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Canadian Customs Clearance Procedures

1. Reporting

At their time of arrival, all shipments entering Canada must be reported to Canada Customs. In most cases, the contracted carrier reports the shipment to Canada Customs at the point of entry. This is done either electronically or by submitting a carrier document called a Cargo Control Document (also known as a waybill, manifest or advise notice). The carrier hands over the Cargo Control Document to the customs broker. This arranges for the release and account for your shipments.

2. Releasing Goods

Your customs broker is licensed by Canada Customs and acts on your behalf to handle customs related details. The first step is to process the release of your goods through Canada Customs-in most cases electronically, but sometimes manually depending on the carrier method of reporting.
Depending on the carrier there are a number of different release procedures that take place. Your customs broker works with the carrier and Customs to ensure the quick and seamless release of your goods. The Canada Customs invoice, or the commercial invoice prepared by the exporter or shipper, is used to support the release process.
Some goods are subject to the requirements of other government departments and may require permits (i.e.: textiles, clothing, steel products, poultry, some meat products, controlled drugs). Customs administers these requirements at the time of import. Your broker will work with you to ensure that the proper permits are in place.

3. Examinations

Customs randomly examines selected shipments to verify compliance. The frequency of examination depends on the compliance records of both the importer and exporter and the type of goods being imported. Insufficient or incomplete documentation may delay the clearance of goods or result in examination.

4. Accounting for Duties and/or Taxes

Your customs broker submits a final accounting package to Canada Customs to pay the appropriate duties and/or taxes. This is done once the shipment details are reviewed for compliance. The broker, on your behalf, pays the proper amount of duties and/or taxes to Canada customs. If there are any compliance related issues, your customs broker will work with you and your supplier to resolve these issues.

For products that qualify under the terms of NAFTA, a properly completed NAFTA Certificate of Origin must be on file at the time of accounting. This enables you to take advantage of the preferred duty free status of qualifying goods.

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