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Import customs procedures in Canada

Customs threshold (De Minimis Value):


Standard GST rate: 

5% for most goods and services

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%)

Method of Calculation of Duties:

Customs duties are calculated on the FOB value.

Method of Payment of Custom Duties

Recipient can pay duty and tax  by credit card, check or cash to the appointed carrier. Please follow the instruction provided by the Carrier.

For shipment with Delivery Duty Prepaid (DDP) term, Spaceship will charge back the duty, tax and tax handling fee from the appointed carrier. 

Specific Import Procedures:

Commercial imports over $2500 and controlled goods of any value are manifested and require a unique business number for The importer of record (IOR).

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) set out certain requirements, such as licensing, preventive controls and traceability that apply to most food commodities.

Commodity Specific Stipulations

Baby Walkers

Health Canada has banned the importation of baby walkers. The ban does not include strollers or carriages.



Customs reserves the right to request book titles.



Commercial importers who are quota holders are assessed the normal duty rate (within access).

Commercial importers who are not quota holders are assessed the higher rate (over access) which exceeds 200%.

Casual or non-commercial importers can never hold quota. They are however, eligible for an exemption of 20.00 CDN and 20 kg. per person. Both criteria must be met. If casual shipments are within these criteria, the importer is charged the normal rate. If they are not within these two criteria, they are assessed the over access rate.


Compact Discs

The invoice must include the title of the compact disc in the description.


Cut Flowers

Fresh cut flowers without soil from any origin country or territory are approved for importation without any further documentation requirements other than a commercial invoice.

Fresh cut flowers with soil from any origin country or territory will require, at minimum, a commercial invoice and Phytosanitary Certificate.

All goods may be subject to inspection.


Drugs or Medicine

An invoice is required to list each commodity's generic or common name, the scientific name, ingredients, and the address and name of the manufacturer. The prescription must accompany the shipment's invoice in order to avoid delays. Prior approval should be obtained from Health Canada Health Canada will inspect all shipments at import



The invoice must include the title of the film in the description.



Food, perishable or non-perishable (for example, canned, bottled or otherwise packed), are acceptable for shipping.

Whether commercial or casual (e.g. residential, personal, private), import declarations or permits may be required. Food automatically flows through Canada Brokerage's OGD (Other Government Department) who process through the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Where a CFIA requirement is to be met, there will be an additional OGD fee.


Food Supplements

Some food supplements contain active ingredients restricted into Canada by the Food and Drug Regulations and are therefore subject to detainment by Canada Customs. The ingredients are the same as those restricted for prescription drugs. An example would be "Vitamin K". For a comprehensive but not exhaustive list of restricted ingredients, please refer to the following web site: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/c.r.c._c_870/index.html


Tapes (Audio, Video, Magnetic)

The invoice must include the title of the cassette in the description.