Ship Smarter to Canada and North America

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Things to know when importing to Canada

Canada economy and culture is 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 and many use Canada as a base camp for their North American operations which benefit from free trade and  well developed truck,  rail cross border processes.


Shipping to Canada

Companies want to find better ways to connect with theirCanadian customers and suppliers. 

In this post, we review the major issues to consider when shipping to Canada including:

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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.  Producers, shippers, exporters, importers should confirm their processes with their customs brokers, carriers and regulating authorities. 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.

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Shipping Small Packages and Personal Items to Canada

For many small businesses and individuals shipping small parcels and personal items, the best option is usually via the local post.  However, it is important – especially for growing businesses – to understand the import processes in order to find ways to minimize costs and streamline logistics processes.

All shipments to Canada must clear Canadian Customs. Individual orders from online suppliers are often imported on the importer’s behalf using the Canadian Border Services Agency’s Courier Low-Value System (LVS) system. The LVS processes allow for goods to be conditionally released 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.

If you are a foreign company wishing to ship to Canada, you may be able to integrate the import process into your regular shipping by registering as a "foreign importer of record". In doing so, you can more easily ship goods in bulk to your Canada customers.


Shipping  direct to Canadian customers

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

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International Companies seeking access to the North America

Canada represents a great opportunity for companies seeking access to over 35 million consumers and nearly $2 trillion economy.   Canada also 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 ecommerce support includes reverse logistics, Canadian address receiving, and shipping to the USA via Canada cross border section 321.


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jet-logo-word-blue-vectorCarrier Options for Shipping to Canada

As it is in all shipping, the “what” determines the “how”. At Jet Worldwide, our specialty is the import of individual orders shipped via air parcels or pallets by companies of all sizes; large companies that need processes to complement their logistics and small companies who need innovative solutions.

The global options for International shipping to Canada include:

  • Parcel Post: This is the best option for individuals shipping small parcels and personal items to Canada. Importing to Canada via the postal service is often less subject to oversight and fees. However postal clearances have been delayed due to high volumes and enforcement related to increased security, intellectual property protection and payment of duty and taxes.  
  • 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: When shipping large commodities and ocean containers, freight forwarders and "third party logistics" (3PL) providers are often the best option. Read more about LTL shipping between USA and Canada.
  • Specialized Carriers and Resellers: Jet Worldwide has the global and regional partnerships as well as the international expertise, to assist you with low cost solutions for your specialized imports and distribution services. 
  • Customs Brokers: Customs brokers are licensed by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and are allowed to submit an entry on behalf of an importer who grants them that authority. Brokers can be particularly useful for higher value shipments and complex entries. It is important to note that companies do not have to use a customs broker.

Often international suppliers have preferred shipping options that can be bundled with the order. Alternatively, Canadian companies often are responsible for arranging for transport or prefer at least to get a comparison quote.

Regardless of the carrier or method of transport or carrier, the receiver of the goods are responsible for the proper import declaration and payment of duty and taxes.

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Describing Your Items and valued declaration for Import to Canada

It’s useful to research the items you are purchasing and understand the relevant data points for import, including the item’s:

  • Product Description and; HS Code: Canada adheres to the globally recognized Harmonized Tariff System which manages the widely used Harmonized Tariff System Code. An item’s HS Code determines its duty, admissibility, and whether or not it should be physically examined.


  • Country of Origin: Depending on the country where the goods were manufactured, they may qualify for preferential duty free import to Canada under one of Canada's many Free Trade Agreements.
  • Export Requirements: Even though export requirements are the responsibility of the international seller or shipper, it is useful to understand that some goods shipped to Canada may be subject to export requirements.
  • Valuation: More often than not, when you are asked for the value of the goods you are shipping, you’re being asked for the item’s Transaction Value or Declared Value. Meaning, the actual cost of the item. The declared value to Canada customs is most often 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.


CUSTOMS-DOUNE-GRAPHICUnderstanding Canadian Import Fees 

Canadian duty is assessed primarily 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 below).

In most cases, items ordered to Canada are sold Delivery Duty Unpaid (or DDU*). The Canadian buyer is responsible for payment of import fees even if shipping is included. 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 if further explanation is needed.


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Low Value Duty Free Threshold to Canada

In general, the duty free threshold to Canada is CA$20 but it can be higher for goods shipped from the USA and Mexico (thanks to USMCA/ CUSMA free trade provisions ).  The actual amount varies according to from where the goods are sent and method of shipping.  Goods shipped via parcel carrier from the USA and Mexico benefit from higher duty free thresholds.  

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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.

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Shipping to Canada from the USA and Mexico

Due to the sheer volume of trade, the North American Free Trade Agreement (USMCA/ CUSMA) between Canada, the USA and Mexico works a little differently. Much of the trade that happens between the three countries is large commodity trade via truck and rail under the specific rules and guidelines of the New NAFTA (also known as the USMCA/CUSMA/T-MEC). The proximity between them enables low-cost ground shipping, allowing shippers to choose between Parcel Post and Global Carriers.

USMCA-vector-image About Free Trade to Canada via USMCA/ CUSMA

dpd-truck-fleet-europeGet an LTL shipping Rate to Canada from the USA:  Contact Jet's Logistics Team

Read about shipping via Truck Great an LTL / Trucking Quote

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Shipping to the USA via Canada

Canada shares proximity, strong economic and social ties to the USA.  Shipping to the USA via Canada takes available airlift to Canada where goods can then be transited in bond directly across the border.  Goods can also be cleared in Canada and then forwarded on demand taking advantage of the USMCA/ CUSMA free trade provisions.

Canada-USA-ecommerce-Jet-cross-borderShip to the USA

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Shipping to Canada from the Rest of the World

As international e-commerce has grown, so has the demand for shipping to Canada from the rest of the world. Canada's largest trading partners beyond the US and Mexico include: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, the UK and Australia.

The key to advantage to Canada's newest trade agreements includes easier declaration of origins that can be included on shipping paperwork rather than requiring a separate certificate.  The processes for benefiting from preferential duty free access for lower value goods is even simpler (see next section).

Fortunately, Canada has Free Trade Agreements with most of world's leading economies:

  • Germany, France, Italy and European Union countries: CETA
  • Japan, Australia, Singapore and other Asia Pacific Countries: CPTPP
  • South Korea: CKFTA
  • Individual Trade Agreements with many other countries


Importing to Canada has never been easier. Online e-commerce technologies and ever evolving Free Trade Agreements are connecting suppliers and customers across borders. Jet Worldwide is proud to continue our mission of connecting people, parcels and businesses around the world.


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Taking Advantage of Duty Free Import to Canada

Simplified duty free import for consignments under CA $3,300

For consignments valued under CA $3,300 that qualify for duty free import to Canada under one of Canada's free trade agreements, the requirement for proof of origin is waived.

jet-country-of-origin-graphicThe requirements on the importer to maintain records still applies even if a certification of origin or if a requirement for a certification of origin has been waived.

For more information, refer to Customs Notice 20-15: Increase to the Low Value Shipment (LVS) Threshold and Simplification to the Proof of Origin Requirements for Goods Imported into Canada.

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Ecommerce 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 to where the goods can be sent to for full logistics support including restocking, product kitting, repacking and reconditioning.

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


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jet-secure-ship-vectorShipping to Canada via Jet Worldwide

  • Jet Worldwide is a trusted brand that has been providing international shipping solutions for over 35 years.
  • Jet Worldwide provides options for shipping between the world and Canada for parcels, pallets, LTA, Freight  and online orders.
  • Jet Worldwide offers transparency and world class logistics support.  We are not shy about recommending alternative solutions as necessary. Contact Jet's Logistics Team.

jet-secure-ship-vectorInformation needed for an international shipping quote to Canada

Jet Worldwide gives access to all companies seeking shipping quotes to Canada for parcels pallets, and online orders.   For a quote, please provide:

  • Your company name and contact details
  • Ship from Address
  • Ship To Address
  • Weight and dimensions of each piece
  • Item(s) being sent
  • Value

Ask Jet's Team:  For a quote for shipping online orders, regular volumes and logistics support; provide details including shipping volume, item(s) being shipped, average value and weight of each parcel.  The more details the better :).  

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Reminder: We work hard at presenting the best information possible and have become a leading online resource for international shipping to and from Canada.   However, it important to note that the information in all Jet Worldwide blogs and postings are for general information only and  provided “as is”; no representations are made that the content is error-free.

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