A Guide on Shipping to Canada

As the second largest country in the world, shipping to Canada has become a popular shipping destination for both individuals and businesses – luckily, shipping there isn’t a mammoth task. This a guide to help you navigate exactly what, how and if you can ship your parcel to Canada.

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Canadian Customs Clearance and Paperwork

All parcels being shipped internationally will need to be cleared by the destination country’s Customs, and Canada is no exception. Aside from documents, which are exempt from Customs clearance, duties and tax, you will need to declare what goods are contained in your parcel.

You do this completing your automatically provided Customs Invoice. Ensure that you fill each section honestly and clearly, with as much as detail as possible – mistakes can lead to delays and additional fees. For example, a shipment of child’s clothing is better described as ‘Clothing – t-shirt for boy aged six to twelve,’ rather than simply as ‘Clothing’.

Declaring the value of your goods is also very important as the local authorities will need to calculate how much tax and duty needs to be applied to it. Anything worth over $20 CAD will be subject to tax and duty, anything below it, won’t. The Goods and Service Tax (GST) is set at 5%, which is automatically applied to any import valued more than $20 CAD.

In British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec or Saskatchewan a Provincial Sales Tax (PST) may also be applied. This differs depending on delivery destination. If you are shipping books Canadian customs may require the tittles of the book before they are cleared – if your shipment needs to be delivered as soon as possible, then it is best to provide these details with your customs paperwork.

In some cases, an import license is required to import your goods into Canada. This entirely depends on the type of product you are importing as well as the reason for import. Canadian Customs will contact the recipient of the goods to provide the license, before it can be cleared.

Restricted & Prohibited Items: Canada

We always recommend customers to first check the recipient countries prohibited and restricted items list before booking. This ensures there are no delays or additional fees applied to your goods. You can find Canada’s reference system here – simply enter your item to find out if will be allowed into the country. You can also view a list of restricted items here.

Sending Food To Canada

Food is universally accepted as the best gift for those living abroad and missing home. They can cause issues however if not properly investigated prior to sending. All food imports are controlled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and they require some additional paperwork be attached to your food parcel.

The CFIA require that certain food imports that are sent from outside of the USA are sent with import permits and certificates of origin. Nuts, for example, have to be sent with extra documents in order to clear customs. You can request a permit from the CFIA if you wish to send food to Canada.

How to Ship Food to Canada

You can find a more in-depth guide on shipping food abroad here. These are the courier requirements for sending food abroad:

  • Foods must be in the original manufacturer’s packaging.
  • Food packaging must be sealed and not tampered with in any way.
  • Food label must list all ingredients.
  • Foods must have a shelf life of longer than six months from the date of shipping.
  • All foods that have a shelf life of less than six months will be classed as perishables, and cannot be sent via courier, even if store bought.

Shipping Personal Effects to Canada

If you are a Canadian importing personal effects into Canada, then you may eligible to an exception on any duties and taxes on your goods. This also applies if you originally obtained your goods in Canada and are returning them after a year from purchase, with no value limit. If you are not a Canadian resident, then you may need to pay an additional fee on your import. However, this is up to the discretion of Customs.

If more than a year has passed since the goods have left Canada, then this form must be filled in when moving your personal effects to Canada. If your parcels contain medicine, there will be further controls on their import controlled by ‘Health Canada’, which can be found in this document.

Remote Area Shipping

A remote area is calculated by the distance and transport difficulty from the nearest depot to the destination. As Canada is a huge country, some areas will inevitably be considered remote by the courier. These areas do take longer to deliver to, in comparison to a city destination, and also comes with an additional Remote Area Surcharge.

  • Extended areas – £16.65 or £0.40 per kg, whichever is greater.
  • Remote areas – £16.65 or £0.40 per kg, whichever is greater.

You can find out if you are area is considered remote by filling in your delivery details here.