So You Want To Start Importing Into Canada?

iStock_000005625307SmallMany businesses are starting to import more and more into Canada. Free trade agreements, a stable economy and the rapid rise of e-commerce are among the main causes of this. In addition, Canada has a very business-friendly tax regime and customs duties advantages.1

Navigating the ever-changing customs landscape can be difficult. You will need to concern yourself with many things. In order to simply get your shipment across the border, large quantities of critical business data must first be generated, about everything from country of origin and destinations, to suppliers, tariff classifications, routings, and intended use2. In addition, customs release of goods, prima facie classification and filing of your entries with Canada Border Services Agency, collection and maintenance of NAFTA Certificates of Origin, determination of duties and taxes owed and facilitation of your payments to the Canadian government and filing of duty drawbacks and processing of claims are all among the tasks required for every import.

That’s where a Customs Broker comes in. It is essential that you have a reliable one who will guide you through the process with ease. As your intermediary, they will coordinate the entire process with you from start to finish.

Traditionally, importers have relied on customs brokers to pull that information together and clear the goods through customs. But many importers are coming to realize that it is only part of the advantage. With cloud software platforms such as the DCMS™, customs brokers like Delmar are now helping importers leverage that information, by transforming data into critical business intelligence and managing their entire customs compliance program online. Customs brokers are offering a growing range of specialized services to help importers develop new product lines, explore new markets, evaluate the impact of global change, and cut costs2. For example, the DCMS™ gives you the ability to view images of your import documents in real time, make document preparation and electronic transmission easier for your suppliers, manage your payables and produce reports to analyze your landed costs.

First Steps
Find a customs broker that you deem to be right for you. Legitimate customs brokers are licensed by the Canada Border Services Agency. As such, you (the importer) must grant a customs broker POA (Power of Attorney) to act on your behalf. Other critical documentation includes your Canada Customs Invoice.

Prior to departure
There are several shipment details that need to be clarified with your Customs Broker. Just about any good can be imported into Canada but identifying the goods you plan to import is still very important. This is simply because there are different requirements for different goods. Some goods (i.e. fresh food) require additional documentation or have different restrictions altogether. 95% of goods will be subject to a Goods and Service Tax.

In Conclusion
Navigating through Canadian customs is difficult. However, if you acquire the help of an experienced customs broker to guide you through, it becomes very simple. Customs brokers will guide you through the customs bureaucracy and help you pay the appropriate duties and taxes, adhere to the proper regulations, and comply with whatever changes arise.

Are you currently shipping to Canada? Leave a question or concern on the blog and we can try to help! Do you need a customs broker? Get in touch with us now at for general questions or concerns or at for more information on our rates. You can also call us by phone, toll free, at 1 888 4 DELMAR. Also, come visit us at and connect with us on our other social media platforms!


1 Transport Canada, 2009. ″Canada’s Tax and Duty Advantages: Enjoy the Benefits of Foreign Trade Zones, Anywhere in Canada″.

2 Canadian Society of Customs Brokers, 2014. What is a Customs Broker and why do you need one? Retrieved from Canadian Society of Customs Brokers website:

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Tony says:

    Great article, thanks for posting! It seems like using Customs Brokers can save a lot of time and money!

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