Canada Border Services Agency Announces New Revenue Management System

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) recently announced that it would be implementing a new system that would “transform how the CBSA assesses, collects, manages, and reports on import revenue and trade information.”

As today’s leading importing/exporting firm in Canada, the team from Argo Customs will be participating in the rolling out of both projects, referred to as the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management Project or CARM. The first release will take place in May 2021 and the second in May 2022.

CARM Will Transform the Importation Process

According to officials, CARM is a multi-year initiative designed to revolutionize the importation process. As one of the top collectors of revenue for the Canadian government, the CBSA is second only to the Canada Revenue Agency.

“The billions of dollars we collect annually in duties and taxes are critical to our economy,” a CARM representative recently stated.

To make it easier to import and export goods into and out of Canada, CARM will offer users an online portal that will give importers/exporters access to border services 24/7, every day of the week.

Some of the most attractive features to the new online portal will include:

  • Online tools to classify goods, submit e-declarations and calculate taxes and duties
  • View up-to-date account information
  • Make e-payments and become paperless
  • Allow importers and customs brokers to tailor the services needed to manage their own accounts
  • Streamline the process of working with the CBSA
  • Enhance consistency and adherence to trade rules and decisions
  • Minimize repetitive information requirements
  • & More!

Contact Argo Customs today to learn more about the CARM system!

For those importing and exporting goods into and out of Canada, contact Argo Customs today online for more information about the benefits CARM will provide and how we’re participating. You can also call 1 (888) 311-8303.

Updated Safety Notice on Pourable Alcohol-Based Fuels and Portable Firepots

According to the Consumer and Hazardous Products Safety Directorate due to several incidents resulting in fatalities and serious injuries from fire jets erupting from pourable alcohol-based fuels and portable containers, safety guidelines have been updated to restrict the transportation of these fuels without proper safety equipment.

According to the ASTM-F3429 and F349M-20 publications containers that lack adequate flame mitigation safety equipment that meets the technical specifications laid out in the notices pose a danger to human life.

The Transport & Safety Details

All products that are deemed dangerous to human life or safety are prohibited from transport, advertisement, manufacture, and sale in Canada. Products that are deemed dangerous if it is foreseeable that in their normal operation, they could cause serious injury or death. According to the Directorate’s investigation, these portable containers were responsible for the fire jets because they lacked fire suppression and safety measures.

Essentially, according to the updated Notices, all containers that transport alcohol-based fuels must meet the safety guidelines outlined in the notices or they are per se illegal and could subject the owner and/or operator to fines or other punishments. The scope of the notices affects two types of products: (1) portable firepots and containers holding pourable alcohol-based fuels.

Portable firepots are devices that use pourable fuels and are not fixed (i.e., they can be moved around). These are devices that are “plug and play” – they don’t need specialized tools or need to be installed. Portable firepots include a broad range of consumer items such as:

  • Fire burners,
  • Patio burners,
  • Firelights,
  • Flame pots,
  • Portable fireplaces,
  • Firebowls, and
  • Fire pits.

Notice that all of these products are free-standing and are not attached to or embedded in anything. Therefore, portable firepots would exclude installed fireplaces, fire pits, grills, and other devices that are attached or fixed to a space.

Containers of pourable alcohol-based fuels, while by themselves are not dangerous, when used to transport in conjunction with a firepot can result in danger to human life. The scope of the order includes portable fuels such as chafing fuels, camping stoves, lighter fluid, and fire starters. The authorities are primarily concerned with containers that have a bottled neck and are not refillable. The order specifically excludes alcohol-based cleaning solutions, de-icing products, combustion engine fuels, jerry cans, and alcohol-based fuels that are in single-use pastes or canisters.

ARGO Customs

Contact our team at ARGO Customs for customs and import and export updates, and solutions.


Why Was I Stopped at The Border When Returning to Canada?

At Argo Customs, our job is to help you move goods through the Canadian border with a minimum of hassle.  We make sure your shipments arrive safely, even during times of crisis like the continuing COVID-19 outbreak.

However, just about anyone crossing the border might be stopped by the Canadian border police – not just people transporting goods.  So, in this article, we wanted to briefly talk about some of the various reasons anyone might have to stop for an inspection, and what that inspection entails.

Common Reasons People Returning to Canada Might Be Stopped at The Border

  1. Random inspection

Some stops are truly random, and there’s nothing you could have done to prevent them.  The border patrol will periodically stop a vehicle just to make sure everything is in order.

  1. Looking for goods in the vehicle

If you declare any goods when crossing the border, there’s always a chance you’ll be stopped to verify your declaration was accurate.  This would involve showing the goods declared, and possibly undergoing a vehicle search.

  1. Reporting large amounts of money

If you’re declaring more than CA$10,000 in cash or equivalent monetary instruments (like bonds or cashier’s cheques) you can probably expect to be stopped for a discussion of why.

  1. Verification of paperwork

Even if you’re a legal citizen of Canada, you may still be asked to stop so that your paperwork can be examined more closely, before you’re allowed to enter.

  1. Paying duties or taxes

If you are carrying taxable goods into the country, you’ll be asked to pay.  Be prepared with a means of payment if you know this is likely to happen.

What happens if you’re stopped for an inspection or questioning?

If you are stopped for questioning, the best thing to do is remain calm, and politely answer the questions as briefly and truthfully as you can.  Some things which may be discussed include:

  • Your activities while outside the country
  • Proof of guardianship of any children traveling with you
  • Verifying payment of any taxes or duties
  • Inspection of pets or other animals for signs of infection
  • Proofs for purchases made outside the country, particularly high-value purchases.  (Keep your receipts!)
  • Counting/verifying declared money being brought into the country
  • Running background or criminal checks

For most people, these processes will only be a brief inconvenience.  However, if you’re moving goods into Canada, it’s much better to work with a broker to avoid these hassles!  Contact Argo Customs to learn more.

Obtaining Refunds Under CUSMA

With many importing goods into Canada that fall under the Canadian-United States-Mexico Trade Agreement (CUSMA), it’s important to understand how to obtain refunds if necessary. That’s why the team from Argo Customs has collected some important information for you here.

Below you’ll find detailed information about CUSMA and how to obtain refunds when you need to.

Obtaining Your Refunds Under the New CUSMA Agreement

It’s important to note that refunds under NAFTA can occur up until June 30, 2021. However, goods that have entered Canada after July 1, 2020, are also eligible for CUSMA refunds, as long as no previous claim for preferential tariff treatment has already been made. For those seeking a refund under CUSMA, there is a four-year time limit.

How Do Refunds Under the NAFTA Agreement Affect CUSMA Refunds?

Those who imported goods into Canada under NAFTA will be eligible to obtain refunds up to a year after CUSMA went into effect (July 1, 2021), as long as NAFTA preferential treatment was not claimed during the accounting process.

For those in need of information regarding the CUSMA refund period, refer to Bill C-4 clause 134, adds CUSMA to part 4 of the schedule to amend paragraph 74(1)(c.11) of the Customs Act, in order to provide the legal basis for an importer to apply for a refund under CUSMA. It is paragraph 74(3) of the Customs Act that establishes a period of 4 years to apply for a refund under 74(1(c.11).

Contact Argo Customs for more import/export assistance!

For more assistance when importing and exporting goods into and out of Canada, contact the team from Argo Customs today. You can reach us online or by calling 1 (888) 311-8303.

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Current Border Measures and Requirements

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has made travel between countries difficult, and that includes movement between Canada and the United States.  Differences in outbreak responses, and infection numbers, have meant that numerous new restrictions have been put into place, even for those simply crossing back and forth over the southern border.

Those who are currently traveling abroad should be aware that they may face new challenges when returning home.  In this article, our team at ARGO Customs wanted to quickly go over the most important coronavirus-related regulations, and how trips into Canada will be impacted.


What Traveling Canadians Need to Know About Returning Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

First, it is important to note that the Canadian government strongly discourages Canadians from leaving the country unless they have a genuine need to.  While there are no hard border exit procedures in place as of yet, this is truly not the right time to be taking vacations or engaging in other non-essential travel.

Once a non-commercial Canadian resident is at the border, seeking re-entry, the following steps will be taken:

  1. They will be given a coronavirus prevention kit that includes various items such as facial masks, and instructions for use.
  2. People who are showing no signs of coronavirus infection will still be expected to self-quarantine for 14 days upon reaching their final destination unless exempted.
  3. Those who are showing any signs of infection such as a high fever must report to a Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) official for instructions and further testing.

For any Canadians currently abroad, who believe they may have contracted the coronavirus, the best choice would be to stay put and seek local treatment.  Do not attempt to return home unless it cannot be avoided.

Exceptions to Quarantine Procedures

Those who cross the border regularly, particularly those providing necessary cross-border goods and services, can potentially be exempted from the testing and quarantine procedures.

Also, those transiting across Canada – such as Americans going between the continental States and Alaska – can potentially avoid quarantine.  However, this will only be in cases where the travel is necessary/compulsory.  Also, they will be expected to follow a direct path to their intended destination, without deviation, and while making as few stops for necessary services as possible.  Social distancing and mask-wearing will be expected and enforced.

These are complicated times for anyone crossing the US/Canadian border, particularly those engaged in commerce.  For help ensuring your goods arrive safely with a minimum of delay, contact the importation experts at ARGO Customs.


Working with A Courier or Broker Can Reduce Your Canadian Importation Costs

There are numerous reasons that you should work with a customs broker or courier when you are importing goods into Canada.  Professional brokers have years of experience dealing with the bureaucracy which surrounds global trade and can advise you on the best way to move your goods into the country while minimizing delays or extra costs.  More importantly, they can help you avoid any legal entanglements which could cause delays, fees, or even more serious charges.

Now, there’s yet another reason to work with a professional broker or courier when importing goods into the country from either the United States or Mexico.  When you’re importing only small amounts of product, the duties can potentially be waived when sending them via courier.

How The Courier Imports Remission Order (CIRO) Reduces Canadian Duties

Under the law, a courier is defined as “a commercial carrier that is engaged in scheduled international transportation of shipments of goods other than goods imported by mail,” and this applies to any other form of transport.   It also includes freight forwarders in its definition of “courier.”

Under CIRO, when goods from the United States or Mexico are imported via courier, fees are reduced in these situations:

  • Customs duties are waived if the goods would owe CAD$150 or less in duties, and
  • Taxes are waived on the goods if those goods would generate taxes of CAD$40 or less.

So, these rules do not apply to large shipments, but they could be highly useful to specialist importers who only deal in small amounts of stock.  However, there are a number of exceptions to be aware of.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol or tobacco products
  • Items being sent as gifts, as per tariff item number 9816.00.00
  • Items ordered from a Canadian retailer, which are drop-shipped directly from a foreign country to the purchaser
  • Items ordered from an address or PO Box in Canada
  • Goods imported by someone other than the purchaser

The list of restrictions is relatively long and complicated, with numerous exceptions.  This is a situation where working with an experienced Canadian customs broker can help you understand your rights and responsibilities.

ARGO Customs Sees Your Imports Safely Through the Border

We are specialists in Canadian importation, with deep knowledge of the laws and regulations which govern Canadian trade.  When you work with us, you can rest assured your shipments will arrive in Canada quickly and affordably.  Contact us to learn more.


FAQs About the New Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)

With the arrival of the new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), our team at ARGO Customs knows that there are many questions and uncertainties that need to be addressed regarding this agreement. So, we decided to put together and answer some frequently asked questions to help you understand CUSMA and some of the new processes and regulations it is bringing.

ARGO Customs Answers Important Questions About CUSMA

  • When will CUSMA start?

Beginning on July 1, 2020, the implantation of CUSMA will begin. For goods that are released after or on this date, they will be subject to these new tariffs. So, be prepared for these new processes and changes.

  • Will NAFTA goods originate under the CUSMA?

There is no definite answer to this question. You must review the new CUSMA regulations to learn more about if the goods in question originate under CUSMA’s new agreement. As always, our customs brokers can help answer any questions or concerns you have with CUSMA and other importing and exporting rules/laws, so never hesitate to contact us when you need to.

  • Will I need a certificate of origin for CUSMA goods?

You will not require a certificate of origin for things that have a value of $3,300.00 and above. With that being said, you will need certification of origin – as is standard for many new trade deals. Keep in mind that similar to NAFTA, it doesn’t need to be shown when it is being released and the certification can go along with any document.

The certification of origin may be completed by the importer, exporter, or the producer.

  • Can an importer sign for the CUSMA certification?

Yes, an importer can sign the CUSMA certification of origin.

  • For goods valued at $3,330 and under, will certification or a statement be needed for these items?

Beginning on July 1, the LVS threshold will take effect. In a situation where goods estimated at $3,300 and less are from a country that already has a Free Trade Agreement with Canada, there will be no need to show a certificate of origin or statement.

  • For LVS Shipments that now need a certificate of origin, are “made in” stickers/stamps enough to get favored treatment?

For normal and causal products, yes, a simple “made in” symbol or marking should be sufficient. But for commercial goods, if there were to be an audit the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has the right to be shown proof of origin. It is recommended to always get confirmation of where the goods originate from the client.

  • For CUSMA goods, are there any tariff treatment codes to be aware of?

For goods that are imported into Canada, yes, there are two possible codes to be aware of; 10 is for goods from America, while 11 are goods that originate from Mexico. Unlike with NAFTA, goods that originate from both Mexico and the USA, no longer have a treatment code.

  • For CUSMA goods, exactly how many origin criteria are there?

Per CUSMA Article 4.2, there are four. Please refer to the CUSMA agreement (Article 4.2) and contact our ARGO Customs team for further information and details regarding this or any other question.

  • Do I need TPL Certificates of Eligibility?

As it stands now, there are no changes to TPL Certificates of Eligibility on imports. Please keep in mind that they are needed for goods from Mexico.

  • Can I leave the importer information on certification of origin empty?

No, you cannot leave the importer information unfilled. If the importer is not known, under data element 5 you can use “unknown.” When there are a large number of importers (blanked certificate) you can let them know to see the included list – this was also the case for NAFTA.

For non-residents importers (NRI), you can provide the full name of the importer, the Canadian address of where the goods are going/importing to, along with a phone number and email address.

  • For goods billed at the most-favored-nation (MFN) rate, but actually originate under the CUSMA, can there be a refund?

If it is later found that the goods indeed originated under the CUSMA, yes, a refund will be given. You can file under Section 74(c)(ii) of the Customs Act in situations like these.

You must file the claim within four years from the exact date of accounting.

  • Will there be an update to D11-4-32 Application of the De Minimis Provision to Textile and Apparel Goods under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the CBSA?

No, the Canadian Border Services Agency will not be changing this. You can attain further information about this by referencing the CUSMA Rules of Origin Uniform Regulations.

ARGO Customs Brokers

At ARGO Customs, we can help simplify your Canadian Customs clearance process by utilizing our cutting-edge customs software, along with our vast experience in dealing with importing and exporting goods. Our team can provide the customs assistance and clearance solutions you need to streamline your shipments, avoid delays, issues, and the possibility of fines and unnecessary tariffs.

To learn more about CUSMA and Canadian importing and exporting, please contact our brokers at ARGO Customs today.


Traveling into Canada With Pets, Food, or Plants

Like most countries, Canada has strict regulations on the importation of living things, and other organic material which might potentially harbor pests, diseases, or other unwanted organisms.  Even if you are only traveling for personal purposes, such as going on vacation and taking a pet with you, there are strict guidelines which must be followed.

The Basics of Entering Canada With Pets, Food, or Plants

The most important thing to know is that if you are entering Canada with pets, food, or plants – whether for personal or commercial purposes – is that they must be declared at the border.  Even small amounts of material must be declared.

If you are at all uncertain, take time to ask a customs agent whether or not a particular item needs to be declared.  Better safe than sorry!  Being caught with non-declared items, even if by genuine mistake, can cause significant delays in your journey.

It is likely that you will have to face additional inspections, so be sure to leave additional time in your itinerary.  If these items/pets are for personal use, they must be physically with you when you go through the border crossing.

Guidelines on what can and cannot be brought into Canada are extensive, covering thousands of products.  If you need to look up a specific product, animal, or material, your best option is to use the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) database.  This has full listings of every product covered by Canadian importation law.

However, there are a few general rules to keep in mind:

  • In most cases, food or plant items intended for personal use are limited to 20kg in gross weight, or less.  This includes animal fat/suet, candies or pastries, meat products, dairy products, infant formula, and frozen or chilled vegetables.
  • Rules of importation are somewhat different whether you are coming from the United States, or from other countries.  Border rules are laxer for US-purchased products, and there are a wider range of products you can bring in without needing paperwork.
  • If you are planning to import large amounts of meat, dairy, nuts, fruits, plants, or live animals, plan ahead.  You will almost certainly need permits issued in advance, with no option to obtain them at the border.

Speak to An ARGO Customs Broker

ARGO Customs is here to help you move your goods into Canada, whether the quantities are large or small.  Contact us directly to discuss your needs!

What to Know About Food Product Marking and Labeling When Importing Goods into Canada

Importing foods into Canada can be highly lucrative – if you follow the rules and regulations set forth by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).  Canada takes the health of its citizens very seriously, so there are strict regulations on how food is packaged and labeled, to ensure it is safe and accurately represented.

Understandably, we receive a lot of queries regarding this topic.  It’s complicated, and often your best move is to contact experienced Canadian customs brokers to help ensure your shipments move swiftly across the border.  Experienced brokers will know the ins and outs of the system and be best prepared to expedite your imports.

For a complete overview of the relevant regulations, including laws governing single products, you can visit the Industry Labeling Tool established by the CBSA.  However, we can offer some general guidelines regarding the most important labeling requirements.

  1. Common names

The product must have its common easily understood name printed clearly on the packaging.  ie, milk, sugar, lobster, etc.  The only exception would be certain fresh fruits and vegetables if the product itself is directly viewable through a window in the packaging.

  1. Principal display panels (PDP)

PDPs are simply the most prominent customer-facing messaging panel on the package.  These must contain the common name, in typeface size of at least 1.6mm or greater.  Or, if the PDP is smaller than 10 square cm, the typeface size must be at least .8mm.

  1. Quantity declaration

The amount of product within the packaging must be clearly declared on the PDP and must be measured in metric units.  Imperial units can also be used as a secondary measurement, but metric must be prominent, and measurements must include the appropriate abbreviation for the unit (i.e., kg for kilograms.)  The amount should be rounded to three digits, unless under 100.

  1. List of ingredients

Unless the product is a single-ingredient food, a full and complete list of ingredients must be present on the packaging, arranged in descending order of proportion by weight.  This list must also include notifications for any potential allergens, such as gluten or sulfates.

  1. Packaged on/Sell by

In most cases, the packaging must include the date on which the food product was packaged, as well as a sell-by date determined via industry best practices.

ARGO Customs

ARGO Customs can make your importation process go more smoothly!  If you have questions, please contact us to ask our expert customs brokers.


ARGO Customs Helps Canadian Importers Adhere to Medical Device Licensing Regulations

Medical Device Licensing Regulations

May 21, 2020 – Toronto, ON – A recent regulation change from the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) reduced or eliminated duties on a wide range of medical products – however, to take advantage of these benefits, an importer must be properly licensed to import medical supplies.  The experts at ARGO Customs want to help importers understand the regulations, and how to qualify as a medical device importer.

The CBSA has four classifications for medical products and devices, from Class I to Class IV.  The class indicates the potential danger or hazards associated with the product.  For example, a basic oral thermometer is Class I, while a pacemaker is Class IV.  Devices from Class II, III, and IV must be licensed, while Class I product importation is less restricted.

To import Class I medical supplies, an importer must only have a Medical Device Establishment License (MDEL), which guarantees they have reliable sources and products.  For devices in Classes II – IV, a stricter Medical Device License (MDL) is required.  Application for these licenses can require substantial paperwork and proof of safety.

There are also several exemptions to the Class I MDEL licensing requirements on importation including:

  • Devices imported by individuals for their own personal use
  • Supplies imported directly by registered health care facilities
  • Operators of registered dispensaries which provide medical goods to the public
  • Anyone importing medical supplies or devices intended only for animals
  • Warehouses which only store devices, without selling or trading them

Having the proper licensing is imperative for a company’s products to be successfully imported, otherwise, they may be held at the border indefinitely or even ejected from the company.  ARGO Customs suggests that importers partner with an experienced customs broker to simplify the process.

About ARGO Customs

ARGO Customs employs highly experienced global trade specialists to help ease the flow of goods into and out of Canada.  Regardless of the size of the shipment or the companies involved, ARGO will work tirelessly to reduce regulatory difficulties and see the shipment delivered in a minimal timeframe.

For more information or press inquiries, please contact 1 (888) 311-8303 or visit