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Customs Procedures

Import Procedures
Before importing commercial goods into Canada, the importer will need to obtain a Business Number (BN) issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for an import/export account.
For imported goods to clear Customs, the following documents are needed: properly completed Canada Customs Invoice or its equivalent; form B3 customs coding form, cargo control document and bill of landing. Certain goods such as food or health-related items may be subject to the requirements of other federal government departments and may need permits, certificates, or inspections.

For information on importing commercial goods into Canada, consult the Canada Border Services Agency's guide to importing.

For further information, consult the Canada Border Services Agency website.
Specific Import Procedures
The eManifest Portal is a secure data transmission option developed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) that allows the trade community to electronically transmit their pre-arrival information through the Internet.
For more information on eManifest requirements, visit the CBSA website
The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) set out certain requirements, such as licensing, preventive controls and traceability that apply to most food commodities.
Any import, export or re-export of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)-listed species has to be authorized through a permitting system. Moreover, firearm and weapon are subject to specific import and export procedures.
Importing Samples
For import, export and re-export of commercial samples the ATA carnet is generally used. It must be written on the product that it is a free sample and that it may not be sold.

To go further, check out our service Import Controls and Export Controls.


Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports

Customs threshold (from which tariffs are required)
Imported from any country (other than the US and Mexico)
        Up to $20: duty and tax free
        Above $20: duties and taxes apply, excluding the US and Mexico
Imported from the US and Mexico
        Up to $40: duty and tax free
        Above $40 to $150: duty free, but taxes still apply
        Above $150: duties and taxes apply
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
The average rate is about 5%.

To know the Customs tariff in Canada, consult the article Customs Tariff produced by the Canada Border Services Agency.

Products Having a Higher Customs Tariff
Some sectors are relatively protected (foodstuffs up to 30%, textiles and articles of clothing up to 18%).
Preferential Rates
Most favored nation status (MFN) is given to all the countries Canada has trade relations with that are signatories to the General agreement on tariffs and trade (GATT). Canada has signed a certain number of Customs agreements, especially Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). The General preference tariff (GPT), the Commonwealth Caribbean country tariff (CCCT) and the Least developed country tariff (LDCT) are reduced Customs tariffs granted unilaterally to countries chosen by Canada because of their special geopolitical and economic situation. The Australia Tariff and the New Zealand Tariff reflect Canada's particular trading relationship with these Commonwealth countries. For more information, click here.
Customs Classification
The Customs Tariff is based on the World Customs Organization's (WCO) Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS).
Method of Calculation of Duties
Most Customs duties are calculated Ad Valorem on the FOB value of the goods.
Method of Payment of Customs Duties
Importers generally go through a Customs broker or a Customs clearance agent to carry out Customs formalities, in this instance the payment of Customs dues.
Import Taxes (Excluding Consumer Taxes)
A federal tax with a current rate of 5% called the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be imposed on most goods imported into Canada. Excise taxes are levied on a limited number of goods imported into Canada, including: certain automobiles, air conditioners for automobiles, gasoline products.
Moreover, excise duties are imposed on spirits, wine, beer and tobacco and cigars and cigarettes produced or manufactured in Canada. Each province or territory also levies provincial taxes, on products sold to consumers, but this tax is not generally applied when the products are imported.

List of tariffs and local taxes that apply to your product on our service Customs Duties and Local Taxes.

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Latest Update: April 2024