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We take the guesswork out of the
Customs Clearance process

Check out the three phases of CUSTOMS CLEARANCE to learn more.

Prior to Release of Goods

Pre-import consultation

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Release of Goods

Highly sophisticated software

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After Release of Goods

Post-import consultation

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PRE-REQUISITE FOR IMPORT

Before importing commercial goods into Canada, as a business or an individual, you will need to assure you are clear about the following areas:

1.  Business Number

  • A Business Number (BN) is issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for an import/export account.
  • Call the CRA’s Business Window at 1-800-959-5525 for more information on obtaining a business number
  • CLICK HERE to access the CRA’s Business Registration Online (BRO)
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2. Country of Origin

Identify the country where your goods originate.

  • This does not simply mean the country from which the product was shipped to you.
  • This may also include country from where individual parts of the product are from.
  • This may also include country where all parts were assembled into the final product.
  • Goods must be clearly marked with country of origin.
  • Requirements for Proof of Origin can be found in Memorandum D11-4-2, Proof of Origin published by CBSA
  • More information on marking requirements can be found in Memorandum D11-3-1, Marking of Imported Goods published by CBSA
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3. Goods Classification

The goods have to be classified for tariff purposes. The tariff clarification number will be used to determine the rate of duty that will be applied to your goods. Your Customs Broker is skilled to classify your goods. Things to do for goods classification:

  • Gather ample information about the goods including but not limited to product literature, material composition, size, weight, etc.
  • Obtain product samples

4. Restricted Entry

Certain goods are not allowed to be imported into Canada:

  • Obvious items such as child pornography and hate propaganda
  • Less obvious items such as used mattresses and some used automobiles.
  • For more information on prohibited products, please consult Memoranda Series D9, Prohibited Importations published by CBSA
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5. Other Government Departments

Many goods are subject to the requirements of other government departments (OGD) and agencies and may require permits, certificates, and/or inspection.

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6. Special Import Measures Act

Certain goods are subject to measures under the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA)

  • The special measures available under the SIMA include anti-dumping duties, countervailing duties and undertakings.
  • Please consult the monthly index of products subject to SIMA for more information.
  • Please refer to Memoranda Series D14, Special Imports Measures Act for more information.
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7. Domestic Controls

Before you import certain goods into Canada, you must determine whether they are subject to domestic controls.

  • Any person who examines, possesses or transfers controlled goods domestically is legally (Under the Defence Production Act (DPA) and the Controlled Goods Regulations) required to register with Public Works and Government Service’s (PWGSC) Controlled Goods Program (CGP).
  • A full list of controlled items in Canada is available in the Schedule to the DPA
  • Please also view PWGSC’s Guide to the New Schedule to the Defence Production Act
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8. Trade Agreements

You need to assess or request the help of your Broker to assess if your goods fall under any of the trade agreements across nations that can offer you a preferential duty rate.

  • All the requirements of a particular trade agreement or tariff treatment must be satisfied in order for you to benefit from a preferential duty rate.  CLICK HERE to learn more about Preferential Rates.
  • You must possess proof of origin for the specific trade agreement at the time of importation. For example, to claim the UST you must have a valid NAFTA Certificate of Origin.
  • General tariff information and guidelines can be found in Memorandum D11, General Tariff Information published by the CBSA
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Call the CRA’s Business Window at 1-800-959-5525

Visit the CRA’s Business Registration Online (BRO)

Requirements for proof of origin can be found in Memorandum D11-4-2, Proof of Origin published by CBSA.

More information on marking requirements is found in Memorandum D11-3-1, Marking of Imported Goods published by CBSA.

For more information on prohibited products, please consult Memoranda Series D9, Prohibited Importations published by CBSA.

The CBSA’s Other Government Departments and Agencies: Reference List for Importers provides a list of some of the most commonly imported commodities that may require permits and/or certificates.

More comprehensive information can be found in Memoranda Series D19, Acts and Regulations of Other Government Departments.

A full list of controlled items in Canada is available in the Schedule to the DPA

Please also view PWGSC’s Guide to the New Schedule to the Defence Production Act.

General tariff information and guidelines can be found in Memorandum D11, General Tariff Information published by the CBSA.

RELEASE OF GOODS

BorderStream as your Broker will perform the following tasks for release of your goods:

1. Goods Classification

Classify your goods and build a database containing cross reference to a 10 digit Tariff classification number for each of the goods you will be importing into Canada.

 

2. Applicable Tariff Treatment

Determine the Applicable Tariff Treatment for your goods and respective rate of duty, considering any preferential duty rates.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Preferential Rates.

 

3. Canadian Goods and Services Taxes

Determine if your goods are subject to the Canadian Goods and Services Tax (GST).

 

4. Exchange Rate

BorderStream uses the Bank of Canada’s exchange rate where applicable.  CLICK HERE to see current exchange rate.

 

5. Value of Goods

Determine if the value of goods for the purposes of applicable duties.

 

6. CBSA Approval

Submit all relevant release of goods documents to CBSA (electronically)

 

7. Payment of Duties & Taxes

Pay Duties and Taxes to CBSA within prescribed time limit

CLICK HERE to learn more about Preferential Rates

Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) Tariff

Goods originating from all countries are entitled to use the rate of duty
specified under this category with the exception of North Korea.

Applicable Preferential Tariffs

This category lists reduced rates of duty for goods based
on existing trade agreements across nations:

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

United States Tariff (UST),

Mexico Tariff (MT),

Mexico-United States Tariff (MUST);

Chile Tariff (CT);

Canada-Israel Agreement Tariff (CIAT);

Canada-Costa Rica Tariff (CRT);

Canada-European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement:

Iceland Tariff (IT), Norway Tariff (NT), Switzerland-Liechtenstein Tariff (SLT);

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement: Peru Tariff (PT);

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement:

Colombia Tariff (COLT);

Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement: Jordan Tariff (JT);

Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement: Panama Tariff (PAT); and

Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement: Honduras Tariff (HNT); and

Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement: 

Korea Tariff (KRT) or rates of duty based on special tariff provisions such as the:

General Preferential Tariff (GPT);

Least Developed Country Tariff (LDCT);

Commonwealth Caribbean Countries Tariff (CCCT);

Australia Tariff (AUT); and

New Zealand Tariff (NZT).

AFTER RELEASE OF GOODS

What To Do:

1. Maintain Originals

Please maintain all records pertaining to the import for up to six years.

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2. Audit & Inspection

Imported goods can be subject to an audit/inspection by the Canadian Customs up to 4 years after importation and the duties and taxes can be revised and new duties and taxes can be assessed accordingly.

  • If the CBSA deems it essential to modify the original accounting of duties and taxes, it will issue a Detailed Adjustment Statement (DAS).
  • All importers have 30 days to pay the adjusted duties and taxes.
  • All importers have the right to ask for an impartial review of most decisions (tariff classification, origin, or value for duty of imported goods) after an audit.
  • Request for Adjustment must be made  no later than 90 days after the date of the initial decision.
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3. Accounting Adjustments

Any error in the accounting information identified post release of goods must be reported to CBSA.

  • All importers are required to modify any erroneous information within 90 days after discovery of the error.
  • If a change in the accounting information results in a refund of duties or taxes paid to CBSA, then the importer must file an application for a refund. This filing can be done within four years from the date the goods were accounted for.
  • Adjustments which reduce the amount of duties payable, CBSA will refund the duties and taxes or issue a rebate.
  • If a change in the accounting information results in additional duties owing to CBSA, then the importer will need to remit the additional amount and the applicable interest to CBSA.
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For more information on maintenance of records and books in Canada by importers, refer to Memorandum D17-1-21, Maintenance of Records in Canada by Importers.