Archive for the ‘Canada Customs’ Category


Requirements for Importing Wooden Articles Into Canada

Wooden articles
















When importing goods containing wooden components, certain information is needed to determine the necessary import documents required by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Please ensure these admissibility requirements are known and met prior to purchasing or shipping the items. Some examples of subject goods fall under the tariff items listed below:

H.S. Tariff Classification Description
4419 Tableware and kitchenware, of wood
4420 Decorative articles of wood
4421 Other articles of wood
6702 Artificial flowers, foliage and fruit and parts
9403 Wooden furniture
9505 Festive articles
9703 Original sculptures and statuary


The following information is needed to determine the necessary requirements to ensure admissibility under the CFIA import requirements:

  • Is it greater than, less than or equal to 1.5cm thick?
  • Does the item contain bark?
  • Is the product made with “processed” or “unprocessed” wood?

The term “processed wood materials” are defined under the International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) as:

“Products that are a composite of wood constructed using glue, heat and pressure, or any combination thereof [ISPM 15:2002]”

There has been a lack of clarity surrounding requirements due to viewing the term ‘finished’ wooden articles as being synonymous with ‘processed’ wooden articles. Please note that the term ‘processed’ does NOT mean ‘finished’. The CFIA is currently working on changing and clarifying their wording in the on-line AIRS tool. The term ‘finished’ will no longer be used and will be replaced with ‘processed’ as defined as above.

Examples of ‘processed’ wood include aspenite, masonite, plywood, veneer, fiberboard, particle board, oriented strand board, sawdust, and wafer board.

A complete outline of the requirements and reasoning can be found here.

It is strongly recommended that this information is clearly indicated on the invoice for each wooden commodity. If the required information is not provided then affected importers will need to be contacted to obtain this information before the shipment can be processed for Customs. This can potentially result in delays in customs clearance and additional handling costs.

In general:

Wooden articles that are less than 1.5 cm thick and not containing bark will most likely be approved for import with no additional document requirements.

Wooden articles that are greater than 1.5 cm thick or containing bark, depending on the origin, could require any or all of the following:

  • Plant Protection Import Permit – issued by the CFIA
  • Phytosanitary Certificate – certified by the (National Plant Protection Organization) NPPO of the exporting country
  • Phytosanitary Certificate for Re-export – certified by the USDA

Wooden furniture, regardless of thickness, made with unprocessed wood, depending on the origin, could require any or all of the following:

  • Plant Protection Import Permit – issued by the CFIA
  • Phytosanitary Certificate – certified by the (National Plant Protection Organization) NPPO of the exporting country
  • Phytosanitary Certificate for Re-export – certified by the USDA

Case Studies Pacific Customs Brokers Has Encountered

Missing Information on Documentation

We have encountered several transactions containing decorative wood products where the invoice description did not provide the thickness of the wood, if it contained bark, or if it was made with unprocessed wood.

  • Once the information was obtained, it was determined that the goods did not meet the necessary requirements and were inadmissible to enter Canada
  • The goods were then required to either be returned to the vendor or to be destroyed under Customs supervision.

Inaccurate Information on Documentation

In other cases goods have been released with inaccurate information which resulted in the CFIA performing a site inspection on the shipment.

  • In many cases products were found to exceed 1.5 cm thickness and were of foreign origin. The requirement for this is a Phytosanitary Certificate for Re-export covering the goods.
  • If this was not prepared at the time of export, then the supplier will not be able to produce the required documents.
  • The CFIA will then enforce the admissibility requirements and the importer is required to destroy the goods in question.

In either scenario significant expenses are incurred by the importer and the potential for delays and inspections is greatly increased.

If you are considering importing any of the subject goods outlined above or any articles containing wooden components please ensure the goods meet admissibility requirements under CFIA prior to purchasing or shipping the items.

Should you need more information, please contact your local CFIA office at: Area and Regional Offices

If you have any questions about importing any of the aforementioned articles share them in the comments section below or email us at Ask Your Broker.

AMPS Changes to ACI eManifest Effective November 1, 2016







Canada Border Services (CBSA) has announced changes to the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) in the Third Phase of ACI, known as eManifest. These changes will take effect November 1st, 2016.

CBSA’s Advance Commercial Information System (ACI) introduced an effective risk management process to identify threats prior to arrival of cargo and conveyance into Canada. eManifest is the third phase of the ACI program.

Carriers in all modes of transportation are required to transmit cargo and conveyance data electronically to the CBSA prior to arrival. CBSA will issue monetary penalties to any carriers identified for non-compliance.

Penalties for ACI contraventions range from $250 to $8000 depending on the contravention and risk applied. The AMPS system is a graduated system and monetary penalties increase with continued non-compliance. Below is the grid of Penalties:

Contravention 1st Penalty 2nd Penalty 3rd and Subsequent Penalty
Person failed to submit pre-arrival information relating to their cargo and/or conveyance $2000 $4000 $8000 (and in all likelihood the conveyance will be turned around to submit the ACI information from the US in the prescribed format and timeframes)
Person failed to submit advance information in the prescribed time or prescribed manner to the Agency. $250 $375 $750
Person failed to notify the Agency within the prescribed timeframes and without delay of any correction to any pre-arrival information sent to the Agency. $500 $750 $1500
Person submitted information prescribed by the Reporting of Imported Goods Regulations that was not true, accurate and complete. $500 $750 $1500
Person failed to comply with notification issued by the CBSA regarding the goods on board or expected to be on board the conveyance. $2000 $4000 $8000

CBSA recognized the potential impact to clients of the monetary penalties and since January 2016, when they were implemented, CBSA mitigated penalty levels to just Level 1 regardless of repeated non-compliance. This was done in an effort to provide additional time for carriers to make appropriate changes to their processes and training requirements. CBSA is now moving forward with the graduated ACI penalties.

Effective November 1,2016:

  • Carriers who have never received a penalty will receive a penalty at level I if non-compliant.
  • Carriers who have received a penalty at level I will receive a penalty at level 2 for repeated non-compliance.

Effective December 1,2016

  • Carriers who have not received a penalty will receive a penalty at level I if non-compliant.
  • Carriers who have received a penalty at level 1 will receive a penalty at level 2 for repeated non-compliance.
  • Carriers who have received a penalty at level 2 will receive a penalty at level 3 for continued non-compliance.

Carriers must be compliant for at least 12 months to return to level 1.

CBSA has announced to the Canadian Trucking Alliance “that a letter will be sent to individual carriers and their company contacts most at risk for non-compliance or ACI contraventions. These letters will outline the AMPS penalty system and the number of instances of non-compliance for the carrier and an offer from CBSA to assist these carriers in correcting their issues. CBSA encourages these carriers to respond to these offers of assistance to take corrective action.” (

Carriers are reminded that with the implementation of eManifest, transmission of highway pre-arrival cargo and conveyance data is in addition to the release requirements. If carriers are seeking the release of their goods at the first point of arrival (FPOA), they must contact the importer/broker prior to arriving at the FPOA to ensure the release request is submitted and accepted in the CBSA system. Having the ACI/eManifest data on file as per the requirements, as well as the release request on file will help ensure a faster and more efficient border crossing.

eManifest for Freight Forwarders Effective November 7, 2016








Effective November 7, 2016 Freight Forwarders will be required to Transmit ADVANCE house bill data electronically.

Freight Forwarders (FF) will be responsible to transmit, via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or the eManifest Portal, all house bill data and house bill close message data to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) for processing within the timeframes specific to the mode of transportation used to transport the goods to Canada.

Marine – 24 hours prior to loading or arrival depending on type and origin of goods
Air – 4 hours prior to arrival or at time of departure
Rail – 2 hours prior to arrival
Highway – 1 hour prior to arrival

EDI House Bill and Close Messages

  1. The FF who has contracted with a primary carrier prepares the required house bill data and submits via EDI or eManifest Portal. After transmitting all their house bills the FF also submits a house bill close message that links all their house bills to the previous Cargo Control Number (CCN) to declare closure of their shipment(s). If any of the house bills are to be further deconsolidated, each subsequent FF is also responsible for transmitting via EDI or eManifest Portal all their house bill data followed by a house bill close message. This message links all their house bills to the previous consolidated house bill number to declare closure of their shipment(s).
  2. The CBSA acknowledges receipt of the house bill submission by responding with either a positive or negative acknowledgement message such as
    • Positive: Acceptance of house bill submission, not found in error
    • Negative: Rejection of house bill submission. Advance notice requires correction.
  3. If any house bills referenced in the house bill close message have not been accepted and stored on file, the house bill close message will be rejected. Also, if the previous CCN is a consolidated house bill, it must also have been transmitted, validated and accepted or the house bill close message will be rejected.
  4. Once a house bill close message is validated and accepted, CBSA will send a “match” notification to the FF who submitted the house bill close message as well as the carrier.
  5. Release processing for house bills is initiated with the arrival of the conveyance in Canada.

House bill Shipment Arrival Processing

Processing for freight arriving under house bills is dependent upon transportation mode as described below:

  • Rail
    House bill shipments destined to the First Port of Arrival (FPOA) with a Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) associated to the CCN, when the carrier successfully transmits a conveyance arrival certification message, the Release Notification System (RNS) will transmit a response message to RNS participants, indicating whether each house bill shipment linked to the conveyance has been released, referred or authorized to move.
  • Highway
    For house bill shipments destined for FPOA with a PARS associated to the CCN, the process is identical to rail with one exception. A conveyance arrival certification message from the carrier is not required since the conveyance is arrived by the Border Services Officer (BSO) at the FPOA.
  • All Modes
    House bill shipments destined to the FPOA will be released when a PARS is on file and associated to the CCN.

For in-bond house shipments regardless of mode, the warehouse operator must transmit a cargo arrival certification message once the house bill shipment physically arrives at the inland warehouse. After acceptance of the message, RNS will transmit a response message, to the RNS participant, indicating whether the house bill shipment has been released or referred.

Further upcoming articles on this topic will discuss various scenarios with Consolidated Freight and Processing.

10 Ways CBSA is Improving EDI Communication with eManifest Electronic Notices

eManifest EDI CommunicationThe Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is improving two way communication with new electronic notices. These notices will communicate to carriers and importers the status and disposition of their shipments as they move through the commercial process whether that be via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or the eManifest Portal.

The first phase of these notices – Deconsolidation Notices and Document not on File, related to house bill close messages, were made available to carriers and importers (clients) on Thursday June 30, 2016.

The second phase of eManifest Notices was made available September 1, 2016 and included the remainder of the eManifest Notices. The following is the list of Notices available now with a brief description of what the Notice entails:

  1. Matched
    Informs the clients that a specific trade document is linked to a related trade document. Example: When a Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) shipment has been submitted and the related cargo has already been submitted, then the PARS is matched.
  2. Not Matched
    Informs the clients that either no links to a related trade document have been established, or that a document that has previously been matched to another document becomes unlinked through a change or cancellation. Example: When a PARS has been submitted but the related cargo has not yet been submitted, the PARS is not matched.
  3. Cargo Complete
    Informs the client that a non-consolidated primary cargo document has been submitted to and accepted by the CBSA. If consolidated, it indicates that all of the related Secondary Cargo (House Bills) has been transmitted. Documents that have achieved this status have not yet been linked to a related PARS or Integrated Import Declaration (IID) documents.
  4. Document Package Complete
    Informs clients that the cargo and all other required pre-arrival trade documents, including related release documentation necessary for CBSA to determine if the goods should be released (PARS or IID), have been submitted to and accepted by the CBSA.
  5. Reported
    Informs the client that their cargo has been presented to the CBSA at the Port of Report or First Port of Arrival.
  6. Arrived
    Informs the client when goods have been authorized to be removed from a CBSA office, a sufferance warehouse, or a bonded warehouse for use in Canada.
  7. Document Not on File
    Informs clients that a CCN that is not in good standing, was quoted on a trade document which has been submitted to the CBSA. When clients transmit documents that reference other trade documents that it is expected to link to, a Document Not on File Notice will be sent automatically to the sender of the referenced document that is not in good standing. Documents that will trigger this notice are a House Bill Close Message, PARS, IID, Release on Minimum Documentation (RMD) and B3. Carriers or Freight Forwarders that are quoted on the submitted documents will receive this notice for Cargo Control Documents (CCNs) that have been cancelled, or rejected, or not on file.
  8. Authorize to Deliver
    Informs Customs Self Assessment (CSA) clients that their CSA goods can be delivered to the intended recipient.
  9. Released
    Informs clients when goods have authorized to be removed from a CBSA office, a sufferance warehouse, or a bonded warehouse for use in Canada.
  10. Held for CBSA
    Informs clients that their goods are being held for further determination or processing and cannot be released.

In order to receive electronic notices all clients including Primary Notify Parties, Secondary Notify Parties and Automated Notify Parties, must be registered with the CBSA. They must also have their EDI communications profiles set up to receive EDI notifications. An EDI profile is a set of data that identifies clients EDI communication preferences and methods with the CBSA and EDI addresses to which notices are to be sent.

Clients can contact the CBSA TCCU for information on how to register to receive the notices currently available to clients contact the [email protected]

Importing Bulk Commodities at Estimated Volumes or Weight

Bulk commodity truck
















Are you in the business of importing bulk commodities that are valued by weight or volume? If so, it is imperative to ensure that the values provided to Canada Customs are compliant with their valuation regulations.

Estimated Volumes vs. Actual Volumes

Many companies import a bulk commodity into Canada such as liquids, which are priced by volume. At the time of purchase, the supplier will normally use estimated volume on the customs invoice. For example 30,000 litres of fuel valued at $2.50 USD per litre = $75,000 USD.

When the product is physically loaded onto the conveyance and on its way to Canada the actual volume may not reflect the estimated value that was declared. For example: 30,000 litres estimated may in fact be 28,500 actual litres. 28,500 litres x $2.50 USD = $71,250 USD.

As the Importer of Record (IOR) is held ultimately responsible for any errors in the declaration of their imported goods, the IOR would be obligated to correct the customs entry. In this case the price payable used at the time of purchase was incorrect and the actual volume discovered at the time of loading must be submitted to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Failure to Amend Volumes

Failure to correct the B3 Canada Customs Coding Document can lead to a penalty as outlined in the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) issued by CBSA to the IOR. CBSA’s Master Penalty Document, Contravention C083 states:

“Authorized person failed to make the required corrections to a declaration of value for duty within 90 days after having reason to believe that the declaration was incorrect.


1st: $150 to a maximum of $5,000 (per issue) or $25,000 (per occurrence)
2nd: $225 to a maximum of $200,000 (per occurrence)
3rd and Subsequent: $450 to a maximum of $400,000 (per occurrence)”


Do you import bulk commodities with the pricing based on estimated volumes or weight? Contact us via the comments section below or email Ask Your Broker to discuss your options.