What are the advantages of using a customs broker?

You do not have to use the services of a customs broker when importing goods into Canada. However, unless you have security posted with the CBSA for the release of your goods, you will have to prepare and present a fully completed entry at the clearance port at the time of entry, and pay the duty and tax owing. Most firms who consider the logistics and the complexities of self-clearance find it more prudent to out-source this service, as they do their accounting and/or legal services. Customs brokers already have a deep understanding of the customs process, they have security posted with the CBSA, and they have a direct commercial online electronic portal link to CBSA.

What is ACROSS (Accelerated Commercial Release Operations Support System), and how does it work?

ACROSS is an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) based customs release system. It allows customs release information to be electronically transmitted to and from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Approved releases can then be transmitted directly to the carrier or through the broker.

If I receive written notification from CBSA that our company will be audited for compliance, what does it mean?

It means that Canada Customs has selected your company for review regarding your importing activity and any other relevant information.

The scope of the review consists of two main components:

  • Program Compliance – To test the importer's compliance with various customs related requirements, including the reporting of goods
  • Systems Review (on-site review only) – To examine the importer's accounting systems and procedures related to customs activities

How do I complete a Canada Customs Invoice (CCI) or North American Free Trade (NAFTA) Certificate of Origin?

Click here to be taken to our “How-To” section which provides detailed instructions on how to complete these forms.

Do my goods qualify for duty-free status under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)? How do I declare proof of origin?

Click here to be taken to our “How-To” section which provides detailed information on which goods qualify for CETA and how to declare proof of origin. 

How do I know that my Free Trade Agreement certificates are correct?

It’s always a good idea to consult with the most recent version of D-memoranda D11-4-14 released by the CBSA which describes the requirements needed to properly fill out a Free Trade Agreement.
When the CBSA conducts a trade verification (audit), one area they will review closely are correct and complete Free Trade Agreement certificates of origin. An invalid certificate will result in the importer having to pay the higher Most Favoured Nations (MFN) duty rates. Upon receipt of a corrected certificate, the importer can then file for a refund to recover the difference between the Free Trade Agreement duty rate and the MFN duty rate.

Do I need to complete a Canada Customs Invoice (CCI) to ship goods into Canada? 

The Canada Customs Invoice (CCI) provides a good overview of what information is required for importation. However, in most cases, all you need is a commercial invoice (sales invoice).
You will need to provide:

  • A complete description of the goods
  • The Country of origin of the goods
  • Unit quantity
  • Product value for each item shipped
  • Currency of settlement
  • The name and address of the vendor/exporter, purchaser, and delivery location.

Are all brokerage rates standard?

No. A fee structure will be based on work performed, volume, and payment program.

Do I have to issue payment of duties and taxes every week or in advance?

No. There are alternatives such as posting security in the form of a bond, GST letter, online banking direct payment options, and direct monthly payments.


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