For most, importing into Canada is a seamless process. Whenever goods are brought across international borders, however, there’s always a possibility that they might be held for Customs examination before being released. The Customs Act, entitles the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to do this.
In the event that your shipment is selected for Customs examination, this need not necessarily be cause to immediately start hyperventilating. There are plenty of legitimate and innocuous reasons why the CBSA may choose to examine your particular batch of goods. Here are just a few examples:
Whilst many import inspections take place completely at random, certain considerations may increase the likelihood that goods will undergo an exam at customs clearance. One such factor will be if you, or if third parties or companies connected with the import of your shipment or supply chain, have a history of non-compliance on record. In this respect, you might like to take a look at Simple Steps Importers Can Take to Avoid Costly Mistakes. Aside from repeat offenders, first-time importers may also be more vulnerable to checks in order to establish their credibility.
Certain categories of goods are also more susceptible to customs examination. The CBSA intermittently publishes a Trade Compliance Verifications List, stipulating which items are most likely to be targeted due to frequent misclassification. Ultimately, the underlying reason for any bias in the inspection process is to keep us all safe from harm – so don’t be too quick to judge the CBSA if you’re goods are on the receiving end of an exam!
Customs examinations are carried out by border services officers, who are under a duty to preserve the integrity of containerized cargo and follow stringent and high-security resealing policies. They must also notify the importer, broker or carrier when a container has been subjected to examination and provide details of replacement seal serial numbers.
The goods themselves will be held in a bonded facility until they satisfy CBSA requirements for entry. The Customs examination officers are generally very efficient, meaning that delivery of your shipment is unlikely to be delayed for more than a couple of days at most.
The red tape involved in securing your goods following a Customs examination can be complex. Well-established customs brokerage firms like Orbit Brokers & Forwarders Inc. are on hand to help answer any questions you may have. We have decades of experience ensuring importers’ goods are compliant, with the correct import permits and other supporting documentation. To discuss examinations, or for any other customs-related queries, just give us a call at (905) 673-8798.