How to Prepare to Import Goods into Canada

Canada is a thriving market that brings in business deals from all over the world, with plenty of businesses looking to begin importing their products.  However, as a well-regulated economy, becoming a legal Canadian importer can be a bit challenging.  There are numerous bureaucratic requirements to fulfill before you can begin bringing in stock.

A skilled Canadian customs broker can do a lot to make this process easier!  But if you’re trying to complete the process yourself, here are some of the most important elements.

Five Must-Dos to Legally Import Goods into Canada

1. Obtain a business number

To do any sort of business within Canada, you need an official Business Number (BN) issued by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA).  This can be done via two methods:

2. Gather information on your goods

You may be required to submit a wide variety of information and documentation on the goods you plan to import.  This is necessary to determine the type of good and its tariff classification.  If at all possible, have product samples on-hand.

3. Identify the correct country of origin for each good

Anything imported must have a clear and accurate country of origin.  This is the country in which the good was originally created, not necessarily where you purchased it.

Memorandum D11-4-2 outlines the documentation needed to demonstrate this.

4. Verify all goods are legal to import

As with nearly all countries, Canada regulates what can be imported.  Memoranda Series D9 covers items which are prohibited.  

Also, you will need to determine if these goods are subject to any specific regulations or restrictions.  The most commonly-affected goods are listed in the  Other Government Departments and Agencies: Reference List for Importers.  If your goods aren’t listed there, you will also want to check Memoranda Series D19 for a more complete list.

In addition, some goods may be subject to specific tariffs and fees, as covered in the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA).

5. Consider working with a Canadian customs broker

While not a legal requirement, partnering with a Canadian customs broker will make this process far easier.  The fees charged by your broker will be far less than the fees or seized cargo you’ll be risking if you make a mistake on your paperwork.

ARGO Customs

To learn more about simplifying the process of Canadian importation, contact ARGO Customs.