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How to Import in Canada

Do you want to scale up your business by importing inexpensive and quality goods? Do you want to increase your supply chain to foreign countries to gain competitive advantage? But, it is really important to know the import process before you proceed. Because, there are a lot of complications and technicalities in the process.

Below is the 6 step guide describing the import process in Canada.


Before Exporting

Preparing for Import

This is the very first stage of import. In the preparation process, you need to ensure following points:

  1. Obtain a Business number: you need to obtain a business number from Canada Revenue Agency for import/export account. This is free of cost.
  2. Identify the goods: This is the stage of gathering information about goods being imported to Canada. Every information ranging from raw material to production and then packaging has to be gathered.
  3. Determine whether you need the services of a licensed customs Broker: It is important because there many legal issues involved in the process. Most of the time businesses persons or investors are unaware of those legal requirements. So, a licensed broker can be beneficial in that case.
  4. Determine the country of origin: it is important in tariff calculations.
  5. Determine whether the goods you intend to import are subject to any restriction, ban, or require permit.

Classify your Goods

Second step involves the classification of goods being imported. There is a tariff classification number for every good being important. You need to identify the number for your good. It will help you to pay the right amount of duties and taxes.

Determine Duties and Taxes

There are 3 things to be considered at this stage:

  1. Determine applicable tariff treatment: There are two columns in the custom tariff schedule; Most-Favoured–Nation tariffs and Applicable Preferential Tariffs. You need to identify your column.
  2. Determine whether your goods are subject to GST, excise duty, or excise tax.
  3. Estimate the overall taxes and duties you will pay.



Shipping and Reporting your Goods

This is a practical stage where you will actually be involved in the import of goods. There two things you need to understand at this stage:

  1. Place the order and determine shipping method: You need to place your order to the vendor or exporter and then select a suitable method to ship your products. You need to be careful of; shipping cost, time taken, quality of services while deciding about shipping methods.
  2. Reporting the Goods: Reporting of the goods about their arrival and their total value to the concerned authorities of Canada is essential to keep the import process going smooth. 


After Importing

Getting the Goods Released

This is the stage where accounting and clearance takes place. You may hire a licensed broker for the process as well. You can release two methods to release the goods;

  1. Full accounting and payment of duties before the goods are released: You need to fill Canada custom Coding Form for the accounting process and provide necessary documents to CBSA. Then pay all the accounted duties and taxes by cash, debit card or cheque
  2. Releasing goods prior to payments of duties: You can release your goods prior to payment of duties and taxes by seeking permission from CBSA and submitting security against those payments.

Final Stage

After you have released your goods, you need to take care of following things. Because, there may be problem for in future:

  • Revisit your accounting documents and adjust the errors.
  • Keep all the records save for at least the period of six months.
  • Be prepared that your imports may be verified by the Canada Border Security Agency any time.


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