Archive for the ‘Canada Customs’ Category


2017 Designation Maintenance Begins in our Professional Development Courses!

A new year means a new start for most everything and this includes a reset to the maintenance requirements of your professional designations set forth by the credential’s governing body. Our Professional Development Courses are about to launch for 2017.
Professional Development Courses Seminars and Webinars

Whether you are a Canadian or U.S. Certified Customs Specialist (CCS), a Certified Trade Compliance Specialist (CTCS), a Certified Export Specialist (CES), a designate with the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) or accounting professional, taking any of Pacific Customs Brokers’ seminars and webinars will earn you maintenance points, credits and hours towards a variety professional designations.

Review and plan your maintenance for the first half of 2017 by clicking on the course’s name below:

CDN Importing for Beginners Part 1
CDN Importing for Beginners Part 2
US Importing for Beginners Part 1 1
US Importing for Beginners Part 2 1
FDA Regulated Goods 2 2 1
CFIA Regulated Goods 2 2
NAFTA for Beginners Part 1 1 1
NAFTA for Beginners Part 2 1
Shipping and Importing Perishables – NEW! 5 5 3 3
CDN Trade Compliance Part 1 5 5
CDN Trade Compliance Part 2 5 5 3
Exporting from Canada 5 5 3 3
US Trade Compliance Part 1 5 5 3
US Trade Compliance Part 2 5 5 3 3
HS Tariff Classification 5 6 4
Free Trade Agreements and Rules of Origin 5 5 5
Customs Valuation 5 3.5
CFIA 5 5
FDA 5 5 3
C-TPAT and PIP 3 3 2 2


If you have never attended one of our Professional Development Courses before, the following information might help you decide on attending the next one.

Professional Development Courses – Webinars

Our webinars are designed to meet the demands of the global trade community. These live webinars are a convenient way for trade professionals to stay ahead of new regulations with international trade and gain additional knowledge in key areas. The benefits of attending an online course include:

  • Cost-effectiveness – More affordable than industry standards and some even offered complimentary
  • Global accessibility – Travel is removed from the equation for companies with multiple locations or branches
  • Convenience – Attend from the comfort of your desk
  • Concise training – In a fast-paced industry, efficiency becomes just as important as staying compliant
  • Industry recognized sessions – Earn points towards maintenance of your industry designations

Professional Development Courses – Seminars and Workshops

At these in-person sessions, you will learn the best practices on being compliant as an importer and/or exporter helping you expedite your commercial shipments rather than triggering costly delays. Our experts share their knowledge on international and cross-border shipping to keep you current with customs and participating government agency regulations.  The benefits of attending an in-person seminar or workshop include:

  • All day access – Get our experts to answer your questions one-on-one
  • Case studies and real-life examples – Examine other attendees’ trade compliance issues
  • Cost-effectiveness – More affordable than industry standards
  • Range of topics – Choose from a wide variety of seminar topics
  • Certificate of Completion – Receive a certificate for each course you attend
  • Handouts – Take home your own set of course material
  • Industry recognized sessions – Earn points towards maintenance of your industry designations
  • Networking – Connect with other like-minded professionals

For future reference, download your own 2017 Spring/Summer Trade Compliance Program today!

Why Carriers Care… about Cargo Control Numbers Matching Across All Submissions to CBSA

Why Carriers Care… about Cargo Control Numbers Matching Across All Submissions to CBSA













Highway Carriers will experience delays at the border or risk not reporting cargo they are carrying if the Cargo Control barcodes presented do NOT match the Cargo Control Numbers (CCN) transmitted via ACI eManifest to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Inaccurate CCN transmission by carriers could result in sanctions for non-compliance by the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS).

It is very important that carriers presenting barcoded PARS numbers on arrival at the port ensure that the CCN transmitted to CBSA is identical to the PARS number. The PARS number must include the acronym “PARS” if this was used. It is not a requirement to embed the letter “PARS” into a PARS number, but if a carrier does embed letters into the PARS number that the driver provides at the border, then the carrier must use the identical number in their eManifest electronic cargo transmission.


Tips to ensure compliance:

  1. Carriers should provide the driver with the barcoded PARS number specific to each shipment so the carrier knows which PARS is being used and will also use the same number when transmitting their eManifest cargo data prior to arrival.
  2. The driver should contact the carrier as soon as the PARS number is used for a shipment therefore providing the carrier certainty of which number must be electronically transmitted to the CBSA.
  3. Carriers transmitting cargo numbers MUST pay close attention to the letter “l” and “O” and the numbers “1” and “0” in their CCN and PARS numbers. The transmission MUST match the release documents presented by the customs broker and/or importer. If they don’t match the release document will NOT align with the cargo transmission and the cargo will have been marked “Reported” but not “Released” at the First Port of Arrival (FPOA).


Drivers and carriers are invited to call our Carrier Help Desk with any eManifest or border crossing questions they may have or review the many posts we’ve written on the subject within this Blog. We can be reached by phone at 855.542.6644 or by emails at We are here to help!

What is The Single Window Initiative?

Computer Network















You may have heard of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Single Window Initiative (SWI) but you are unclear as to what it really is. The SWI is a single point for advance reporting of import information to CBSA who in turn will transmit the information to the appropriate department or agency responsible for regulating the goods. These departments or agencies will assess the information provided by the client and provide a border related decision as required. Led by CBSA, it’s purpose is to provide the trade community with the ability to electronically submit all information required to comply with government import regulations at once. It is meant to eliminate duplicate and redundant data requirements and processes. It reduces the paper burden on the business community and government.  The SWI data requirements will be aligned to the greatest extent possible with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP)  and the World Customs Organization (WCO)  data model.

Along with CBSA there are nine participating departments or agencies (PGAs) in the SWI:

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
  • Environment Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
  • Health Canada
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Transport Canada.


On March 29, 2015, CBSA implemented the new Integrated Import Declaration (IID) that further expands the ability of clients to submit and obtain release for their importations regulated by PGAs. Eventually, by April of 2018,  the “Other Government Department” or  OGD service option for release will be decommissioned and the adoption of IID will take its place.

The Single Window Initiative is scheduled to be fully implemented by the end of March 2017.  It is a direct response to calls from the business community to simplify the process at the border and integrate government requirements into one process.

Many Importers, Customs Brokers and other service providers are onboarding with certification and testing for SWI processing by signing up with CBSA and their Technical Commercial Client Unit.

For more information on the SWI clients can contact the Single Window Initiative Team at

See CBSA Customs Notice 16-22 for an update on what programs within the PGAs are available with SWI and IID.

We will continue to provide updates and clarification on this new Modernization Initiative in coming articles.

Why Carriers Care… about the eManifest Cargo Report and Bill of Lading Matching

Carriers should habitually ensure what is loaded on their trailers matches what appears on the shipper’s bill of lading and importer’s instructions to ensure what they have loaded is correct before they leave the shipper’s yard. When eManifest came into play an additional step was added: ensure the cargo on the Bill of Lading (BOL) matches the eManifest Cargo Report. If they do not match, carriers may be delayed at a border crossing for something that could have been easily avoided prior to the truck’s arrival.

What can a Carrier do to avoid this mismatch?

Carrier’s have access to both the Bill of Lading and eManifest Cargo Report and are therefore able to find discrepancies. They can relay those discrepancies to the Importer and/or Customs Broker at the time of loading. The Importer and/or Customs Broker can promptly make the necessary edits to ensure that the shipment on the trailer is matched to the Bill of Lading eManifest (more specifically, the electronic pre-arrival cargo and conveyance information) and Release Request submitted to Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) through the Advance Commercial Information (ACI). The officers at the First Port of Arrival (FPOA) will then risk assess the shipment prior to its arrival in Canada.

What happens if the Bill of Lading and Cargo Report do not match?

In a recent case the Carrier presented an eManifest lead sheet to the CBSA Officer at the Primary Booth. The truck was carrying a shipment of trunks and cases as reported on the eManifest Cargo Report. During the interview with the driver, the Officer asked to review the Bills of Lading and compared them to the electronic eManifest cargo report. One Bill of Lading did not match what was reported on the eManifest Cargo Report. The conveyance was referred to the Secondary Examination Warehouse for examination where the entire trailer was offloaded. The examination for contraband was non-resultant but the non-reported shipment needed to be correctly reported. The eManifest needed to be amended to include the missing shipment. The Importer was assessed an Administrative Monetary Penalty of $2000.00 for not accounting for the shipment on the release request.

Non-compliance is considered high risk by CBSA and therefore carries a hefty fine. Failure to account for goods upon submission of a release request to CBSA impairs their ability to risk assess the admissibility of the goods. In the case study above, the shipment was found upon examination and prior to the release of the goods. The penalty is applied against the Importer as it is their responsibility to account for all goods represented in the release request submitted to CBSA. The carrier is not responsible for the accounting of the goods and therefore not liable in this case, however will experience delay, which they could have helped to avoid.

What are the fines for non-compliance?

The CBSA assesses $2000.00 per shipment on the first offense and $4000.00 on the second offense and $8000.00 on the third and subsequent offense.

Communication between the Carrier and Importer is crucial to ensure that the cargo is reported by the carrier and the Importer accounts for the goods on the release request. Failure to do so can be a costly mistake. Pacific Customs Brokers is here to assist Carriers and Importers and always compares a shipment’s invoice against a bill of Lading for discrepancy. Unfortunately, we cannot compare against an eManifest, unless we have been contacted to submit it on the Carrier’s behalf. For more information on our eManifest services please call our Carrier Help Desk or email us.

Carriers Care will be a reoccurring post focusing on topics specifically impacting truckers in North America.

How to Import Personal Belongings vs Personal Use Goods

Personal Effects
Importing “goods for personal-use,” and importing “personal belongings” are two completely different types of imports with two very different import procedures. They can be easily confused so let us have a closer look by first defining both types of imports.

Personal Belongings

The definition of personal belongings can vary depending on the reason for import such as settling or travelling. For the purpose of this post, we will only be looking at settling in Canada or the United States.

Personal belongings are assets owned such as clothing, toiletries, furniture, kitchenware and other items you would find in a household. Since there is no sale transaction involved most personal belongings are exempt from duty and taxes. These imports are often declared to customs by the owner of the items directly. It’s important to note that some items are restricted, controlled and prohibited so please check with customs before trying to import.

NOTE: Vehicles, although considered a personal belonging, are subject to specific import rules and time-frames required for processing. Many importers are unaware of this fact and arrive at the border unprepared. This results in significant delays which can be avoided by working with a customs broker.

Goods for Personal-Use

A personal import is a transaction where a seller and a purchaser exchange money for personal-use products. The purchaser is not operating as a business but rather “as an individual.” These goods are purchased from outside of the country and must be imported. A good example of these are online purchases via an eCommerce website.

As you can see from the above, your pre-owned hairbrush has a different “definition” than the hairbrush you just purchased from out of the country. As mentioned at the top of this post, each import is processed a little differently as described below.

How to Declare Personal Belongings

If you are moving to Canada or the U.S., both the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have forms available online to declare the personal goods that are travelling with you, and any to follow if they aren’t able to come in one trip. Once you have all your required forms filled out, the next step is to present them to customs at your first port of entry into the country to which you are settling.

NOTE: If you are not travelling with your goods and have instead used a third-party carrier to ship them (i.e. a container by ocean transport), then you will need to meet your goods at the port of entry and present your forms to customs at that time, which will include your carrier’s cargo control document.

How to Declare Goods for Personal-Use

This is a more intricate process, and it is strongly recommended that you hire a customs broker to ensure your compliance with the regulations, avoid unnecessary delays, and prevent monetary penalties or seizure of goods.

It’s important to note the intricacies:

  • The importer of record (IOR), also known as the person importing the goods, is held entirely responsible for all aspects of the import including the accuracy of the information presented to customs.
  • Each country’s customs authority has very specific import regulations, and these regulations must be followed. Customs considers it the importer’s responsibility to understand the regulations and does not show leniency in cases of ignorance, which can prove fatal to your import goals.
  • Each imported item has its own set of rules and import eligibility requirements. Composition, origin, value, method of transport and end-use each play a different role in steering the importation process. Inexperienced importers often find this most difficult to navigate.
  • Importers are in some cases working with multiple government organizations depending on the commodity. Customs works with Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) that regulate imported goods such as Environment Canada or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure the environment, economy and inhabitants are protected.
  • Documentation requirements are commodity specific. Produce imports require different paperwork than vehicle imports.
  • Accurate calculation of duties and taxes payable are dependent on accurate interpretation of Customs Law. Without a solid understanding, miscalculations can easily occur.

The first step in this import process is to gather all information required to fill out the specific customs forms required for the entry.

Next Steps

The importer can declare the goods themselves by going to customs with all of the required information, and either meet the carrier upon arrival at the first port of entry, obtain their cargo control document, and complete a customs declaration or, hire a customs broker to work with the carrier and complete the declaration on your behalf.

Listed below are a number of resources available to you for this type of import including the step-by-step process. We have provided general regulations and links to forms required for each type of import below.

Canadian Regulations and Forms

U.S. Regulations and Forms

Declaration – Personal Belongings/Household Item (Settling)

  • Must have been in your possession while abroad.
  • Cannot be sold or otherwise disposed of within twelve months of settling.
  • If you are returning to Canada, you must have been away for no less than one year and the items must have been in your possession and use for a minimum of six months.
  • Must be in possession for more than one year
  • Must have been in your possession while aboard
  • Items cannot be be imported for sale or for the account of any other person
  • Cannot include alcoholic beverages or tobacco products
The declaration process into Canada.


The declaration process into the U.S.


Declaration – Personal-Use Goods (Purchased Outside of Country)

A full list of steps to import into Canada for items with a value greater than $20.00. A full list of steps to import into the U.S. for items owned less than a year with a value greater than $800.00.

Declaration – Vehicles

A full list of steps to import vehicles into Canada. A full list of steps to import vehicles into the U.S.

We pride ourselves on providing helpful and useful insight into the difference between imports for personal-use and personal belonging importing. If you are determined to do it yourself, the information you need is within this article; however, if you realize how very intricate personal goods importing can be we are happy to walk you step by step through the process to ensure your import is as quick and painless as possible. We recommend attending one of our seminars or webinars to understand the process or call us toll-free now!