Archive for the ‘Canada Customs’ Category


Trade Talk – HELP! “I’ve been chosen for a (CBSA) Trade Compliance Verification Audit!”

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Verification list 2017 is out – Are you an importer of these items?

As an Importer of goods into Canada, you may one day be faced with a terrifying reality of being chosen for a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Trade Compliance Audit. You may wonder what your next step should be.

Step 1: Breathe, it may not be as bad as you think. Contact your customs broker and discuss the situation. They will guide you through this process. You are not alone.

Step 2: Understand how an audit works.

The CBSA uses Post Release Verification Audits as a tool to measure trade compliance with the various CBSA programs.  Typically a trade compliance audit will focus on one of three major programs, Tariff, Origin or Valuation.  In all cases, there are two processes by which your company may be chosen for an audit.  

  1. Random Verifications – These verifications are typically focused on the type of goods being imported, the country of origin of the goods, the relationship between the purchaser and the seller, etc.   
  2. Targeted Verification Priorities – Targeted verifications are determined through a risk-based assessment.  A list of verification targets is typically issued by CBSA in January and July of each calendar year.  Each list will carry new items to be verified for compliance with tariff, origin and valuation, and, there will be some items that carry over from previous calendar years.

The January 2017 Trade Compliance Verification Priorities can be found at the following link:


CBSA Verification Audit



Step 3: Educate your team.

Trade Compliance Education:

Pacific Customs Brokers aims to keep importers and exporters informed on changing customs regulations while educating them on the consequences of non-compliance. Whether you are new to importing, exporting or are seeking training on the movement of international goods, our trade compliance program will aim to match your needs.

Related blog post: 7 Excellent Reasons to Invest in Trade Compliance Education

 Trade Advisory Services:

If your company is chosen for a Trade Compliance Audit or Verification Audit, Pacific Customs Brokers is here to help.  Please contact our office as soon as you are notified of your audit, and one of our Certified Trade Compliance Specialists will work with you to guide your business through the audit process.  It is very important that we be brought in right at the beginning to ensure that we can represent your best interests with CBSA to mitigate the impact of any additional duty, penalties or interest that may otherwise be payable.

Our trade advisory services include but are not limited to:

  • Thorough HS database review with ongoing updates
  • Current industry training and education to review transactions completed by customs brokers thereby minimizing errors
  • Experienced counsel on valuation and origins
  • Strategic advice on withstanding a customs audit
  • Firm support through the challenges of the audit process

For more information about our trade compliance audit services, contact us today or learn more at Canada Customs Trade Compliance.


Do you have questions about CBSA’s   trade compliance verification priorities? Use the comments section below to leave us your thoughts or email Ask Your Broker .

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 [email protected]. 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 [email protected]

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.