To help with the many inquiries we get regarding shipping to Canada, we have written this blog to answer the most common questions we get from customers regarding shipping international packages to Canada. The e-commerce parcel flows to Canada are demanding increasing reverse logistics solutions from Canada.

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The majority of parcels shipped and imported to Canada are subject to duty,taxes and fees. While goods shipped from the USA and Mexico benefit from higher duty free thresholds (see below) they are also subject to regular import processes.

Canada has free trade agreements with most of the world's leading economies (including the UK/CUKTCA, European Union/ CETA and Japan-Asia Pacific /CPTPP) that can also minimize import fees.


jet-secure-ship-vector-2022-webIn this Guide to Import Fees to Canada, we explore the common fees for shipments to Canada.

  • Entry preparation (usually included 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
  • Managing Canada returns for Canadian online orders
  • Get a shipping quote shipping to and from Canada from everywhere!
  • Importing personal effects to Canada duty free
  • Shipping from the UK to Canada and from other countries
  • Shipping terms to Canada delivery duty paid or unpaid
  • Read our Complete Guide for Shipping to Canada

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Complete Shipping Guide To Canada

Disclaimer: The information in Jet Worldwide online content, including this post, is for general information only and is not intended to, constitute legal and/or tax advice. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided “as is”; no representations are made that the content is error-free.


Duty Free Threshold Shipping to Canada from the USA

As part of the USMCA (the "new NAFTA), Canada raised the low value duty threshold ( de minimis threshold) to $150 CAD (around $110 USD). Local sales taxes will still apply (but often times, businesses can claim this charge back).

Canada's higher duty free threshold helps businesses and e-commerce merchants in the United States ship to the Canadian market.

Read More: Questions and Answers regarding import fees for items shipped to Canada from the USA.USMCA-vector-image


Duty Free Threshold Shipping to Canada non USA origins

The default duty free threshold for imports to Canada is CA$20. Goods from countries that share a free trade agreement with Canada (Europe, UK, Korea, Japan, and most of the world's leading economies) may qualify for duty free entry under country of origin provisions.

READ-MORE-CANADA-FREE-TRADE-AGREEMENTSDe minimus refers to the maximum threshold below which no duty or tax is charged on imported items. U.S. companies shipping to Canada should be aware that Canada’s de minimus threshold is C$40 for taxes and C$150 for duties.


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Shipped from ≠ Country of Origin

Goods shipped from the USA or other country sharing a free trade agreement with Canada are not automatically granted duty free status. Items that qualify for duty free status under CUSMA/ USMCA, CETA, CPTPP, UKTCA, CKFTA or other free trade agreements must include qualifying certificate of origins.

Tariff information is provided by Canada for the HS2022 tariff regime.Canada’s Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff rates are generally applicable to imports from most countries. Duty free preferential import apply to goods imported to Canada that meet the rules of origin outlined in the relevant free trade agreement and accompanied by the necessary certification.

In most cases, the process of origin declarations are made easier via origin declarations on shipping documents versus having to produce a separate certificate of origin.


ECOMMERCE-CONVEYER- JETFAQ regarding import fees to Canada

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

Goods shipped from the USA to Canada can qualify for preferential duty free import if they are either below the duty free threshold of CA$150 or if the goods qualify as "US Origin" under USMCA /CUSMA.

See section above regarding Canada's free trade agreements.

What is the duty free threshold for goods imported to Canada?

The default duty free threshold to Canada is CA$20. Most goods are valued under CA$40 and shipped via courier from the USA or Mexico can be imported free of duty and taxes. Most goods valued under CA$150 shipped via courier from Mexico or USA can be imported duty free but are subject to federal and provincial taxes.

SAMPLE B-3 CANADIAN CUSTOMS FORM

US 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 the importer of record removes the burden of customs clearance from the Canadian customer and can facilitates the sale.

Get a comparison shipping rate to Canada.

Are Import Fee's less if imported via Canada Post?

Technically speaking, the same rules of import duty and taxes apply to postal imports.In practice, many report that Canada Post imports are have lower - and even no import fees. Canada Post charges recipients a handling fee of between $5 and $10 in addition to duty and taxes.

Postal shipments imported from China are often grossly under valued to benefit from the CA$20 duty free low value threshold.

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

Yes. If the goods being imported to Canada qualify under the country of origin rules, online orders can benefit from preferential duty free import. Contact Jet's Canadian logistics team for details.


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Certification of origin / COO process for parcels to Canada

All Canada's free trade agreements can benefit from a  simplified Certification of Origin/ COO for shipments valued under CA$3,300). In such cases, customs may accept a shorter certifying statement added to the commercial invoice (or any shipping document).


Basic rules for importing parcels to Canada

Goods imported to Canada valued over CA$20 are subject to duty and taxes. Consignments valued under CA$3,300 can be imported via Canada's low value system (LVS). Goods shipped via courier from the USA and Mexico benefit from a higher "duty free threshold" (see below).

When shipping internationally, it is important to understand the principles when declaring a value for customs.


Duty Free Thresholds for Canadian imports

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CANADA’S DEMINIMIS THRESHOLDS FOR IMPORTS BY COURIER

The de minimis rules apply based on the place from where the goods were shipped from not the country of origin (as to where the goods were made). Goods shipped from the United States or Mexico via courier benefit from higher duty free thresholds.

All goods that are trans-shipped via the United States or Mexico that do not enter the commerce of the United States or Mexico are not given the benefit of 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 imported by mail (USPS or Correos/ Mexican Post). Certain types of imported goods are excluded from the de minimis rules.

  • Goods entering Canada from the USA or Mexico by courier valued CA $40 or less: Customs duties, GST, HST and/or PST is waived.
  • Goods entering Canada from the United States or Mexico by courier valued between CA $40.01 and CA $150.00: Customs duties will not be payable but, GST, HST and/or PST is be payable.
  • Goods entering Canada from the USA or Mexico by courier valued over CA$150: Customs duties, goods and services tax (“GST”), harmonized sales tax (“HST”) and/or provincial sales tax (“PST”) are payable.

Duty Free Thresholds Shipping via USPS and Mexican Post to Canada

  • The postal rules apply and the CUSMA de minimis threshold do not apply for postal imports. Shipments by mail will be subject to the lower CA $20 threshold.

Default Duty Free Thresholds Shipping to Canada

  • Goods entering Canada from a country other than the U.S. and Mexico valued over CA$20 are subject to customs duties, GST, HST and/or PST.

Exceptions to Duty Free Thresholds Shipping to Canada

Certain types of imported goods are excluded from the de minimis rules and can include:

1. Customs duties, excise tax and GST/HST/PST will not be waived on alcohol, tobacco products, and cannabis.

2. Customs duties, excise tax and GST/HST/PST will not be waived on certain commercial transactions:

  • Imported goods that are purchased from a retailer in Canada and shipped to the purchaser directly from a place situated out of Canada;
  • Imported goods that are purchased or ordered through or from an address, a post office box or a telephone number in Canada; and
  • Goods that are imported by a person other than the person in Canada who ordered or purchased the goods.
3. Orders cannot be broken down in order to "game the system." The declared value of the import must reflect all the items ordered by the customer.

Common Canadian Import Fees

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

Duty: Items that do not otherwise qualify for preferential duty free import are assessed duty.
Tax: Consignments imported to Canada are subject to both federal and provincial sales tax.
Entry preparation fee: This fee is included for most shipments sent via express courier to Canada but consignments that require non-standard entries may be subject to additional preparation fees.
Disbursement Fee: When duty and taxes are assessed, 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.

North American Trucking  Cross Border  LTL / Trucking Quote


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Canadian Duty Rates for international imports

Similar to all major economies that adhere to WTO rules, Canada bases their duty primarily 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%.

As mentioned above: The Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff rates of Canada are generally applicable for imports to Canada that do not otherwise meet the rules of origin (under CUSMA, CPTPP, CETA, CUKTCA or other free trade agreement)

Shipped from USA ≠ Country of Origin USA

A common misperception is that, with USMCA, all goods shipped from the USA to Canada can be entered duty free. For the USMCA/CUSMA (and all other trade agreements), the country of origin refers to where the goods are manufactured, grown, or raised.

For example, goods sold by a US seller that were made in China cannot be imported to Canada duty free under the USMCA/CUSMA country of origin rules.

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Carriers "Customs Preparation Fee" to Canada

A customs entry must be made for every parcel imported to Canada. Most express and postal shipments include the “Customs Entry Preparation Fee" for standard customs entries.

Customs Preparation Fee for Ground Shipments from the USA

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

For shipments sent via FedEx and UPS Ground to Canada, the Customs Preparation fee is not included. For high volume shippers, this fee can be negotiated.Most carriers  base the entry preparation fee on the “value for duty” of the consignment.

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Shipments sent via express air usually include entry preparation fees. Get a low cost shipping quote to Canada.


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Disbursement Fee by Canadian Carriers

Even when entry preparation fee is included, carriers charge a fee to cover their cost of advancing the duty cost on behalf of the receiver. The costs are calculated as a percentage of the duty and taxes paid (usually around 2.5% of the value) with a minimum fee that averages around $15 CAD.

Processing Fee for Imports to Canada

In addition to the disbursement fee, carriers charge a fee for having to get payment from importers who do not have an account with the carrier who paid the import fees on their behalf . The “processing fee” is around $5 to $6 and is applied regardless of whether the shipment was sent ground or air.

"Entry preparation" for parcels sent express is most often included in the cost of shipping. Shipments above $3,300 or otherwise requiring additional processes or approvals (such as alcohol) are subject to additional fees
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Beyond Duty: Sales Tax is a major component of import fees

The Canadian sales taxes are the Provincial Sales Tax (PST), the Quebec Sales Tax (QST), the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) which is a combination of the PST and the GST in some provinces.

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. Unless specifically exempted, you must pay the 5% GST on items you import into Canada by mail. The CBSA calculates any duties owing based on the value of the goods in Canadian funds. The duty rates vary according to the type of goods you are importing and the country from which they came or were made in. Depending on the goods or their value, some other taxes may apply, such as excise duty or excise tax on luxury items.

  • GST: 5% Federal Sales Tax of Canada and applies to virtually all goods imported 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%

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CUSTOMS-DOUNE-GRAPHIC

Low-Value Entry for shipments imported to Canada via express

Low-value shipments are valued under CA$3,300. Under CBSA regulations, low-value shipments can be “provisionally released” for delivery pending payment of duty/ taxes and - if required - a formal entry.

Canadian customs / CBSA assess duties and taxes based 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 sent to Canada

For eligible gifts imported into Canada valued less than CAD$60 or less per shipment can be imported duty/ tax free. Shipments of gifts over CAD$60 is subject to duties and taxes on the amount over $60 (for example, a qualifying gift of $200 would be subject to duty/ taxes based on a value of $200-$60 or $140).


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

Due to the sheer volume and postal import processes, many prefer shipments sent via Canada Post as it seems they are more often delivered without duty or taxes. While this is a windfall for the buyer, the inconsistency cause a misunderstanding of the import regulations. Counter to the postal clearance advantage is a a lower duty free threshold for postal shipments ($20 versus $40/ $150). See graphic above.

This "postal clearance advantage" is generally accepted as a fact but not part of official policy. There are efforts to correct the discrepancy of postal clearance advantages (versus commercial import) but the undervaluing of postal imports (below the de minimis threshold of $20) seems commonplace.


Consider the Shipping Terms When Sending to Canada

The default option for most carriers to Canada is "EXW" or delivery duty unpaid. If you wish to pay the import fees on behalf the Canadian receiver, you should choose a delivery duty paid option.  Read more about international shipping terms.


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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 which is designed to streamline 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  via our network of global carriers, clearance experts, and regional specialists. CONTACT JET


Managing Product Returns for Canadian Online Orders

Jet Worldwide assists international companies manage their Canadian returns via a Canada address and simplified low cost processing. 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.Get an import shipping quote to Canada.

air-freight-being loadedRead more about importing goods to Canada

Shipping from the UK to Canada

Shipping from France to Canada

Shipping form Germany to Canada

Shipping from Australia to Canada

Shipping from China to Canada

Shipping from Mexico to Canada

Shipping from Taiwan to Canada

Contact Jet for information on international shipping and import to Canada


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Importing Personal Effects to Canada Duty Free

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

If you are only bring 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 and import clearance of accompanied 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 meant as being used, over 1 year old, and for personal use only.
  • Goods must be self cleared by the importer of the goods themselves

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Contact Jet Worldwide Logistics Team

Jet Worldwide is proud to have become a leading online resource for international shipping and help business  of all sizes go global. However, please note that all our online posts are for general information only.

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Written by Timothy Byrnes