option to pre-approved importers, carriers, and registered drivers to move pre-approved eligible goods across the border.

What is a CITES?

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) sets controls on movement of animal and plant species that are, or may be, threatened due to excessive commercial exploitation.

Environment Canada (EC) is the lead agency responsible for implementing CITES on behalf of the federal government.

Within EC, the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) administers CITES and interacts with provincial, territorial and other federal agencies.

How do I obtain a Canadian Import Permit for Aquatic Animals?

The application for an import permit for the National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP) , is done on form CFIA/ACIA 5670. Then this form must be submitted to the CFIA Centre of Administration for Permissions. For inquiries contact Permission@inspection.gc.ca, phone 1-855-212-7695. There is normally a 10 day turnover period to obtain the permit.

Canadian Imports of non-susceptible aquatic animals, commercially do they need a Permit?

Imports of non-susceptible aquatic animals do not require an Aquatic Animal Health Import Permit. They must be accompanied by documentation listing:

  • name and address of the exporter
  • name and address of the importer,
  • taxonomic name of the aquatic animal /life stage / number of animals.
  • country in which the aquatic animal was born or where the germplasm came from
  • if the animal is from captivity or in the wild
What do I need to do to obtain a site license with Health Canada?

The following must be submitted for approval:

  • Site Licence Application (SLA) Form;
  • Designated Party Authorization (DPA) form (if applicable);
  • Quality Assurance Report (QAR) form for each building/site prepared by the quality assurance person responsible for the site; and
  • Supplementary Quality Assurance Report Form (when applicable) for homeopathic medicine.
What documents are required to import race cars into Canada?

The required documents for race cars are as followed:

  • Letter from the racing association
  • Racing association booklet including the Serial Number (SN) of the racecar
  • 72 hours / ITN # does apply
  • Full customs declaration required
  • Bill of sale with a realistic value
  • Country of origin
  • Seller SN and full contact information
  • Buyer full name and number
  • Curb weight
  • Engine size
When importing a vehicle into the US when is the EPA and DOT exempt?

For a vehicle import into the US, EPA is exempt for vehicles 21 years and older. DOT is exempt for vehicles 25 years and older.

How do you properly import a vehicle that is already in Canada?

The vehicle will have to be exported out of Canada back to the U.S. with a formal U.S. entry. Once the vehicle is back in the U.S. the 72 hour clock begins with AES/ITN # for U.S. Customs. Then a Canadian declaration is created to re-import the vehicle back into Canada. Full taxes will be applicable on this import.

What is a NVIS?

New Vehicle Information Statement (NVIS) is a form issued to new vehicles that have never been licensed or used. Example: vehicles that are coming directly from a dealer. The NVIS must accompany the vehicle for import into Canada and also for licensing.

When Importing a vehicle into Canada how do I get a temporary permit or plates?

A temporary permit or plates allow a vehicle to be driven into Canada for import, before it has passed a provincial or territorial safety certification program or been licensed permanently.

Each provincial/territorial licensing body manages its own temporary permit/plate program. Temporary permits or plates may not be available in your jurisdiction.

Please contact your provincial/territorial licensing jurisdiction for information specific to your jurisdiction

What is a Registered Importer?

A Registered Importer is also known as an RI. Unless you have delved into vehicle imports you probably don’t know much about RIs. Registered Importers (R.I.’s) are garages and mechanical shops that are licensed by DOT (Washington State Department of Transportation) to perform conversions on foreign cars to US standards. Typical conversion work includes headlamps, side markers, door beams, bumpers speedometer and fuel line. The car is bonded to an R.I. on entry and taken to the shop. After conversion, the shop submits a report on the conversion to DOT to get the bond released.

I am outside of Canada and would like to gift my car to a family member in Canada. How does this work?

A value is still needed. The value you can get from the Kelly Blue book site. A gift letter will also be needed. Once the value is determined, the family member will be responsible to pay the duty/tax on the vehicle.

What is the gas guzzler tax for US Vehicles?

There is a gas guzzler tax but it applies only to passenger cars, (not SUVs or trucks) and is usually charged to the manufacturer or original importer. Here is a link with further information: https://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/gas-guzzler-tax


How do I import a kit car?

Kit cars are treated as vehicles whether they are presented for importation as a fully assembled vehicle, or as an unassembled vehicle in a kit. A kit car does not meet the import requirements for the SOC label, the 17 vin #, or admissibility status. Therefore it is not permitted entry unless it was assembled 15 years ago or longer and the importer can submit proof of age on a registration document. The age of a kit car is determined by the date of assembly rather than the model year of the reproduction or the date of mfg of a a donor car.

Are vehicles with lift kits able admissible to Canada?

A lift kit, also known as a suspension kit or leveling kit, modifies a vehicle to raise the ride height of the vehicle. Pick-up trucks, SUV’s or passenger cars fitted with a lift kit are inadmissible to Canada.

What is GVWR?

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is how much weight a vehicle is designed to carry. The GVWR includes the net weight of the vehicle, plus the weight of passengers, fuel, cargo and any additional accessories. The GVWR is a safety standard used to prevent overloading.


How do you identify the model year of your vehicle in the US with only the 17 digit VIN #?

Beginning in 1980 all vehicles sold in the US have a 17 digit Serial #. The eighth digit from the right-end identifies the model year of the vehicle.

Can you use a trade-in allowance as a deduction against the declared value on the vehicle you are importing into Canada?

The price paid or payable for a vehicle includes not only the vendor’s invoice price, but also all other amounts such as warranty payments of foreign sales taxes that are collected by the vendor. Any credit you may receive for a trade-in does not reduce the value that must be declared when the vehicle is imported into Canada.

Is excise tax still payable on vehicles if the A/C in a vehicle isn’t working?

If the A/C isn’t working but the components are still in the car, then Excise Tax for A/C is collected.

Can you confirm if my vehicle is admissible into Canada?

We unfortunately are unable to confirm if the vehicle you wish to import into Canada is admissible into the country. Please contact Transport Canada directly by phone at 1-800-333-0371 or online at www.tc.gc.ca.

I was gifted a US vehicle and the vehicle is already in Canada. Can you assist with the declaration even though the vehicle is already in Canada?

In order for us to start the declaration, we will require the vehicle to be taken back into the US so we can submit the 72 hours of prior notice with US customs.

​What taxes can I expect to pay on my imports to Canada?

When importing in a business name where goods are for commercial use, the Canadian importer can expect to pay GST (Goods and Services Tax) of 5% which is payable on most goods at the time of importation.

**Some commodities such as prescription drugs, medical and assistive devices, basic groceries, agriculture and fishing goods are zero rated – meaning they are non-taxable. For more information on what qualifies for the tax exemption please visit the Canada Revenue Agency by clicking the link below.


When importing in an individual name where goods are for personal use, the Canadian importer can expect to pay GST (Goods and Service Tax) of 5% plus the PST (Provincial Sales Tax) or a combined HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) depending on the province the goods are destined for.

Provinces which use HST:

  • Ontario (13% HST)
  • New Brunswick (15% HST)
  • Newfoundland & Labrador (15% HST)
  • Nova Scotia (15% HST)
  • Prince Edward Island (14% HST)

Provinces which use PST:

  • British Columbia (7% PST)
  • Manitoba (7% PST)
  • Quebec (9.975% PST)
  • Saskatchewan (5% PST)

Provinces/Territories which use only GST

  • Alberta (5% GST)
  • Nunavut (5% GST)
  • North West Territories (5% GST)
  • Yukon Territory (5% GST)


Why is there duty on some of my invoices but not on others?

If your goods are manufactured in North America, qualified under NAFTA and a valid NAFTA certificate is provided then the goods would be duty free – if they are not qualified under NAFTA, or they are qualified but a NAFTA certificate is not available, or if they are manufactured offshore, they may be subject to duty.

What is Anti-dumping and Countervailing duty (SIMA)?

Additional duty imposed on certain imported products, to protect domestic producers from dumped and subsidized imports ( unfairly-traded imports ) that cause or threaten injury. The products subject to these special duties are listed on the CBSA website.

I paid duty when I imported my goods from the U.S. How can I get it back?

It’s possible to be refunded duties paid on US, Canada, or Mexico goods shipped within North America as long as a valid NAFTA Certificate can be provided for those goods.

Community Customs Brokers can then file the applicable paperwork to Customs requesting the refund on your behalf.

Why do wheat and wheat products, and barley and barley products have different duty rates, at different times of the year?

The different duty rates are referred to as the “Within and Over Access” quota. The Within access quota duty rates are available to all importers of wheat and wheat products, and barley and barley products until the allotted quota amount for the year has been used. Once the quota has been filled for the year, the Over Access rates will apply. The yearly Within Access quota rates are available on Aug.1 of each year, and is usually filled by the first week or two of October. The exact end date varies each year as the quota is used up. So a notice will be issued by the Department of Global Affairs (Also known as EICS) with the yearly end of quota date.

This means that the lower (within access) duty rates are available from August 1 to sometime early in October. Outside of those dates the higher (over access) duty rates apply (for the remainder of the year to July 31 of the next year).


Can I reduce my duty payable by deducting the amount from freight?

Yes you can reduce your duty payable by the amount of freight. However, to deduct freight, that amount must be the actual freight charges from where the goods began their continuous journey to Canada.

A friend is sending me a gift by the mail, do I have to pay duty and tax?

For an item to qualify as a “gift” it must be sent from a friend or relative and be clearly identified as a gift. It must also be worth less than $60 Canadian.

If it is worth more than $60 Canadian, then duty and taxes will apply on any amount over $60. Items that do not qualify for this exemption are tobacco, alcohol, advertising material and items that are sent by a business.

What do I do if I have discovered an error in the classification of my goods that resulted in a reduction in the amount of duty?

If the error results in a reduction in duty, you can adjust your records going forward (leaving past entries as is). Another option is that you can adjust your records and refund claims can be filed on past importations.

My company is in British Columbia, Canada and I import from China. How is the duty and GST calculated?

Duty and GST are calculated on the vendor’s selling price minus the actual freight and insurance amount (if applicable) converted into Canadian dollars, this is the value for duty. Then the duty is applied to the value for duty and the GST is applied to the value for duty. Then they are added together which gives us the duty and GST payables.

If my vendor gives my company a 5% freight allowance can I deduct this to reduce my duty payable?

Customs is very clear on this issue, only the actual freight amount can be deducted for duty purposes. Unfortunately 5% freight allowance is not the actual amount. Therefore, no deduction is allowed.

Do I pay GST on food products?

The supply of basic groceries which includes most supplies of food and beverages marketed for human consumption (including sweetening agents, seasonings and other ingredients to be mixed with or used in the preparation of such food or beverages) has no tax charge. However, certain categories of food for example; carbonated beverages, candies, confectionery and snack foods are taxable. If a product’s tax status is in doubt the CRA will consider the manner in which the product is displayed, labelled, packaged, invoiced and advertised to determine its tax status.

Can cash discounts be deducted from the value for duty for customs purposes?

Yes, as long as the payment is made within the terms indicated. If ever in a valuation audit situation Canada Border Services Agency may want to see proof.

My company pays duty on umbrellas when they import them into Canada from China, then we sell many of them to the USA; can we get our duty back?

If your umbrellas are exported (sold) to the USA in the same condition as your company imported them into Canada, you can apply for a duty drawback (refund). Basically, you have up to four years to file the drawback on all your applicable exports in that period.


I was contacted by a Distributor in the USA who wants to sell me new metal furniture he purchased from a correctional facility in his state. How much duty would I pay?

Before we can properly answer that question, we would need to know who made the furniture? If the furniture was made wholly or partially in the correctional facility by the incarcerated the goods would be prohibited from entering Canada. 

Please contact us to discuss your query in further detail.

I’ve bought a large packaging machine from the USA and the vendor is charging $5000 to install it in my plant in Richmond, BC. I know the machine is duty free, but do I have to pay any duty or GST on the installation charge?

Installation charges in Canada are normally not included in the value for duty calculation providing they are itemized separately on the documents and the charge for the installation is reasonable.

Which provinces in Canada have HST?

New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island.

I am a NRI (Non Resident Importer) do I have to register for the GST/HST in Canada?

If you are GST/HST taxable sales are over $30,000 annually OR if you are deemed to be carrying on business in Canada you must register for  GST/HST.

For definitions of Carrying on business follow this link:


I have a sample shipment without a value. I did not pay for this item. How do I determine the value?

Your sample does require a value. All products crossing the border are required one. A realistic value is needed simply by asking the vendor what it’s worth. You will be paying the GST / duty based on that value. Customs can also determine a value based on what they think as well depending on the weight of the products.

If I bring in goods temporarily into Canada, do I need to pay taxes?

Not all goods qualify as duty/tax exempt.

Contact Community Customs Brokers to learn if your goods qualify for temporary import duty/tax exempt status.

What are the benefits of taking my goods In Bond?
  • To avoid the payment of Customs Duties and Fees
  • Allows the movement of cargo cleared at another designated Customs Port
  • Can be initiated by Customs Brokers, Freight Forwarders, Trucking Companies, railroads, importers, Foreign Trade Zones.
  • Allows the filing of in-bond movements electronically via “QP” for quick Customs processing and release of cargo.
  • Allows some regulatory flexibility, e.g. marking requirements if not going to be consumed in the USA.
What is EOPS?

The Exporters of Processing Services Program enables qualified companies to import goods belonging to non-residents without paying the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST), provided that these goods are imported for processing, distribution or storage, and are subsequently exported. This program may be relevant to you if:

  • You are registered for GST/HST purposes
  • You are able to post financial security, if required
  • You never transfer possession of the goods to another Canadian business (except for storage, transportation)
  • Goods are owned by non-resident(s) who is not closely related[1] to you
  • The goods are never consumed or used in Canada; and
  • The goods will be exported within four years of accounting for them


Is GST applied to medical and assistive devices?

Not necessarily.

Canada Revenue Agency’s publication 4.2 Medical and Assistive Devices covers a variety of goods that are tax free when imported into Canada.

Check with Community Customs Brokers”s consulting department for more information on your specific need.

I am sending goods to the USA to be repaired and returned to Canada, what value do I declare to Canada Customs, the value of the repair or the value of the goods?


When Canadian goods are exported for repair, alteration, additions or further processing the Customs regulations generally require that they be subject to duties and tax on the full value of the goods at the time they return to Canada. However, the Canadian goods abroad program allows for the relief of duties on the Canadian portion of the value of the goods. Under this program the duty is payable only on the value added to the Canadian goods in the form of labour or additional material. Similarly under the value of imported goods regulations the GST/HST is payable only on the value of the processing performed outside of Canada.

Speak to an Community Customs Brokers specialist to see how we can help you with this matter.


I would like to import some rugs made in Israel from a US company. Will the Israel / Canada free trade agreement apply so my goods can come into Canada duty free?

No, in order to use the Israel/Canada free trade agreement the goods must be shipped to Canada direct from Israel or transshipped through another country as long as the goods have not been further processed and remain under customs control.


I am a US non resident importer who would like to donate some of my products to one of my clients in Canada to build a relationship. Do I have to pay duty?

Yes, you would pay the duty. Memorandum D8-2-9 discusses donations going to a charity which include, donations of clothing and books for charitable purposes; Donations of any goods by non-residents of Canada to religious, charitable or educational institutions in Canada; Photographs, not exceeding three, sent by friends and not for the purpose of sale.

Can I get my money back if my product arrives and it’s not the right one?

If you are GST registered then you can claim back on your input tax credit – if there is duty you can process a claim to have the duty refunded. 

In either case, we can provide assistance, contact our Compliance specialists today.

What is the Canadian Goods Abroad Program?

When Canadian goods are exported for repair, alteration, additions or further processing, the Customs Act generally requires that they be subject to duties and taxes on the full value of the goods at the time of their return to Canada. However, the Canadian Goods Abroad Program allows for the relief of duties on the “Canadian” portion of the value of the goods. Under this program, the duty is payable only on the value added to the Canadian goods in the form of labour or additional material. Similarly, under the Value of Imported Goods (GST/HST) Regulations, the GST/HST is payable only on the value of the processing performed outside of Canada.

What does PTO mean?

Definition: Power Take Off used to determine if GST is exempt on Farm Tractors. If the Power Take off is over 60 then the GST is exempt; but if the PTO is under 60 GST is payable.

Can a non resident importer get quota for chicken products in order to import it under the reduced rate of duty?

No. In order to apply for quota you must be a Canadian company.

I just received a NAFTA certificate for goods I paid duty on. How far back can we go to request a refund of duty?

We can go back 1 year to request a refund on duty paid shipments.

What date is the exchange rate based on that is used to calculate my duty?

Exchange rates are based on date the order is listed as shipped.

Can I claim back the brokerage fees at the end of the year on my taxes?

If you are a GST registered company, you can claim back the 5% GST that your broker collects from you, but not the brokerage fees.

Where can I find a Tariff Classification or HS Classification number?

Community Customs Brokers provides full tariff classification consultation services.  We are specialized in working with importers large and small to ensure the proper customs tariff is shown on your invoice or NAFTA certificates.  To get help with tariff – please use the ‘free consultation’ and one of our experts will get back to you.

What is the benefit of applying for an Advance ruling?

Tariff classification can be very complex for certain goods. The advance ruling ensures that the tariff classification number used is deemed correct by the CBSA. The ruling is binded until it is revoked or amended.

The advance ruling provides certainty to the importer, or his or her representative, as to how goods are to be classified. Thereby, facilitates the documentation requirements for clearing goods at the border.

Community Customs Brokers Consulting team can apply for an advance ruling with Canada Customs on your behalf.

I’ve discovered an error in the classification of my goods, however both in incorrect and correct classification are duty free, what should I do?

If the error is revenue neutral, you must adjust your records going forward and file corrections within 90 days of discovery. Those adjustments must cover the past 4 years, or back to when the error occurred (maximum of four years back).

My vendor sends me kits that I install in shops and items in the kits are sold individually. Why do you keep asking me for the individual components, their origins and values?

If kits are not sold as a complete kit at the retail level, for example, multiple items in a blister package; Customs rules dictate we need to separate the items with their origins and values and classify them accordingly.

This is actually beneficial to you as some of goods in the kit may be duty free whereas the complete kit maybe subject to a much higher duty rate thereby saving some expense.

Why is a Brix value required for juice?

Brix value is a measure of sugar percentage in a simple syrup at a fixed temperature(20 c). A high brix value (20 or more) is associated with juice that is more concentrated. A low Brix value indicates a lower level of concentration.

What is considered a cosmetic?

Any substance or mixture of substances, manufactured, sold or represented for use in cleansing, improving or altering the complexion, skin, hair or teeth and includes deodorants and perfumes. This includes cosmetics used by professional esthetic services, bulk institutional products (such as hand soap in school restrooms), as well as “handmade” cosmetics sold at craft sales or home-based businesses.

What is an HS Code?

The Harmonized System is an international numbering system for products and includes 5,000 commodity groups, each containing a six-digit code. The system encompasses over 98 percent of products used in international trade. The code can be broken down into three parts, with the first two digits identifying the good?s ?chapter,? the next two digits signifying the product?s group and the last two digits identifying specific product qualities.

The first 6 digits of the harmonized system are universal – the numbers breakdown after that based on the Country you are shipping to.

What is a tariff?

Tariff is a tax on goods that is imported into Canada classified by the Harmonized System for international trade.

As a Canadian importer, how long do I have to maintain my records of imports?

The Customs Act states that records must be kept for seven years. The records need to be kept for six years including the current year.

Do I have to show French on my labeling?

Yes, all mandatory labeling requirements are to be shown in English and French. There are a few exceptions like the dealer’s name and address which can appear in either. Additional labeling information such as directions for use and promotional statements do not have to be bilingual but dealers are encouraged to show both. Some products may be exempt including test market products, local and specialty products.

For complete and specific information we suggest you visit the Competition Bureau’s website: http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/01248.html

Where can I get information on the regulations for importing various food products?

The best source of current information is on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) website called AIRS which is located at: http://airs-sari.inspection.gc.ca/AIRS_External/english/decisions-eng.aspx.

It is user friendly, but if you do get stuck give Community Customs Brokers a call and we will be happy to assist you.

What if I have meat samples I want shipped into Canada. Can I import them or do I need any specific documentation?

Yes, you are able to import the meat samples as long as the samples are not Beef and the samples weight less than 100 kgms. All you need to fill out is a “Declaration for Importation of Meat products from the U.S.A. weighing less than 100kg”. This is all we need besides the invoice with all the required information to get your meat samples cleared.

What does it mean when the shipment is waiting on CFIA for approval?

When a shipment is waiting on Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for approval this means that the products that were shipped are requiring CFIA’s review. When we send an entry for clearance that has Other Government Department (OGD) requirements, it must go through CFIA’s system for approval before Canada Customs can approve or reject the entry. This can sometimes take several hours depending on the queue times at CFIA.

Why is it taking so long for Canada Customs to look at my shipment?

Customs exam for full container can take from days to four weeks, depending on the type of exam. Canada Customs has multiple types of exams. For example some of the different exams are Vacis, Dockside, Stream Warehouse or 100% De-stuff.

We do not get to choose what type of Exam Canada Customs will conduct. We can, however, continue to advise you throughout the process.

I want to buy a puppy in the United States and import it into Canada, Can I bring pets into Canada?

Yes, animals can come into Canada. Please contact your Veterinarian to ensure what shots are needed for the animal based on the age before arriving to the border. PST/GST will be applied based on the Canadian value of your puppy; however, your puppy will be duty free.

What do I do if a portion of my shipment was left behind in the U.S.?

We will require the original invoice along with the product invoice that was left behind. A shortage letter from either the carrier or the shipper will be needed to explain what happened. Once we have this information we can use the same transaction that was used on the original shipment and provide to customs the documents. This will prove to customs that the GST was paid on the original shipment. However, a small brokerage fee will be charged to complete the paperwork.

When Community Customs Brokers registered me for a BN does that mean I am registered for GST?

Under the Canadian Business number you must register for each program that you will be using. The most common program accounts a business will need are GST/HST, payroll deductions, corporation income tax, and import-export.

The First 9 digits of your number are your business number. The following two letters identify the type of program account. The last four digits are the reference number for a specific program account. As an example if you registered to be an importer and also registered for the GST/HST 999999999RM0001 would be an importer number and 999999999RT0001 would be a GST/HST number.

I am a NRI who is registered for the GST/HST and CRA sent me a letter stating that I need to have security, or increase the amount of security that they are holding for my GST/HST registration.

Forward a copy of your letter to Community Customs Brokers and we will arrange to have the amount of your bond increased.

Canada Border Services Agency is asking for transaction numbers to review SIMA, what is SIMA?

Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for administering the Special Imports Measures Act(SIMA).This is to help protect Canadian industry from injury caused by dumping and subsidizing of imported goods. Dumping occurs when goods are sold to importers in Canada at prices that are lower than the selling price of comparable goods in the country of export or when they are sold in Canada at unprofitable prices. Subsidizing occurs when goods imported into Canada benefit from foreign government assistance. Companies in Canada who feel this is happening to them can file a complaint. Canada Border Services Agency will evaluate the complaint and may start a formal investigation, the end result may lead to higher duty rates for those products that are found to cause injury.

What documents are required to import meat products into Canada?

Generally you will need a Meat Certificate that covers all the meat products on the shipment as well as a Notification of Intent to Import meat. Some additional requirements may be applicable depending on the specification of the products but these 2 forms are required for all meat products entering into Canada.

How do I know if my food products are permitted to come into Canada?

Food products are normally approved by CFIA. Before importing into Canada, knowing the ingredients is important. Dairy products, meat products if included in your ingredients, could involve obtaining meat permits or paying additional duty charges. You can call CFIA at 1-800-835-4486 or speak with a broker at Community Customs Brokers for specialized assistance.

I’d like to import live plants – how do I do this?

You will be required to provide a bill of sale and the phyto for the plants. The paper work then is submitted by the broker to CFIA to have the plants approved for clearance.


I want to import beef samples into Canada from the USA. What forms do I need?

To Import Beef Samples you will require

1) a commercial Invoice stating the actual value of you products

2) For Beef products you will also need a Meat Certificate signed by an Official Veterinarian.

Can I import beef sausage into Canada from the US if it is made in Europe?

As the product has already been imported into the US, a US Official Veterinarian will not be able to sign the Meat Certificate therefore you will not be able to import into Canada.


I would like to bring in a boat and a boat trailer – what do I do?

Customs brokerage fee for both trailer and boat: Based on Value for Duty

RIV fee’s for trailers within 15 years old $295.00 with $50.00 Form one handling fee.

Trailers over 15 years old, with Form One, $50.00 Form One handling fee.

Please note 72 hours is not required for a boat and trailer.

The vehicle importation process is made simple when you use Community Customs Brokers.

Customs requires the following documents:

  • Bill of Sale
  • ​Original certificate of title or manufacturer’s certificate of origin (front and back​ copy’s​)

For a quick idea on what you will pay ​:

  • For trailers into Canada:
  • Duty will be 6.1% if the trailer is not made in Canada, U.S. or Mexico.
  • If it is made in Canada U.S. or Mexico – it will be Duty free.
  • Tax will be 5% GST .
  • You will pay your local PST upon registration of the vehicle.

For the boat into Canada:

  • Duty will be 6.1% if the trailer is not made in Canada, U.S. or Mexico.
  • If it is made in Canada, U.S. or Mexico – it will be Duty free.
  • Tax will be 5% GST .
  • PST for all personal imports .

Be sure you have a bill of sale for the Boat and one for the trailer.

The PST on the trailer will be paid at your insurance company when you register.


What does a Non Resident Importer (NRI) need to know?

In order for a non-resident importer to import goods into Canada, it must undertake the following:

* Obtain a Business Number

* Maintain appropriate business records

* Register for a Goods and Services Tax (GST) number from the Government of Canada

* Register for Provincial Sales Tax (PST) or Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) where applicable

Community Customs Brokers can help you through this process and make it easy.

What special forms are required to import a cannon (firearm) into Canada?

To import a cannon you would require a business non restricted firearms license.

Do I need an ACI emanifest for my shipment into Canada?

You can bring your shipment as Hand Carried goods in a vehicle as long as the goods are remaining with you to its final destination & you are in a non marked vehicle (not commercial) as this raises red flags with Customs – you can only do this a couple of times before Customs questions and requests you apply for a Carrier code.

What if my shipment didn’t clear customs but was delivered into Canada?

We would need to make sure a duplicate entry hasn’t been processed – if not we can submit a voluntary entry to declare and account for your goods – if there is a copy of a customs stamp, that is always handy to have to also prove declaration – sometimes it’s just CBSA didn’t update their system properly.

I am having product made overseas and I am also sending some parts to the manufacture to be added. Does this change the value?

Yes, this is considered an assist and the value of the parts and any shipping charges should be included in the final value of the goods when shipped to Canada.

How do I determine what the exchange rate will be when converting to Canadian?

The change rate is from the Bank of Canada exchange rates, based on the day the goods are shipped to Canada

It is just a sample – free goods. Why do I have to declare it with Customs?

Canada Customs does not accept free goods. All goods that are imported, even free samples, must be properly declared with Customs and a value equal to that of the same good, or similar to that of the free sample, must be provided for Customs Purposes.

Can I import endangered wild animals and plants/foods?

Environment Canada administers the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora commonly known as CITES. All CITES regulated wild animals and plants whether dead or alive are controlled including their parts or derivatives and specimens bred in captivity or artificially propagated.Appendix 1,II and III of the convention indicates whether these products can be imported and if so with the appropriate import permits and export authorization has been obtained from the CITES management Authority of the country of export. It is important to have the latin name of the product you are interested in importing as this is how they are indicated on the Appendix. The CITES import permits are issued by the CITES Management Authority of the Canadian Wildlife Service.


How do I import powdered milk into Canada?

Powdered milk is under the tariff rate quota (TRQ) so importer must obtain quota allocation from FAITC prior to importation of this item. That is, importers who have received a prior allocation of the available quota from FAITC must obtain an import permit which will allow them, subject to the permit’s conditions being met, to classify their product under a tariff item which is subject to the low, within access commitment rate of duty, otherwise over access commitment rate of duty is applied which are quite high.  Powdered milk are under chapter 0402 and depending on their fat content and added sugar or sweetening matter or not, HS can vary.

Can I import Farm equipment to Canada for harvesting crops?

Yes you can – there are a number of questions to be answered – how long will the equipment be in Canada for? Is it used or brand new? It must be imported by a non resident for their use in Harvesting and not available from a Canadian Source – if used equipment then a soil inspection will need to be done.

Can I import Elephant Ivory from Africa into Canada?

You may only import worked African elephant ivory for personal use as part of a household move or inheritance or as a musical instrument provided that the ivory was legally acquired before February 26, 1976; the ivory has not been transferred from one person to another person in pursuit of financial gain or profit after February 25, 2014; and the item is accompanied by a valid Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) pre-Convention certificate. Worked elephant ivory can also be imported as part of a sport-hunted trophy, if all other requirements for sport-hunted trophies are met. Once the importer has obtained the US CITES Export Authorization from the US, you must then apply to the Canadian CITES for the certificate to import the piano at http://www.ec.gc.ca/CITES/default.asp?lang=En&n=05BFDC16-1. It is imperative that you obtain the authorization certificates prior to shipping the piano into Canada. If you attempt to import it without the necessary certifications, the piano may be seized at the border which will incur much difficulty and expenses to the importer.

I am importing into Canada and customs wants to do an examination of my goods, what does that mean?

Customs randomly examines selected shipments to verify compliance. Insufficient or incomplete documentation may delay the clearance of the goods or result in examination. The frequency of examination depends on the compliance records of both the importer and exporter and the type of goods being imported.

I am importing into Canada and my goods are being held up at the border. I have been advised they need to go into a bonded warehouse, what is a bonded warehouse?

A bonded warehouse is a customs approved building or area used for storage of goods that have not been released or are being held for export. They will stay in such warehouse until customs has approved the documents and allowed for the goods to be released.

Community Customs Brokers can assist you with this need, contact us today.

Can imported goods be confiscated by the government?

Yes, that is called seizure. The action where goods which have entered the country illegally are confiscated. Even the conveyances used to transport such goods can also be seized.

I would like to import firearms into Canada. Can you confirm admissibility?

We unfortunately are unable to confirm admissibility for weapons and firearms into Canada. The customer will be required to contact the Canada Firearms Centre directly by phone at 1-800-731-4000 or online at www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca.

What is AIRS? How is it used?

CFIA-AIRS is a automated import reference system of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The purpose is to provide accurate and timely information regarding import requirements on plant,animal and food related products. The program uses a question and answer approach to guide the user through a series of questions about the tariff code, origin, destination and end use. Automated Import Reference System (AIRS).

Will exporters/vendors in other countries that export to Canada be required to adhere to the new CFIA licensing and registration under the Safe Foods for Canadians Act?

No, Canadian importers must ensure the foods that they import meet the Canadian requirements. Meat,fish,dairy and eggs are already regulated in Canada. Importers must meet the Canadian requirements to bring these products into the country. For food products currently not regulated having a licensing system for importers places the responsibility on them to import safe foods and increase Canada’s ability to act when there is non compliance.

How do I clear a Private Aircraft?

The CANPASS – Private Aircraft program makes clearing the border easier for private aircraft carrying no more than 15 people (including the crew) and travelling to Canada from the United States. This program allows members to access more airports and provides expedited clearances for low-risk, pre-screened travellers. How CANPASS – Private Aircraft works:

Private aircraft that meet the requirements of the CANPASS – Private Aircraft program can land at any airport of entry any time the site is open, regardless of the hours of operation of the local CBSA office. The aircraft can also land at a designated CANPASS-only airport.

The pilot is in charge of the aircraft and he or she must report all passengers and their goods on behalf of the aircraft. Pilots are responsible for reporting themselves, their crew and passengers to a telephone reporting centre (TRC) by calling 1-888-CANPASS (1-888-226-7277) at least 2 hours before but no more than 48 hours prior to the aircraft’s estimated time of arrival in Canada.

The TRC allows individuals who enter Canada by private aircraft, corporate aircraft or private boat to report their arrival and make their declarations to the CBSA by telephone. For more details see website: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/canpass/privateair-eng.html.


Who can I talk to about Canadian electrical standards on products I want to import into Canada?

The Canada Border Services Agency does not have any concerns, but you should check with the Canadian Standards Association as there can be criteria to be met to sell the goods in Canada. Here is a link for more information. http://www.csagroup.org/canada/

Do I need to pay in full for my Goods arriving from China before Canada Customs will release my goods?

Release on Minimum Documents (RMD) allows importers to obtain release of their goods by presenting data for interim accounting. Full accounting data and payment are not required at the time of release but they are required within certain time frames.

I have an Ocean Shipment coming from India. My Shipper advised that the next vessel departure will be at the end of the month. How long will it take for my container to reach its final destination which is Toronto and can Community Customs Brokers arrange for door delivery for this shipment after arranging customs clearance?

Community Customs Brokers is here for you. Yes we can do Customs Clearance for you and arrange the door delivery for you all the way to your required place. Normally if all goes fine, it should take approximately 45 days.

What is the role of the National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP)?

The NAAHP implements controls to prevent aquatic animal diseases from being imported into Canada and safeguards Canada’s natural aquatic animal resources.

What is required if an aquatic animal is on the susceptible species list for Canada?

If the animal is listed on the website:


You will require an Aquatic Animal Health Import Permit and a zoosanitary export health certificate or other documentation from the country of Origin may also be required.

Do I need a permit to bring into Canada an aquatic animal which is on the Susceptible aquatic animals list as a pet?

No, the permit is not required if it is as a pet or for personal use.

How long will it take for my goods to arrive in Vancouver from France by sea?

Approximately 30 days, depending on how it is routed.

What is a Site License?

A site license is required to manufacture, package, label or import natural health products for sale in Canada and is managed by Health Canada.

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