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Import fees to Canada: A Complete Guide

Our team has put together this Guide on Import Fees to Canada. We review duty free thresholds, free trade, entry preparation and common carrier fees. Contact our team for rates and additional support. The best way to minimize import fees is to understand them. See the contact form at the bottom of this page.

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The majority of consignements that import to Canada are subject to duty, taxes and fees. Goods that ship from the USA and Mexico benefit from higher duty free thresholds (see below). However, they are otherwise subject to the standard import process.

Canada has free trade agreements with most of the world's leading economies. Major trade agreements include the UK/CUKTCA, European Union/ CETA and Japan-Asia Pacific /CPTPP.These agreements that can minimize import fees. The agreements reduce the overall import fees to Canada.


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Complete Guide: Import Fees to Canada

  • Entry preparation (usually inclusive for express shipments but not ground)
  • Administration / disbursement fee
  • Duty (if goods do not qualify for duty free status)
  • Explaining Canada's duty free low value thresholds
  • Provincial and Federal taxes
  • Claiming back Canadian sales tax paid for importing goods
  • Canadian Customs Broker Fees
  • Managing Canada returns for Canadian online orders
  • Get a shipping quote shipping to and from Canada from everywhere!
  • Common import fees to Canada via ocean container
  • Importing personal effects to Canada duty free
  • Shipping from the US to Canada and from other countries
  • A certificate of origin to Canada explained and its benefits
  • From where goods ship from versus their country of origin
  • Shipping terms to Canada delivery duty paid or unpaid
  • Non-tariff trade barriers
  • Valuation for non-resident importers to Canada
  • Choosing the best shipping options to Canada
  • Read our Complete Guide for Shipping to Canada

Understand and Reduce Import Costs to Canada

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Duty Free Threshold Shipping to Canada from the USA

As part of the USMCA, Canada has a higher duty free threshold.The regulatory term is "de minimis threshold." Goods that ship from the USA with a value under CA $150can import duty free. Local sales taxes still apply. Useful information regarding low value duty free thresholds.

Canada's higher duty free threshold helps businesses in the United States sell to the Canadian market.

Read More: Questions and Answers regarding import fees to Canada from the USA.


Duty Free Threshold Shipping to Canada non USA origin

The default duty free threshold for imports to Canada is CA$20. Qualifying origin goods import duty free.

Qualifying goods must meet the rules of origin of the relevant agreement. Canada has free trade agreements with most of the world’s leading economies.

READ-MORE-CANADA-FREE-TRADE-AGREEMENTS


Ship from country ≠ Country of Origin

Goods from the USA do not import duty free. Country of origin refers to country for manufacture. Consignments that qualify for duty free status via a Canadian free trade agreement must include a certification of origin.

free trade vector

VERIFY AND BENEFIT FROM CANADA'S FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS

Tariff information to Canada is via the HS tariff regime. Canada’s Most Favour Nation (MFN) tariff rates are applicable for imports from most countries.

Read More: UNDERSTANDING CUSTOMS DUTY CALCULATION

A certification of origin. is necessary to claim preferential duty free import. An origin declarations on shipping documents is often acceptable versus having to produce a separate certificate.

Read More: Country from where goods ship from versus their country of origin


FAQ regarding import fees to Canada

Can I import online orders USA to Canada duty Free under USMCA?

Goods from the USA to Canada can qualify for duty free import in two ways. Consignments under the CA$150 import duty free. Secondly, goods that qualify as "US Origin" under CUSMA rules also import duty free.

What Countries does Canada have a Free Trade Agreement with?

In addition to the USA and Mexico, Canada has free trade agreements with most of the world's leading economies. The notable exceptions being China and India.

List of originating countries that may benefit from preferential duty free import to Canada.

How Can I verify if the import fees I was charged for are correct?

Request a detailed invoice from the carrier or broker. If this is for your business, request a review from Jet's team.

What are the most common import fees to Canada?

The most common import fees to Canada or duty, taxes, entry preparation and carrier fees.

Useful Video: How to Ship to Canada !

Are all shipments from the USA import duty free to Canada?

Shipping from the USA versus "Made in USA"

Shipping from the US does not alone guarantee duty free import to Canada. Goods under the low value threshold and or USA origin can import duty free.

Goods that are made in the USA may qualify for duty free import if they meet the "rules of origin" under CUSMA.

Useful PDF: Shipping USA to Canada

What is the duty free threshold to Canada?

Consignments valued less than CA$20 can clear duty free. Most goods with a value under CA$40 via courier from the USA or Mexico can import free of duty and tax free.

Shipments with a value under CA$150 via courier from Mexico or USA can clear duty free. However, goods with value over CA$40 are subject to federal and provincial tax.

Why do Shipments from China Have Lower Import Fess Canada?

There is common perception that shipments from China are subject to lower import fees.This is especially true when discussing shipments from the USA to Canada versus from China to Canada.A couple of points to consider:

  • Shipments from China typically import via Canada Post with a low value (see below)
  • Imports via Canada Post in general seem to have less oversight than via commercial carriers
  • Many shipments from the USA ship via UPS ground. These shipments incur an cost for "entry preparation." (see below)



IMPORT DUTY VECTOR Useful information regarding import fees calculation

Foreign Companies acting as Importer of Record in Canada

Canada’s non-resident importer program enables United States exporters to obtain a business number and act as the importer of record. Being able to act as a non-resident importer streamlines customs clearance. Useful information regarding valuation for non-resident imports to Canada.

Are Import Fee to Canada less via the post office?

Technically speaking, the same rules of import duty and taxes apply to postal imports. In practice, many report that Canada Post imports are less often charged import fees. Canada Post charge recipients a handling fee of around CA$10 in addition to duty and taxes.

Postal shipments from Temu, Alibaba, Shein and other China sellers often import with a false value. Being under the CAD$20 duty free threshold provides duty and tax free import.

Quotes from online forums:

"super weird how AliExpress orders never get dinged" for import fees

"Why is it that not a single package I've received from AliExpress has been dinged for customs?"

"as for AliExpress, Canada Post and CBSA is lazy, please don't spoil a good thing" (referring to no import fees)

Why does UPS charge brokerage fees?

A common complaint about import fees relate to UPS ground shipments. Ground shipments via UPS do not include "customs entry preparation." This fee calculates on the value of the shipment. We outline this in more detail below and include a link to UPS and FedEx ground brokerage fees.

Can e-commerce orders be import duty free via Canada's Free Trade Agreements?

Yes. If the goods to Canada qualify under the country of origin rules. Online orders with qualifying goods can benefit from preferential duty free import.

Large volume e-commerce commerce imports can consolidate and clear as a non-resident importer.

free trade vectorVerify in you can benefit from Canada's Free Trade Agreements

Are USMCA, CUSMA and T-Mec the same agreement?

Yes. The North American Free trade agreement has names specific to each country. Three names, one agreement.

  • USMCA: USA
  • CUSMA: Canada
  • T-Mec: Mexico

Certification of origin / COO process for parcels to Canada

Canada's free trade agreements provide abenefit of a simplified Certification of Origin.Consignments with a value under CA$3,300 have simpler processes. In such cases, customs may accept a shorter certifying statement on the commercial invoice or other shipping document.

Useful information on navigating Canadian Customs Clearance

Benefit form having a certificate of origin to Canada

The country of origin useful for Canadian customs to determine if duty free import applies.

Read more: Understanding a certificate of origin


Basic rules for importing parcels to Canada

Goods import to Canada with a value over CA$20 are subject to duty and taxes.

Consignments with a value under CA$3,300 can import via Canada's low value system (LVS). Goods via courier from the USA and Mexico benefit from a higher "duty free threshold."

When shipping internationally, it is important to declare the correct value.

declared value vector Understand the principles of declaring a value for customs


Duty Free Thresholds for Canadian imports

Import-fees-to-Canada-Explained-Jet-1

CANADA’S DEMINIMIS THRESHOLDS FOR IMPORTS BY COURIER

The de minimus rules apply from where the goods ship from. They do not apply to the country of origin. (The country of origin refers to the place of manufacture).

Goods that trans-ship via the United States or Mexico do not benefit from the higher duty free thresholds.

Duty Free Thresholds Shipping Courier to Canada from USA and Canada

The word “courier” means a commercial carrier other than goods that import by mail. Goods that ship to Canada via USPS or Correos/ Mexican Post are postal imports . Certain goods do not benefit from the de minimis rules.

For shipments to Canada from Mexico and USA via courier

  • Value under CA $40: Duty free and tax free
  • Value between CA $40.01 and CA $150.00: duty free but not tax free
  • Value over CA$150: Dutiable and taxable

Duty Free Thresholds Shipping via USPS and Mexican Post to Canada

  • The postal rules apply. Goods above CA $20 are subject to duty and tax.

Duty Free Thresholds For Goods to Canada via the USA

  • Consignments from other than the USA or Mexico with a value over CA$20 are subject to duty and tax. This includes goods that ship via the USA from another country.

Exceptions to Duty Free Thresholds Shipping to Canada

Certain types of goods are exempt from the de minimis rules:

1. Customs duties, excise tax and GST/HST/PST apply to on alcohol, tobacco products, and cannabis.

2. Customs duties, excise tax and GST/HST/PST apply on certain commercial transactions:

  • Import goods from a retailer in Canada shipping to the purchaser directly from a place situated out of Canada;
  • Import goods through or from an address, a post office box or a telephone number in Canada; and
  • Goods that import to a person other than the purchasing person in Canada

3. Orders cannot be split up in order to "game the system." The value declaration of the import must reflect all the items ordered by the customer.


Common Import Fees to Canada

 

Import duty, also known as customs duty or tariff, is a tax that is levied on goods that are imported into Canada. The amount of duty that is charged depends on the classification of goods, where they are shipping from, their country of origin and value.

Imports are subject to Federal/GST tax of 5%. Imports may also be subject to provincial sales tax. 

Brokers and carriers often charge for preparing the customs entry.  For express shipments, the entry preparation cost is usually included.

Carriers charge a fee based on the amount of import fees paid on behalf of the consignee. This is usually expressed as a percentage of the amount paid with a minimum charge of around $15.

Other fees can include additional entry processing, storage and if other approvals are needed.

Common import fees for consignments shipping via air to Canada can include:

  1. Duty: Items that do not otherwise qualify for preferential duty free import are subject to duty. Read more: Understanding import duty calculation
  2. Tax: All imports to Canada are subject to both federal (5%) and provincial sales tax.
  3. Entry preparation fee: This fee is inclusive for most consignments via express courier. Goods the import to via ground do not include entry preparation. Consignments that require non-standard entries may be subject to additional preparation fees.
  4. Disbursement Fee: When duty and taxes apply, carriers charge a fee for prepayment of such fees prior to final delivery. This type of fee averages between 2-3% of the fees paid on behalf of the consignee with a minimum fee between CA$10-$20.

Other Possible Canadian Import Fees

Some commodities are subject to additional fees. There are costs associated with additional steps. These include: quarantine for agricultural products, excise tax for alcohol and tobacco, and customs bond for high value imports.

Read More: Non tariff barriers and cross border shipping.


Ocean Port Import Fees to Canada

Shipments arriving via ocean container are subject to a range of fees that can include:

  • Duty (Useful information: Understanding duty calculation)
  • Wharfage Fee
  • Terminal Handling Charge (THC)
  • Documentation Fee
  • Port Security Fee
  • Customs Clearance Fee
  • Demurrage, Detention and Storage

oceancontainer ship at port

Learn more: Realizing the benefits of ocean freight to and from Canada.


Canadian Duty Rates for international imports

Similar to all major economies that adhere to WTO rules. Import duty assessment is on the declared value, commodity / H.S. Code, and country of origin. The duty rate for common imports such as clothing, can be as high as 20%.

The Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff rates apply to most imports to Canada. This includes goods that do not otherwise meet the rules of origin of a Canadian free trade agreement.

Ship from USA ≠ Country of Origin USA

A common misperception is that, with USMCA, all goods from the USA to Canada can enter duty free. For the USMCA/CUSMA (and all other trade agreements), the country of origin refers to the place of manufacture and production.

For example, goods sold by a US seller from China cannot import to Canada duty free under the USMCA/CUSMA country of origin rules.

Useful "How to Ship" Videos


Canada simplified HS code

Canada employs a simplified classification and duty rate system. The Generic Harmonized System (GHS) applies to shipments under 500 Canadian dollars. This process allows classification under three ‘dummy’ HS codes (or ‘buckets’). Each bucket is then assigned a rate depending on whether the goods are imported from a country having a Free Trade Agreement with Canada. The use of GHS is optional.

Canada GHS tariff schedule chart

GHS codes can apply if they can otherwise be classified in accordance with the provisions of Chapters 1 to 97. The GHS code is applicable if the duty rate is within 5 percentage of the actual HS code.


What is an H.S. Code?

HS code vector image Verify and understand how to classify your goods for export/ import

The Harmonized System (HS) is via the World Customs Organization (WCO). It and serves as the foundation for the import classification systems in Canada. The HS assigns specific six-digit codes for all products and commodities.

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Carriers "Customs Preparation Fee" to Canada

A customs entry is necessary for every consignment to Canada. Most express and postal shipments include the “Customs Entry Preparation Fee" for standard customs entries.

non duty Canada import fees graphic-1

Customs Preparation Fee for Ground Shipments from the USA

Shipments via FedEx and UPS ground are subject to a "customs preparation fee"

For shipments via FedEx and UPS Ground to Canada, the Customs Preparation fee applies. For high volume shippers, this fee can be negotiated.Most carriers base the entry preparation fee on the “value for duty” of the consignment.

entry-preparation-fees-to-Canada-chart

Useful PDF: FedEX and UPS import fees to Canada 2024


Disbursement Fee by Canadian Carriers

Even when entry preparation fee free, carriers charge a fee to cover their cost to advance the duty cost on behalf of the receiver. The charges calculate as a percentage (around 2.5%) of the duty and taxes paid. The minimum charge is around $15

sample ground import fees to Canada

Processing Fee for Imports to Canada

In addition to the disbursement fee, carriers charge a processing fee. This averages around $6. It applies to both ground or air shipments

"Entry preparation" for air express consignments is inclusive. Shipments above $3,300 or otherwise requiring additional processes are subject to additional fees
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Fees Direct from a Canadian Customs Broker

Customs Brokerage Firms fees are from a variety of factors. For regular importers, it probably best to use an independent broker. Their familiarity with your commodities and import flow can be an advantage. The cost and independent customs broker can amount to over $100 per import. Read more about Canadian customs brokers.

Can you self clear goods to avoid customs brokerage fees?

An importer can clear goods on their own behalf. In practice, most find value in using a professional brokerage. Visit the Canada Border Services Agency for details on self clearing goods.


Beyond Duty: Sales Tax is a major component of import fees

As a rule, GST/HST/PST is payable on goods importing to Canada. The amount of tax is on the value of the goods, including customs duties.

The federal tax is the Goods and services Tax or GST. The provincial tax often shows as PST. Some provinces incorporate both taxes which together are the Harmonized Sales Tax or HST. This is a combination of the PST and the GST.

Duty Free ≠ Tax Free

Even goods that benefit from preferential duty free entry are subject to Federal and provincial sales tax.

Any item mailed to Canada may be subject to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and/or duty. The taxable value is the cost of the goods plus duty.

  • GST: 5% Federal Sales Tax of Canada and applies to virtually all goods to Canada
  • PST: Provincial sales tax is dependent on region. Shipments to British Columbia , Manitoba, Quebec, and Saskatchewan are subject to PST, as well as 5 percent GST.
  • HST: is a Combination of GST and PST for provinces who participate in the HST program. Shipments to New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador, and Ontario are subject to HST rates that range between 13-15%

GSTPST import tax recoverable graphic


Claiming back Canadian sales tax paid for importing goods

Most businesses in Canada are registered. Generally, commercial activity over $30,000 in yearly sales requires registration.

Registered businesses can recover the GST/HST/PST for importing goods. This payment is an input. The term inputs refers to property or services used or consumed in the course of your commercial activities.

Registrant: A person or entity that is registered or is required to be registered for the GST/HST/PST. Generally, commercial activity over $30,000 in yearly sales requires registration. Registrants report the taxes you collect as well as the amounts that you paid. The amounts paid can be claimed back as a credit (ITC) or refund (ITR).

Is the import part of - or in the course of - your commercial activity?

“If the answer is yes, you can likely recover the tax.

Confirm this with your accountant. Many do not realize that they can actually claim back a significant portion of their import fees. For international businesses shipping to Canada, you should mention this possibility to your customer (if they are a business).

canada-tax-calcualtion-table


Low-Value Entry for shipments to Canada via express

Low-value shipments with a value under CA$3,300. Under CBSA regulations, low-value shipments can clear for delivery pending payment of duty/ taxes.

Canadian customs / CBSA assess duties and taxes on criteria that includes:

  • Product value
  • Trade agreements
  • Country of manufacture
  • Description and end use of the product
  • The product's Harmonized System (HS) code

Fees for Gifts importing to Canada

For eligible gifts to Canada with a value less than CAD$60 per shipment can import duty/ tax free. Shipments of gifts over CAD$60 is subject to duties and taxes. Identify each gift with a clear description. Include the work gift


international post to Canada Post graphic-3

Postal Imports to Canada: Less likely to collect import duty and taxes

Many prefer import via Canada Post. It seems they more often deliver without duty or tax. While a benefits to the buyer, the inconsistency creates confusion. A disadvantage of postal clearance is the lower duty free threshold. Postal shipments have a $20 threshold versus $150 for courier. See graphic above.

This "postal clearance advantage" is not an official policy but present nevertheless. The undervaluing of postal imports from Asia to below the de minimis threshold of $20 is not uncommon.


Consider the Shipping Terms When Sending to Canada

The default option for most carriers to Canada is "EXW. “ The receiver is responsible for import fees. If you wish to pay the import fees on behalf the Canadian receiver, choose a delivery duty paid option.

Read more about international shipping terms.


Non Tariff Trade Barriers to Canada

Beyond Import duty and taxes, there are other things to consider before shipping to Canada

  • Provincial licenses for selling direct to consumers.
  • Safe Foods for Canadians Act may apply for food items to Canada
  • Health Canada approvals for products
  • Declare the Country of Origin
  • Valuation is an important part of the declaration to the CBSA. Read more about value for duty and non-resident imports.
  • Bi-lingual labeling for goods for sale across Canada
Shipping Guide For Sending to Canada


Non-Resident Importer to Canada and entry for consolidations

Companies that regularly ship to Canada may consider becoming a non-resident importer. This has the advantage of clearing multiple shipments in one entry. An important point to consider is the Value for Duty for non-resident imports to Canada.


Read more about CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM)

If you are importing to Canada, it is important to become familiar with Canadian Customs online portal to streamline import processes.


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Get Canadian and North American Logistics Support

Jet Worldwide is a leading resource for shipping internationally for over 40 years. Get best in class logistics support from our team. Benefit from our network of global carriers, clearance experts, and regional specialists.


Managing Product Returns for Canadian Online Orders

Jet Worldwide assists international companies manage their Canadian returns. Gain the advantage of having a Canadian address to receive goods your behalf. Contact our Canadian logistics team for details.


Importing to Canada other countries

Jet Worldwide can help you send packages from virtually everywhere to Canada. Contact our team for information on importing to Canada. Fill in form below for an international shipping quote


Choosing the Best Shipping Options to Canada

Once you understand the import fees, the next step finding the best shipping options to Canada. Here are some common shipping options that you might consider:

  • Air freight: This is the fastest shipping option with door to door integrated solutions.
  • Ocean freight: Economical option for shipping large commercial orders
  • Road Freight: Truck load and less than truck load for palletized freight to Canada
  • Commercial carriers such as FedEx, DHL, UPS and their partners are popular options
  • Postal services: The best option for personal shipments

We are happy to help with your shipments to Canada. Please provide some more information about the type of goods, the volume of shipments, Any restrictions you aware of to take into account? Fill in form below and benefit from our world class customer support.


digital-signature-parcel-1920x620Shipping Guide For Sending to Canada

Additional Resources

USA vector imageShipping to Canada from the USA

jet-UKShipping from the UK to Canada

jet-franceShipping from France to Canada

jet-GermanyShipping form Germany to Canada

jet-australiaShipping from Australia to Canada

jet-a-chinaShipping from China to Canada

jet-mexicoShipping from Mexico to Canada

jet-taiwanShipping from Taiwan to Canada


Importing Personal Effects to Canada Duty Free

For the most part, personal effects can import to Canada duty free and tax free.

If only a small amount of personal effects to Canada, it is usually best to bring them with as the excess baggage fees. Airlines excess baggage fees are usually much less costly than shipping your personal goods separately. import clearance of accompanying baggage is much simpler. For larger household moves, best to contact a moving specialists.

Here are some notes on sending personal effects to Canada during a transfer of residence:

During a transfer of residence, duty and tax relief are available for most personal effects. Minimum requirements include: Copies of passport, a detailed list of contents with estimated value.

A link to the CBSA web page on importing personal effects to Canada :https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/mrc-drc-eng.html

  • Restricted items may not qualify for duty free import
  • Personal goods are generally over 1 year oldfor personal use only.
  • Goods must self clear by the importer of the goods themselves

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