Shipping to Canada FAQs

As an occasional importer there are two parts to consider when importing your goods into Canada. The first is making sure that your goods successfully clear Canadian Customs, and the second is making sure your goods are being shipped in the most cost effective way. The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to guide you through the process of shipping to Canada.

1. How can a freight forwarder help me keep my shipping costs down?

As a freight forwarder we have negotiated rates with different carriers and combine our clients’ shipping volumes to get better pricing than individuals who go directly to a transportation company themselves. Carriers will give reduced pricing to brokers under the understanding that they receive consistent future business.

2. What does Canada Customs require from me when I am importing into Canada?

All goods imported into Canada must be declared to Canada Customs as well as have applicable duties and taxes paid on them. Certain goods have special release requirements to allow entry into Canada and need to be reported to different government departments within Canada. It is important to correctly report goods to Canada Customs to prevent shipping delays, certain fines and penalties, and shipment seizures.

3. How can a Customs Broker help me import into Canada?

Customs brokers act as a third party agent on behalf of companies and individuals importing into Canada. They take shipment information from the vendor and turn this into an official Canada customs submission, so that the goods are registered with Canada Customs before they cross the border.

4. What should I look for when choosing a Customs broker?

When importing personal items you’ll need a Customs broker that has considerable knowledge and experience clearing any type of personal good and who can get all of the required technical information from yourself and your vendor to ensure efficient and delay-free customs clearances.You’ll also need someone who responds quickly to your inquiries, and is genuinely interested in providing you with great customer service. Make sure to ask the company (vendor) you are buying from for a recommended Customs brokerage company. JORI International offers preferred rates to vendors that recommend us to their customers. You will likely access those preferred rates.

For more information on picking the right customs brokerage click the link below:

5. What type of fees should I expect to pay to import my goods?

5% GST on all products other than basic groceries and certain farm equipment
PST, as required provincially for personal goods. Depending on the type of good and where it was made there may be the possibility of paying duty. U.S. made goods may qualify for duty-free NAFTA status. Speak to a broker to find out if your product will be duty-free or not
A customs brokerage fee, this usually translates to less than 5% of the value of the goods

*Remember to ask your vendor about any preferred pricing opportunities*

6. What if my goods have already been shipped but I haven’t been set up with a Customs broker yet?

The Customs broker will need the tracking number and contact information of the carrier you’re using to ship your goods. The Customs broker will either submit the Customs entry at the border for clearance, or at a warehouse in Canada. Once released, the carrier will deliver as per shipping terms. If you choose to use JORI International you can provide our contact information as the Customs broker to the carrier, they will in turn provide us with the documents prior to arriving at the border. We will then submit the Customs entry at the border crossing, possibly saving you costs on warehouse fees.

7. What should I do if my goods have not yet shipped?

JORI can quote your freight costs for shipping the goods so you can compare vendor rates. We can also handle the shipment with door-to-door service, including Customs clearance.

8. What if the vendor I am buying from does not ship to Canada?

If the seller will not ship to Canada, we can have the goods picked up at their location and from there handle the complete shipping process. Another option is to have the goods shipped to an affiliate warehouse of ours in the United States, where we will handle the rest of the transport from there. This can be the better option when companies offer free shipping within the US.

9, How can I set up an account with JORI International?

For account set up we require a one page Single Authorization form completed with your name and contact information as well as a signature. For commercial shipments, we also require the legal business name and GST#.

10. What information does JORI need from me to process my shipment?

Customs Brokerage – A description of what you have ordered as well as the purchase price.

Freight Forwarding – The number of pieces, weight, dimensions, along with pickup and delivery.

11. What payment options does JORI Offer?

We accept all major credit cards as well as e-mail transfers and bank draft. Taxes are billed to you and paid to Canada Customs on your behalf.

Have more Questions? Let us know!

Kylie Woods

Kylie is the Principal of fresh and nimble and she's built brands for non-profits, startups and small businesses alike. Her experience has spanned agency, product management and venture capital. 

Kylie's love for "making things" has gone digital! And while the tools in her Make-It box have changed from glue sticks and pipe-cleaner to a laptop and wifi, the drive to create has remained. Kylie is passionate about helping small business owners and entrepreneurs share their authentic online selves through branding. 

She's the founder of Chic Geek, a non-profit building community for women at the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship.