CUSTOMS 101

Before you buy something outside of Canada/import anything into Canada, please consider the following:

  • Everything has a value in Canada Border Service Agency’s eyes, so even if the item did not cost you anything, it is still subject to duties and taxes, where applicable, when it crosses the border.
  • There will be brokerage fees to clear the shipment through customs of approximately $11 plus taxes, but that can vary. In most instances, you will also be charged GST on the CAD value of the goods by the University’s customs broker, and have PST self-assessed by the University. These are government requirements.
  • Procurement Services will be contacted by the customs broker to authorize the clearance of shipment. We will then reach out to you to confirm and get an account number to charge for the customs fees. This can cause delays depending on how quickly we can provide the information to the broker.
  • Any missing paperwork, permits etc. from the vendor could cause delays at the border. This is particularly problematic for perishable shipments.
  • And of course….the currency exchange!
  • Before you ship something outside of Canada, other than documents, please email procurement@carleton.ca with the following information so a customs invoice can be prepared to go with the shipment:
    • Shipping from address, contact person and phone number.
    • Shipping to address, contact person and phone number.
    • Complete description of items being shipped, including quantities and dollar value and whether the goods are hazardous, perishable or being shipped on dry ice.
    • If an item is being returned for repair, please indicate if it is a warranty repair. If it is under warranty, there are no tax implications when the item is returned to Canada. If it is not under warranty, please provide the approximate value of the repair, not of the goods itself.
    • Weight of the shipment.
    • Which carrier you are using to ship the goods, and a waybill number if you have it.

    Procurement Services is here to assist with any customs issues for university goods being shipped into or out of Canada. Please contact us at ext. 3622 or procurement@carleton.ca if you have any questions.

    The University’s customs broker is Thompson Ahern International.