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Key Players Involved When Importing Into Canada

Importing into Canada involves several key players. Knowing how the supply chain works will help you make the right decisions, cut costs, and avoid legal troubles.

Even if you’re a seasoned importer, a complete know-how of the parties involved can help you move forward with confidence.

Generally, Canadian imports involve 5 parties:

  • Importers
  • Exporters
  • The carrier/freight forwarder
  • Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA)
  • Customs Broker

In this post, we’ll tell you about each one of them and what roles they play in this supply chain.

Importing Into Canada: The Supply Chain


The exporter would be your trading partner. The company, business, or individual you’re buying goods from. For instance, if you’re-importing commercial goods from a business in the US, that business would be the exporter.

An exporter has its own responsibilities to take care of, which include producing the required documents in front of the authorities.

Now, as soon as the exporter fulfills its responsibilities, the carrier company takes over. 

The Carrier/Freight Forwarder

The carrier, as the name suggests, is a part of the supply chain that handles all the freight operations.

It’s the company you work with that transports your goods into Canada.

In some cases vendors will use a freight forwarder instead of dealing with the carrier. A freight forwarder is an intermediary in the shipping process.

They have the responsibility to report any shipments to the Canada Borders Services Agency.  This is done by a manifest, also known as the Cargo Control Document. Once ready, this document is submitted to the customs broker by the carrier or freight forwarder.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

The Canada Border Services Agency is the government body that takes care of all legal aspects attached to imports into the country.

The organization makes sure that all imports follow the country’s tax, border, and trade laws.

Another responsibility of this governmental body is to ensure any other government department requirements are met before imported
goods enter the country.

In addition, it’s in Canada Border Services Agency’s capacity to inspect any shipment.

Importantly, it’s well within the authority of the organization to deny entry of any goods into the country. They can also request any additional information and seize the goods in the shipment.

The Canada Border Services Agency can even levy financial penalties as per the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS).

If you’re thinking of importing something into Canada, you may want to work with our team of dedicated experts.

We’re committed to compliance, so you won’t have to worry about the legalities of the import and can focus on growing your business.

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If you regularly import goods into Canada, you’d know how important your role is.

That’s especially true when you’re not relying on a customs broker to handle everything for you (More on this later).

As an importer, you have certain responsibilities, which include:

  • Identifying and paying for all the duties involved
  • Understanding the tax system and paying according to the law
  • Making sure to present all the information accurately in front of the authorities involved

In short, you need to make sure you’re complying with all the governmental regulations every step of the way.

This can be hard work and a bit risky if you don’t know what you’re doing.

The good thing is that you can completely outsource the technical aspects of importing into Canada. Hiring a customs broker is optional, but it can take virtually all the load off your shoulders.

Customs Broker

If you’ve read this far, you probably have some idea about the role of a Canadian customs broker company.

Before carrying out any custom-related responsibilities, a customs broker needs to be licensed by the government.

The responsibilities of a customs broker include:

Shipment clearance

This involves preparing custom documents for the CSBA and other governmental departments.

Accounting and management

Calculating and paying taxes and duties on behalf of the importer. The accounting documents are then submitted to the government.

This includes arranging the transportation, local delivery, and customs clearance of the goods involved in the trade.

Act as Liaison

Your Customs brokers will assess the documents and making sure they meet any requirements.

Personalized Advice

A committed customs broker helps you play by the book by offering advice every step of the way.

They’ll analyze your business needs and offer personalized advice to help you move in the right direction.

Avoid Costly Delays

Cross-border rules are ever-changing. Customs brokers keep themselves informed about the latest developments in the industry.

They can help you avoid fines, costly delays, and other penalties by the authorities.

Why Work with a Customs Broker?

Clearly, a lot goes into importing into Canada, no matter the country you’re importing from. If you don’t work with a professional, you’ll have a lot on you plate.

Canadian customs brokers are trained to comply with all the legal requirements of the trade.

It may seem more cost-effective to handle everything yourself. But, without the right knowledge and experience, you’ll have a hard
time managing all of it effectively. And, any misstep can lead to legal consequences for your business.

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