Ship Smarter to Canada and North America

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Global Guide for Shipping to Canada

Shipping Guide to Canada

Canada economy and culture built on international connections with both Canadian and international companies seeking to ship direct to Canada and North America . International companies seek access to the Canadian market. Companies can use Canada as a base camp for their North American operations. Benefit from this Complete International Shipping Guide to Canada.

Need information shipping from Canada? Read our Guide for Shipping FROM Canada.

Shipping to Canada: The Basics

There are several options shipping to Canada. Yet, with so many choices comes the potential for confusion. Let’s start with the most common options.

  • Postal service
  • Courier services
  • Freight forwarder
To ship to Canada, you will need to include a Commercial Invoice: This document lists the details of the goods. The details must include the value, quantity, and description. Check with Canadian customs authorities to make sure that the goods are acceptable into Canada. Some goods, such as certain types of food, are restricted or require special permits.

Jet Worldwide's Canadian team has compiled this Complete Shipping Guide to Canada to help you import goods to Canada.

International Import Guide Content
  • Individuals Shipping to Friends and Relatives in Canada
  • Companies seeking access to the Canadian market
  • Common import fees including customs duty, taxes and carrier disbursement
  • Benefit from Canada's Free Trade Agreements
  • Low value duty free threshold to Canada
  • Get a shipping quote to and from Canada

Disclaimer: The information in Jet Worldwide online content, including this post, is for general information.


Best Options for Economical Shipping to Canada

The price of the shipping depends on the dimensions of the package, its weight, and the delivery method you choose. No matter who you ship with, it is important to understand the Canadian import process.

All shipments to Canada must clear Canadian Customs. Individual orders from online suppliers imported on the receivers behalf using the Canadian Border Services Agency’s Courier Low-Value System (LVS) system. The LVS processes allow for conditional release for delivery prior to final processing and payment of import fees. Most parcels shipped via courier valued under CA$3300 are eligible for LVS clearance.

Canadian Foreign Importer of Record

Foreign companies wishing sending into Canada can integrate the import process by registering as a "foreign importer of record". In this way, you can ship goods in bulk to your Canada customers.

Shipping direct to Canadian customers

Global businesses are looking for import shipping solutions to Canada. Jet provides assistance to international companies with both Canadian and American logistics solutions.

If sent direct to consumers, the consumer will be the importer of record. A company receiving the consignment are the importer of record. Being the importer of record includes having to obtain an importer number.

Is There Anything I Can’t Ship to Canada?

Yes. All imports to Canada are subject to both prohibitions and restrictions. Prohibited items include goods such as alcohol, furs, ammunition, and collectible coins, among other things. Restricted goods include alcohol, drugs and medicines in compliance with Canadian law.

What are the challenges of shipping to Canada?

High imports costs combined with the complexity of import to Canada can seem daunting. For starters, Canada has a low duty free threshold versus the USA, Europe and the UK. Furthermore, ground shipments are subject to entry preparation fees. Express couriers also charge a disbursement fee. Package shipping to Canada can get expensive really fast.

Other things to consider when shipping to Canada include:

  • Provincial licenses for selling direct to consumers.
  • Safe Foods for Canadians Act may apply for food items shipped to Canada
  • Goods and Services Tax, Harmonized Sales Tax and provincial taxes (read about Canadian import fees)
  • Health Canada approvals for products
  • Tariff classification for all imports (read more about HS Codes)
  • Declare the Country of Origin
  • Valuation is an important part of the declaration to the CBSA (read more about valuation).
  • Labeling for goods to Canada may require both French and English.

Shipping to Canada from the U.S.

The US Canada's biggest trading partner. In this guide to shipping from the US and globally to Canada, you’ll learn about the delivery options, rules, transit times and services that can help you expand your business into Canada and start selling internationally.

Shipping to Canada: Local Post vs. FedEx, DHL, UPS

Local post, UPS, FedEx and DHL are all great options for shipping to Canada. Below we break down the price and transit times for these carriers when shipping a package to Canada.

  • Most International Postal Services have low cost "packet" options for shipments under 4 kilograms

What Will It Cost to Ship My Packages to Canada?

Shipping costs vary based on the delivery service, weight, dimensions and other factors. Beyond shipping costs, duties, taxes, tariffs, and other fees must be paid on most goods imported into Canada, with a few exceptions.

* Note: Costs are representative costs only. Actual costs will vary based on carrier, discount, fuel surcharge, and service options. The estimates represent a significant discount from carriers published rates.  Read more about chargeable weight.

Companies seeking access to the USA via Canada

Canada represents a great opportunity for companies seeking access to over 35 million consumers and $2 trillion economy. Read more about Section 321 import to the USA.

Canada represents a great way to access the USA with the largest free trade border in the world. Jet Worldwide helps companies access Canada, the USA and North America via innovative logistics processes for parcels, pallets and online orders. Jet's e-commerce support includes reverse logistics, Canadian address receiving, and shipping globally.

Benefit from Canada's Free Trade Agreements

Canada has free trade agreements with the world's leading economies.   Read more about Canada's free trade agreements. 

Canada's Free Trade agreements include:

  • USA and Mexico (USMCA-CUSMA-TMec),
  • European Union (CETA)
  • The UK (CUKTCA),
  • Japan, Australia, New Zealand (CPTPP),
  • Korea, Israel, Colombia and others

Benefit from a certificate of origin shipping to Canada.

Carrier Options for Global Shipping to Canada

As it is in all shipping, the “what” determines the “how”. At Jet Worldwide, our specialty is Canadian logistics support.

The global options for International shipping to Canada include:

  • Parcel Post: Parcel packet options are best for individuals shipping parcels under 2 kg and personal items to Canada. Some view Importing via Canada Post as subject to less oversight and fees.
  • Global Carriers: FedEx, UPS and DHL are global brands that offer international air shipping to Canada with integrated pickup, delivery and clearance. Their capacity is available via shipping with these carriers direct or via their partners (see below).
  • Freight Forwarders: Shipping large commodities and ocean containers, freight forwarders and "third party logistics" (3PL) providers are a good option. 
  • Specialized Carriers and Resellers: Jet Worldwide has longstanding global and regional partnerships. This, along with international expertise to assist with import and distribution.

International suppliers can have preferred shipping options included with the order. Other times, Canadian companies are responsible for arranging for transport or prefer at least to get a comparison shipping quote.

Regardless of the carrier or method of transport, the receiver of the goods is the importer. And the importer is responsible for the proper declarations and payment of duty and taxes.

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Canadian Customs Clearance and Paperwork

All parcels need to be cleared by the country’s Customs and Canada is no exception. It does have quite a few regulations around guaranteeing public safety, especially around imported goods.

Shipping from the United States to Canada

In addition to a bill of lading, commercial invoice, and applicable import and export licenses, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) requires shipments from the United States to include a Canada Customs Invoice (CCI).

Describing Your Items and value declaration for Canada Import 

Read More: Understanding import duty

Product Description and HS Code

Canada adheres to the global Harmonized Tariff System which manages the widely used Harmonized Tariff System Code. An item’s HS Code determines its duty, admissibility, and require an examination. Read More About HS Codes.

Declaring the Country of Origin

Depending on the country of manufacture, goods may qualify for preferential duty free import to Canada. Canada's has Free Trade Agreements with most of the world's leading economies. Useful information: Difference between from where goods are sent and their country of origin.

Understand Export Requirements before shipping to Canada

Export requirements are the responsibility of the shipper. It is useful to understand that some goods shipped to Canada may be subject to export requirements.

Valuation what value to declare

Most often, the value of the goods you are shipping is the Transaction Value. Meaning, the actual cost of the item. The declared value to Canada customs is commonly the Transaction Value - or the price paid. The valuation can become less clear when, for example, a supplier is shipping you free samples or warranty parts. In this case, it’s best to use the value of similar items, as a zero dollar value won’t be accepted at customs. Read More About Methods of Valuation

Canada Customs Invoices (CCIs) for commercial shipments

Manifests or Cargo Control Documents (CCDs), which are sometimes required if you’ll be shipping more than one package at a time . Read More: Verify your Invoice for Customs

Using a Canadian Customs Broker

Although customs entry preparation customs clearance can be included, importers often choose to use their own customs brokers. Read more about Canadian customs brokers.

Using a Canadian Freight Forwarder

For large volumes and shipping containers, importers often consider using a freight forwarders. They provide both ocean transit and inland transportation. Many are associated with customs brokers for a more seamless process. Read more about Canadian Freight Forwarders.

Factoring in Canadian taxes and customs duty

Even with free trade agreements, duty and customs rules apply when forwarding packages to Canada.Take note to notify your customers that custom taxes may be placed on their items and that it is not the sellers responsibility to pay these fees (unless you offer DDP shipping). Confirm your understanding of Canadian Import Fees.

Canadian duty assessment is on the item’s HS Code, Country of Origin and Valuation. Goods may qualify for preferential duty free import via one of Canada's many free trade agreements (see section above).

Understanding the Shipping Terms to Canada

In most cases, items imported to Canada are sold Delivery Duty Unpaid (or DDU*). The Canadian buyer is responsible for payment of import fees. Prepaid shipping does not include prepaid duty. International shippers who send, for example, samples or warranty parts to Canada may want to consider shipping their goods Delivery Duty Paid (or DDP*).

*DDU and DDP are terms known as Incoterms®., a registered trademark of the International Chamber of Commerce / ICC. It is useful to at least understand the existence of Incoterms and visit ICC’s website for further explanation. Verify the Correct International Shipping Terms.

Low Value Duty Free Threshold to Canada

In general, the duty free threshold to Canada is CA$20. It can be higher for goods shipped from the USA and Mexico. This is thanks to the CUSMA free trade agreement. Read more about low value thresholds and Canadian import fees.

Canada's Low Value Shipment program

The Canada Low Value Shipment (LVS) program is a customs program that allows for the streamlined processing of low value shipments imported into Canada. The program applies to shipments valued at CAD$3,300 or less, including all duties, taxes, and other charges.

The LVS program is designed to make it easier for importers to bring low value shipments into Canada. Express processing and while ensuring payment of duties and taxes. It is intended to reduce the administrative burden on importers and help to facilitate trade with Canada. Read more: Confirm the correct declared value shipments to Canada.

Under the Canada LVS program, importers are required to provide a summary declaration. This includes information about the importer, the supplier, and the goods being imported. The summary declaration must submit through the Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA) Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system.

CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management System

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) facilitates the importation of goods to Canada. CARS streamlines the payment of duty, application of HS codes and entire import process for commercial goods. Read more about CARM.

Foreign companies becoming a Canadian Importer or Record

Canada’s non-resident importer program enables foreign companies 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.

E-commerce to Canada Managing Canadian Returns

International companies shipping to Canada need a solution to manage returns. This can be as simple as having a Canadian address.

Manage your Amazon Canada Removal Orders: Jet can receive, store, consolidate, ship or dispose of your Canadian Amazon returns.

Have your returns received for consolidation and return. In addition, we can provide product kitting, repacking and reconditioning.

Jet Worldwide provides shipping solutions to the USA via Canada. Contact our team for details.

Shipping Globally to Canada via Jet Worldwide

Jet Worldwide is a trusted brand that has been providing international shipping solutions for over 40 years.

  • Jet Worldwide provides options for shipping between the world and Canada for parcels, pallets, Freight and online orders.
  • E-commerce logistics support 
  • LTL Shipping options from USA to Canada
  • Jet Worldwide offers transparency and world class logistics support.

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