HS stands for Harmonized System. Because the rate of duty applicable to a certain product depends on that product’s classification, it is paramount to understand the system of tariff classification to be able to determine the appropriate duty rate for imported goods.

The correct classification of goods is essential not only for assessing the correct duty, but also to determine whether the merchandise is subject to quotas, restraints, embargoes or any other restrictions. It also determines if the goods are subject to a trade agreement. Classifying goods requires a customs broker to be familiar with the Customs Tariff, and the instrument upon which it is based, the international Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System.

Dilas Intl Customs brokers integrated our ACROSS database into the web site. You should see a blue button “PARS CHECK” on the top of each dilas.ca page. 

Just click on it and key in a PARS number. If the PARS is in our system, the site will show you the current status. Note that as soon as the shipment is released by CBSA, the PARS number is deleted from the web database.

Up to CAN$200 worth of goods for a trip of 24 hours or more. 

The goods must be with the resident at the border. Tobacco or alcohol cannot be part of this exemption. If the goods imported are valued more than CAN$200 in total, this Customs duty exemption cannot be claimed and full duties on all goods are to be paid. 

Up to CAN$800 worth of goods for a trip of 48 hours or more. 

The goods must be with the resident at the border. Although some tobacco and alcohol can be included into the exemption, a partial exemption may apply to cigarettes, tobacco products and manufactured tobacco. 

Up to CAN$800 worth of goods for a trip of 7 days or more. 

Although some tobacco and alcohol can be included, a partial exemption may apply to cigarettes, tobacco products and manufactured tobacco. The goods do not have to be present at the border, but tobacco and alcoholic beverages.

The fuel-inefficient vehicle tax (Green Levy) will apply to new or used automobiles, models 2007-2013 (including station wagons, vans, and sport utility vehicles) designed primarily for use as passenger vehicles.

You can find the list of vehicles and associated fuel-efficiency ratings here:
ETSL64 Imposition of Excise Tax on Fuel-Inefficient Vehicles

To find out all the charges for importing a vehicle, you are welcome to use the calculator on vehicle importation page.

Canada Customs (CBSA) oversee our national frontiers by implementing Canadian legislation regulating commercial trade and personal travel, and also international accords and conventions. CBSA promotes legitimate cross-border trade and encourage economic development at the same time blocking travelers and merchandise that present possible hazards to our country.

Shipments valued less than CAD 2500.00 and sent by regular mail are Customs cleared by Canada Post and Customs brokers do not get involved. 

However, shipments of CAD 2500.00 and more usually get stopped by CBSA and an official letter is sent to the importer requesting to file a proper RMD package to the nearest Customs office. In this case Dilas can take care of the Customs clearance. Just forward us the above mentioned letter from Customs and a commercial invoice for the goods in the package.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) was created in 1997 to safeguard Canada’s supply of food, as well as the health and safety of the animals and plants that depend on food being brought into Canada. Their purpose is to work with Customs brokers and officers as enforcement of the nutritional and food safety standards specified by Health Canada. 

CFIA duties range from enforcing fraudulent labelling issues to the thorough inspection of food processing facilities. They also perform food safety investigations, ensure the ethical transporting of animals, and conduct laboratory tests that may include the assessment of feeds, seeds, fertilizers, and plants.

The requirements for importing commercial shipments of agricultural products vary according to such things as country of origin, province of destination, and end-use.

Following is a summary of regulated agricultural products commonly imported:

Live animals (including animal embryos and semen)
Edible meat and meat products
Dairy products
Eggs and processed egg products (including inedible products)
Fresh fruits and vegetables (for consumption or processing)
Processed fruits and vegetables, honey and maple products
Grains, seeds, and nuts for human consumption
Seeds for propagation
Animal feeds
Plants and plant products
Fertilizers, supplements, soil, and growing media
Pest control products
Biological material
Products of animal origin (not specified elsewhere)
Fish and fish products

Goods shall be legibly and permanently marked with the country of origin in a place that can be easily seen. The origin marking shall be visible on the exterior packaging that will be displayed when it is being sold to the end-user. You can use an abbreviation of the country name as long as it is clearly indicative of the country of origin. 

Section 19.1 and Section 19.2 of the Customs Tariff specify the exact regulations and guidelines from the Governor in Council and Minister in regards to which goods need be marked, how to determine the country of origin, and where the goods should be physically marked. These requirements for country of origin markings are in addition to labeling requirements for other departments in the Government.

The Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) is a comprehensive reference system that provides detailed information on import requirements for all CFIA commodities. By using this tool, the user can see the import requirements for a specific commodity. AIRS can be viewed here:
Automated Import Reference System (AIRS)

They can mark them after importation into Canada (prior to release) if certain criteria have been met. An importer must give written notification to customs that goods will get marked, and transfer of ownership cannot occur until the goods are properly marked. The goods also cannot be imported using the mail, and the importer cannot have a notice of non-compliance for similar goods within the past 30 days.

After this written notice is received by customs, they will provide the importer with instructions specifying the following:

• When the marking must be completed
• Where the marking will be done
• Where the marked goods will be available for inspection

In most situations an officer will give a written notice to the Customs broker and/or importer stating the goods need to be marked as per the marking requirements. Most importers agree to mark the goods at their Canadian facility or at a Customs Bonded Warehouse.

As per the NAFTA agreement, the goods listed below do not require marking if they are made in North America: 

1. Goods for charitable purposes and not for the purpose of sale. 

2. Goods that are gifts or bequests. 

3. Goods that are antiques, or goods produced more than 20 years prior to importation. 

4. Used goods, with the exception of iron or steel pipes and tubes. 

5. Goods that are for the exclusive use of the importer or that importer’s employees and not for resale to the general public, with the exception of iron or steel pipes and tubes. 

6. Goods imported for use by the importer and not intended for sale in the form in which those goods were imported. 

7. Goods that are imported under the following tariff item Nos. 9808.00.00, 9809.00.00, or 9810.00.00 of the List of Tariff Provisions set out in the schedule to the Customs Tariff. 

8. Goods that are imported for subsequent exportation from Canada, with the exception of iron or steel pipes and tubes. 

9. Goods, for purposes of temporary duty-free admission, that are in transit or in bond or otherwise under customs administration control. 

10. Goods that are incapable of being marked. 

11. Goods that cannot be marked prior to exportation without causing injury to those goods. 

12. Goods that cannot be marked except at a cost that is substantial in relation to their customs value so as to discourage their exportation. 

13. Goods that cannot be marked without materially impairing their function or substantially detracting from their appearance. 

14. Goods that are in a container marked in a manner that will reasonably indicate the goods’ origin to the ultimate purchaser. 

15. Goods that are crude substances. 

16. Goods that are to undergo production in Canada by the importer, or on that importer’s behalf, in a manner that would result in the goods becoming goods of which the country of origin is Canada. 

17. Goods in respect of which, by reason of their character or circumstances of their importation, the ultimate purchaser would reasonably know their country of origin even though these goods are not marked with country of origin. 

18. Goods that are imported without the required marking and cannot be marked after their importation except at a cost that would be substantial in relation to their customs value, provided that the failure to mark those goods before importation was not for the purpose of avoiding compliance with the requirement. 

19. Goods that are original works of art. 

20. Goods that are classified under subheading No. 6904.10 (ceramic building bricks), or heading No. 85.41 (diodes, transistors, and similar semi-conductor devices, includes photosensitive), or 85.42 (electronic integrated circuits and micro-assemblies) and satisfy any other applicable requirements of these Regulations. 

21. Goods in respect of which there is no ultimate purchaser.

The Customs Self-Assessment (CSA) program offers approved importers faster accounting, payment, and release processing for imported goods. This will eliminate importers from having to maintain separate systems if their existing systems meets the CBSA requirements.

If an importer wants to utilize the efficient CSA release process, all carriers and drivers shipping goods for that importer must register and be approved under CSA. If the importer only wants to use the CSA streamlined accounting and payment systems, the carriers and drivers do not need to register.

The importer must supply CBSA with certifiable proof of their corporate information, business activities, key products, and information on any Canadian divisions to be approved for the program. Once importers have successfully completed this step, they must demonstrate that their business systems, books, and records have the necessary auditable trails, internal controls, and linkages.

In a non-CSA environment, a notice that goods have been released by customs acts as the accounting trigger and goods must be accounted for within a particular time from the date of release. With CSA, CSA clients are not notified that their goods have been released.

Instead, customs will rely on the CSA importer’s internal system to trigger accounting. In the CSA program, the date that goods are received by the CSA importer is considered to be the date of release. The last part of the application process requires the importer to sign an undertaking, or agreement, with CBSA. This undertaking must state the following:

– the start date;
– the importer’s obligations;
– the accounting option selected;
– importer-specific operational conditions, including any conversion activities for outstanding (pre-CSA) releases; and
– action plans to improve compliance.

Importers must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the CSA program:

• be a Canadian resident
• be without any major commercial or Customs infractions
• be willing to make an investment in business systems
• have a minimum history of two years of actively importing
• be able to provide senior management representation that commercial business processes, customs interfaces, and the required trigger, audit trails, and linkages exist or will exist in the company’s bookkeeping and record keeping
• be willing to sign a Client Undertaking document for the CBSA

Dumping is the selling of goods in another country’s market at prices lower than the prices at which the goods are sold in the domestic market of the exporter. Basically, it is a form of price discrimination between two international trading partners. When the practice of dumping adversely affects Canadian producers of like goods, additional duties – anti-dumping duties – may be applied.

The Special Import Measures Act (SIMA) contains Canada’s anti-dumping and countervailing law. This law is intended to protect Canadian industry from injury caused by goods that have been dumped in Canada, or subsidized in their country of export. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) are jointly responsible for administering the SIMA.

A bill of lading is a written contract of carriage and serves as evidence of the conditions of carriage agreed upon between the shipper and the carrier, and a document of title to the goods. An important function of the bill of lading is to express the conditions under which the carrier seeks to limit liability.

The bill of lading takes different forms depending on the mode of transport being used, for example, when shipping by air, an Air Waybill; when shipping by truck, an Inland Bill of Lading; and when shipping by sea, an Ocean Bill of Lading.

A commercial invoice should accompany all goods imported into Canada and should contain the following information:

– invoice number and date;
– date of shipment;
– terms of sale and conditions of payment;
– currency of value;
– country of origin;
– full description of the goods including quantity, unit price and amount.

You do not need a Canadian Customs broker for exports to the USA. However the American importer will need a US Customs broker who is physically located in the USA.

If a shipment is being exported overseas an export declaration B13A is required. Usually this form is included in a standard service by a freight forwarder. In case your forwarder does not provide B13A, Dilas International Customs Brokers will be happy to assist.

GST/HST is payable on the value for duty of imported goods, and on all customs duties, plus any additional amounts, such as excise tax or excise duty, anti-dumping duty, and countervailing duty.

Prohibited Goods for importation into Canada.

Section 136 of the Customs Tariff states that the importation of goods of tariff item numbers 9897.00.00, 9898.00.00 or 9899.00.00 is prohibited.

Tariff item 9897.00.00 covers the following various prohibited goods:

• some live animals
• counterfeit or base coins
• second-hand or used mattresses
• second-hand or used motor vehicles (for exceptions, see tariff item)
• smoke screen apparatus for use on vessels of chapter 89 or on motor vehicles • second-hand or used aircraft (for exceptions, see tariff item)
• goods used or manufactured wholly or partially by prison labour
• reprints of Canadian copyrighted works as well as reprints of British copyrighted works that have been copyrighted in Canada
• white phosphorus matches
• goods associated with which there is used any description that is false in a material respect regarding the geographical origin of the goods or the importation of which is prohibited by an order made under the Trade-marks Act

Tariff item 9898.00.00 covers firearms, restricted and prohibited weapons, prohibited ammunition, components, devices, and parts designed exclusively for use in the manufacture or assembly of automatic firearms. There are exclusions; this tariff item should be read in its entirety.

Tariff item 9899.00.00, drawings, photographs, lists books, and similar goods that:

• are considered obscene under the Criminal Code
• are of a treasonable nature • are of a seditious nature
• constitute hate propaganda

Please contact Dilas International Customs Brokers if you are unsure whether or not a good is considered to be prohibited.

Administrative Monetary Penalty System is a graduated penalty system for infractions under the Special Import Measures Act, the Customs Act, and the Customs Tariff, as well as any regulations found within these Acts.

The AMPS Master Penalty Document can be reviewed at:
Memorandum D22-1-1

There is a specific AMPS penalty for each infraction, and they will increase for subsequent identical infractions. A Notice of Penalty Assessment (NPA) will be issued if an officer has determined that a penalty is warranted.

Once the NPA is issued, the party it was issued to can do any of the following:

• pay the penalty within 30 days of when it was issued

• enter into a penalty reduction agreement 

• take redress action (if the penalty was inappropriately applied), which must be submitted to the issuing customs office in writing within 90 days

• contact the issuing CBSA office to request that the penalty be reviewed within 30 days from when the NPA was issued if an error has been made

Dilas International Customs Brokers can assist you if you have received an NPA and you are not sure how to respond.

Customs brokers are licensed by the Canada Border Services Agency under section 9 of the Customs Act.

Here is a link to the CBSA list of licensed Customs brokers

No. Casual (personal use) imported goods that are acquired in the United States of America are deemed to originate in the United States and are entitled to US Tariff if:

– the marking of the goods is in accordance with the marking laws of the United States and indicates that the goods are the product of the United States; or

– the goods do not bear a mark and there is no evidence to indicate that the goods are not the product of the United States.

NAFTA certificate and NAFTA statement of origin are required for duty relief for commercial imported goods made in the USA and Mexico.

Commercial shipments valued at $2,500.00 or more Canadian must be listed on a properly completed form B232E, North American Free Trade Agreement Certificate of Origin, in order to be entered at the lower duty rates provided under the NAFTA.

Exporters of goods valued at less than $2,500.00 CDN may provide the importer with an Exporter’s Statement of Origin instead of the detailed Exporter’s Certificate of Origin.

Both of these forms you can find on Dilas Customs brokers web site’s documents page here: Documents

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a 5% tax, and, unless specifically exempted, applies to all goods imported into Canada, whether commercial or personal.

There are different rules for how and when the HST will apply to commercial and non-commercial importations. The HST will generally not apply to importations on which the GST does not apply.

Goods accounted for as commercial goods under the Customs Act, that are destined for or imported into provinces where HST applies, as well as specified motor vehicles and mobile homes, will be subject to the 5% GST at the time of importation, regardless the port of crossing into Canada.

Non-commercial goods (personal use items) will be subject to the HST/PST at the time of importation by residents of the provinces where HST/PST applies, regardless of where the resident enters Canada.

Unfortunately, we do not handle the Customs clearance of importations of liquor and tobacco.

Effective January 1, 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a trilateral trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico. NAFTA certificate or origin attests that the goods were actually manufactured in the USA or Mexico and are entitled for the US or Mexican tariff treatment, which usually is duty free.

The Certificate of Origin is issued by the exporter or producer, is uniform among Canada, the United States, and Mexico and is acceptable for use in any of these countries. For imports into Canada, the NAFTA Certificate of Origin can be completed in English or French.

To claim a NAFTA duty free tariff treatment a Customs broker must have a NAFTA certificate on file.

The NAFTA certificate can be filled out on this web page of our site: Documents

Yes, for some of the goods there is a GPT (General Preferential Tariff) duty rate with is lower than a regular rate. To claim a GPT tariff treatment an importer or a Customs broker must have one of the two of the following documents on file:

Certificate of origin form A
Exporter’s Statement of origin

The Exporter’s Statement of origin form can be downloaded from our documents page here: Documents

The following are the standard charges for importing vehicles: 

• 5% GST is mandatory • $100 excise tax for vehicles with air conditioning 

• $195 + tax to the RIV (Registrar of Import Vehicles) for the Transportation Canada vehicle registration 

• Provincial sales tax may apply and the percentage of tax will vary depending on the province you live in 

• 6.1% duty on all passenger ATVs, cars, SUVs, and trucks that were not manufactured in North America 

• Some 2007 or newer models will be subject to a $1,000 to $4,000 green levy tax based on fuel consumption. The Canada Revenue Agency website will list all of the vehicles that qualify. 

You can calculate the exact Customs charges for your specific vehicle using the helpful vehicle importation calculator

You can handle the Customs clearance yourself if you have the time and resources to ensure that the process runs smoothly. Please try to keep the following factors in mind when you are deciding whether or not it is worth it to contact a Customs broker for assistance. 

Make sure you have accounted for all applicable Customs tariffs, tariff treatments, and any other Governmental requirements. You will also need to understand everything that is required to be compliant with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) regulations. 

If you decided to hire a Customs broker, you won’t have to worry about filling out all of the necessary CBSA forms. You also won’t need to drive to the warehouse facility where the goods are awaiting clearance, bring the documentation to the Customs’ office, and wait for the shipment to be processed. 

A professional Customs broker will work with their established contacts to ensure guidelines are followed and the goods have the necessary certification to legally obtain the lowest duty rate possible. Customs brokerage fees are usually only a fraction of the importing cost, and paying them will save a significant amount of time and frustration.

Canada Customs requires a properly filled out Canada Custom or commercial invoice. There is a blank Customs invoice you can fill out on the “documents” page of the Dilas International website.

You will also need a NAFTA Certificate of Origin for the goods if they are made in the U.S. or Mexico. This will make it exempt from duties under the NAFTA agreement.

Certain products like explosives, firearms, food, plants, animal feed, and some electrical equipment will require special documentation. Please feel free to contact Dilas International for more information on the documentation that is needed for those specific items.

No. Dilas International is able to release import shipments at any Canada Customs port of entry using electronic data interchange channels with Canada Customs, CFIA, and Transport Canada.

Our process for registering business clients is fast and simple. All you need is your business RM0001 identifier account number (import/export account) with Revenue Canada before proceeding to our account setup page. If your company currently doesn’t have an RM account, but you have a business number (GST number), you can add an RM account by calling the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-5525. They will give you an RM number.

All of the forms that are required for appointing Dilas International as your Customs broker will be created as a PDF once you enter the necessary information on the account setup page. You can save the forms for your records. An e-mail confirmation will then be immediately sent to you.

If you occasionally ship personal packages that are not imported for commercial, industrial, or institutional use, you can proceed directly to our account setup page. The agreement for appointing Dilas International as your Customs broker will be created as a PDF once you enter the necessary information on the account setup page on our website. You can save the agreement for your records. An e-mail confirmation will then be immediately sent to you.

Please ensure that all of your shipments indicate the following on the Bill of Lading and we will take care of everything else for you.

Customs clearance by:
Dilas Intl Customs Brokers
Phone: 1-800-402-4762
Fax: 1-866-234-2611

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