Ship Smarter to Canada and North America

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Things to know when shipping US to Canada

Canada economy and culture is built on international connections. With over 35 million people, Canada is among the world's largest economies. For many American companies, Canada serves as a supplement for their North American operations with duty free access and efficient cross border access via truck and rail.


Shipping to Canada from the USA

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All shipments from the USA to Canada are subject to standard import processes but benefit the North American free trade agreement USMCA/ CUSMA. The free trade agreement provides for a higher duty free threshold (as high as CA$150) and preferential duty free import for US origin goods. Jet Worldwide provides shipping options for parcels, pallets LTL to Canada and online orders.

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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. 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.


Shipping to Canada from the USA

American companies want to find better ways to connect with their Canadian suppliers and customers directly.

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

  • Individuals Shipping to Friends and Relatives in Canada
  • American Companies seeking access to the Canadian market
  • Common import fees including customs duty, taxes and carrier disbursement
  • Low value duty free threshold to Canada
  • Duty free import from the USA and Mexico via the USMCA/CUSMA/ T-Mec
  • Shipping to the USA via Canada cross border access
  • Duty free import via the many other Canadian free trade agreements
  • Simplified duty free import for consignments valued under CA $3,300
  • Information needed for a shipping quote to Canada
  • Additional resources for shipping to Canada

Navigation tip: Each section / bullet point above has an in-page link to the section referenced. At the end of each section is a link back to here:∆ top of the page.


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Shipping Small Packages and Personal Items to Canada

For individuals shipping small parcels and personal items, the best options are simply via USPS. However, it is important – especially for growing businesses – to understand the import process to Canada in order streamline processes and reduce costs.

USPS canada PostEven with the US Canada free trade agreement, 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

If you are an American 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.

Read more about Canadian Import Fees

If goods are shipped direct to consumers, the consumer will be the importer of record. If a company is selling and importing the goods, they will be the importer of record. Being the importer of record includes having to obtain an importer number.

Other things to consider when shipping to Canada include:

  • Provincial licenses that may be required when selling direct to consumers. 
  • Health Canada approvals for products
  • Safe Foods for Canadians Act may apply for food items shipped to Canada
  • Goods and Services Tax, Harmonized Sales Tax and provincial taxes 
  • Tariff classification for all imports (read more about HS Codes)
  • Country of Origin must be declared for all imports. 
  • 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.

Best Options for Economical Shipping to Canada

The price of the shipping depends mainly on the dimensions of the package, its weight, and the delivery method you choose.

  • USPS is usually the best option for individuals shipping personal items to Canada.
  • The next place it start is the the major carriers themselves including FedEx and UPS. While their pricing for air is expensive, their ground shipping to Canada works great.
  • It is important to note that FedEx and UPS ground charge for entry preparation for import to Canada. Their air express services include customs entry preparation to import to Canada.
  • Finally Get the lowest shipping quote from Jet.

No matter who you ship with, it is important to understand the import process in order to find ways to minimize costs and delays.


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Shipping to Canadian customers directly from the USA

Canadian businesses are increasingly looking for import shipping solutions to Canada when ordering direct from international suppliers. In our experience, we find that the best suppliers are often best suited to provide the best shipping solutions. Jet provides assistance to American companies with best in class local Canadian logistics professionals.

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American Companies seeking access to the Canadian market

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 American 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-secure-ship-vectorCarrier Options for Shipping to Canada from the USA

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:

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  • USPS 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). Contact Jet Worldwide for information on shipping to Canada from the USA.
TRUCKS AT REST LTL North America
  • Freight Forwarders: When shipping large commodities and ocean containers, freight forwarders and "third party logistics" (3PL) providers are often the best option. Get an LTL rate from Jet Worldwide.
  • 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 and Canadian logistics support.
  • 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.

Read More About HS Codes

Read More Customs Invoice Explained

  • 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.
  • An important example of export requirements, is the shipping of personal protective equipment (or PPE) from China, like masks, gloves and gowns. In an effort to ensure the quality of these goods, the Chinese government has imposed specific export processes that can cause significant delays and costs.
  • 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.

Read More About Methods of Valuation

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Understanding Canadian Import Fees

Shipments between Canada and the United States are generally subject to “most favoured nation” / MFN rate of duty. Goods that qualify as originating from the USA or Mexico under rules of origin of the USMCA/ CUSMA/T-MEC free trade agreement can qualify for preferential duty free import. MFN duty rates apply to non-originating goods imported to Canada.

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.

 

Read More About International Shipping Terms

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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- see graphic below ). 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.

Read more about Canadian Import Fees

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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

Due to the sheer volume of trade, the North American Free Trade Agreement (USMCA/ CUSMA) between Canada, the USA works a little differently. Much of the trade that happens between the three countries is large commodity trade via truck (read about LTL shipping to Canada)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.

Shipments from the USA benefit from higher duty free thresholds (see graphic below).

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North American Trucking Cross Border 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. Understanding section 321 duty free import to the USA.

Ship 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.

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

Read More About Canadian Free Trade Agreements

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

Simplifed 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. This is a huge benefit for US origin goods shipped to Canada.

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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E-commerce to Canada Managing Canadian Returns

American 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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Read More About Shipping E-commerce Orders From Canada

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jet-secure-ship-vectorShipping to Canada from the USA 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 USA and Canada for parcels, LTL pallets 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-logo-vectorInformation needed for a shipping quote to Canada

Jet Worldwide gives access to all companies seeking shipping quotes to Canada for parcels pallets, and online orders.

Ask Jet Worldwide: 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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