top of page

Marine Container Examination Process

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has a mandate to ensure that all goods entering Canada do not pose a risk to the health, safety, and security of Canadians, while facilitating the free-flow of legitimate goods.

The vast majority of marine containers shipments are processed and authorized by the CBSA to enter Canada without delay. A small percentage of containers is selected by the CBSA for examination, based on a comprehensive risk assessment and random selection, using state of the art technology to facilitate the examination process at no cost to the importer.


The commercial examination process consists of key stakeholders with distinct roles in moving containers into Canada. The CBSA is responsible for the examination of marine containers, but does not control, influence, or charge for the:

  • movement of containers to and from the CBSA; and

  • offloading and reloading of containers.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

What is CETA?

The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is helping to create jobs, strengthening economic relations and boosting Canada's trade with the world’s second-largest market. CETA is a progressive free trade agreement which covers virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-EU trade in order to eliminate or reduce barriers. For example, prior to CETA’s entry into force, only 25 percent of EU tariff lines on Canadian goods were duty-free. With CETA, 98 percent of EU tariff lines are now duty-free for Canadian goods. Once CETA is fully implemented, the EU will have eliminated tariffs on 99 percent of its tariff lines.

Customs Tariff

The Customs Tariff is based on the World Customs Organization's (WCO) Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS).

However, if you have questions regarding tariff classification, rates of duty, permits or other CBSA programs please contact the CBSA's computerized, 24-hour telephone service (Border Information Service) at 1-800-461-9999, available free of charge throughout Canada; press "0" to speak directly with an agent during regular business hours, Monday to Friday (08:00 to 16:00 local time except holidays). From outside Canada call 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064, long distance charges will apply. TTY is also available within Canada: 1-866-335-3237.

The CBSA also offers advance rulings for tariff classification which provide binding, written advice as to the classification of a product

No Decleration Required (NDR)

The following goods do not have to be reported on an export declaration (CAED or B13A) . They are listed in sections 6 and 7 of the Reporting of Exported Goods Regulations and are further explained in Memorandum D20-1-1, Export Reporting:


Non-restricted goods exported for consumption in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (except for trains, railcars and locomotives).


Non-restricted commercial goods having a value of less than CAN$2,000.


Non-restricted personal and household effects, other than those of an emigrant, that are not for resale or commercial use.
(Exception: permanently exported conveyances)


Non-restricted goods exported from Canada on a temporary basis by using ATA carnet, numbers are required as part of the NDR.


Non-restricted goods that were temporarily imported and documented on a Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit , and are subsequently exported; E29B numbers are required as part of the NDR.


Non-restricted cargo containers, reusable skids, drums, pallets, straps and similar goods used in the international commercial transportation of goods.


Non-restricted goods exported by a diplomatic embassy or mission personnel for their personal or official use.
(Exception: permanently exported conveyances)


Personal gifts of non-restricted goods.
(Exception: permanently exported conveyances and commercial goods)


NDR9 is no longer in use.


Non-restricted goods exported for repair or warranty repair regardless of value that will be returned to Canada.


Non-restricted goods imported for repair or addition and are subsequently exported, where the value of the repair or addition is less than CAN $2,000.


Non-restricted goods for use as ship's stores by a Canadian carrier.


Non-restricted goods manufactured or produced outside Canada and removed for export from a bonded warehouse or sufferance warehouse.


Non-restricted goods, other than goods exported for further processing, that will be returned to Canada within 12 months after the date of exportation.


Non-restricted goods being exported due to an emergency or goods exported on behalf of the Department of National Defence and reported orally according to section 15 of The Reporting of Exported Goods Regulations.


Other (this includes non-restricted goods used for unique situations).
For this category, the reason for the NDR must be pre-authorized by the CBSA.

Courier Low Value Shipment (CLVS)

he CBSA's Courier Low Value Shipment (CLVS) Program is intended to help simplify the process to import low value goods. The program streamlines the customs processing of shipments valued at Can$2,500 or less and provides the courier industry with expedited release.

How does this program affect me?

Your shipment may be part of the CLVS Program if:

  • The goods are worth Can$2,500 or less,

  • The company handling the shipment participates in the CLVS Program, and

  • The goods are not prohibited, regulated or controlled.

What do I need to know?

  • If your goods are for personal use, your courier company may take care of the customs details for you.

  • If your goods are for commercial use, specific restrictions apply.

  • If you are a carrier company interested in participating in the program, find out more about the application process.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is a free trade agreement between Canada and ten other countries in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. CPTPP received Royal Assent on October 25, 2018 and is scheduled to come into force on December 30, 2018 for the first six countries to have ratified the agreement — Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Singapore. Additionally, the agreement will enter into force for Vietnam on January 14, 2019.

Under the CPTPP, customs duties will immediately be eliminated or reduced on almost all imports between the participating countries. The duties on some agricultural goods and on a few other products will be eliminated or reduced through an agreed upon tariff phase-out period. Please see the consolidated text of the CPTPP agreement for more detail on the tariff elimination schedule for each country. 

Proof of Origin
In order to claim the preferential tariff treatment, a set a data elements referred to as a ‘certification origin’ must be provided by the exporter, producer or importer of the goods by adding the information to any document (e.g., Commercial Invoice) accompanying the shipment or if preferred, by providing it on a separate document. The data elements do not have to follow a prescribed format but must contain the minimum data elements listed below. In addition, the imported goods must originate and be exported from a CPTPP ratified country.

  1. Indicate the Certifier (Importer, Exporter or Producer)

  2. Name, Address and Contact Information of the Certifier

  3. Name, Address and Contact Information of the Exporter (if different from the certifier)

  4. Name, Address and Contact Information of the Producer (if different from the certifier, or exporter)

  5. Name, Address and Contact Information of the Importer

  6. Description and HS Tariff Classification for the Goods

  7. Origin Criterion for the Goods

  8. Blanket Period

  9. Authorized Signature and Date

Note: The certification of origin must be signed and dated by the Certifier and accompanied by the following statement:

“I certify that the goods described in this document qualify as originating and the information contained in this document is true and accurate. I assume responsibility for proving such representations and agree to maintain and present upon request or to make available during a verification visit, documentation necessary to support this certification”

For full details regarding the minimum data requirements for the certification of origin, please refer to Annex 3-B of the CPTPP agreement.


Important Information

  • Commercial goods. Products valued less than CA$1600 do not require a certification of origin to claim CPTPP preferential tariff treatment. Instead, only a signed statement completed by the importer, exporter or producer certifying that the goods originated from a CPTPP country, is required on the commercial invoice or any other supporting document.

  • Casual goods. The country of origin, for goods other than for sale or for commercial use, must be from a CPTPP country and clearly marked on any accompanying supporting documents (e.g., Commercial Invoice and Air waybill) to benefit from the preferential tariff treatment. In addition, there must be no marks to indicate that the goods are not a product of a CPTPP country.

  • CPTPP preferential tariff treatment. Will reduce or eliminate duties but does not affect import taxes. All applicable taxes will be assessed accordingly.

  • Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQ). Quota limits are still in effect for many agriculture products and will differ for each participating country (e.g., personal importations of cheese and some dairy products into Canada are limited to CA$20 per person).


  • Improved access for trade. Provides Canadian companies access to key foreign markets that represent 495 million people and 13.5% of the global GDP.

  • Increased savings. CPTPP will eliminate or reduce tariffs (duties) on almost all commodities and lessen non-tariff barriers.

  • Streamlined regulation. CPTPP will establish a framework for trade in the Asia-Pacific region that will make it easier for countries to transact business with each other.

  • Foreign Investment. Greater access, stability, transparency and protection for Canadian investors.

Single Window Initiative (SWI)

The Single Window Initiative (SWI) is a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)-led program that modernizes and aligns Canadian and U.S. import processing procedures under the Beyond the Border Action Plan. Through the SWI Initiative, traders are able to provide all required import information – including information required by Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) electronically to the CBSA. In turn, the CBSA transmits any applicable data elements directly to the participating PGA(s) for their review. The applicable PGA(s) review the transmitted information and provide release, or hold, instructions back to the CBSA. The CBSA then transmits this information back to the applicable filer.

This single integrated solution provides the trade community with the option to satisfy the regulatory import requirements of multiple government agencies via a single electronic transmission of shipment information through the Integrated Import Declaration (IID). This streamlines the importing process, eliminates redundancies, and ideally reduces clearance times for shipments requiring formal entries.

What do importers need to do?

To fully benefit from the SWI, importers must ensure that all required licenses and/or permits are provided with their shipment documentation and to keep apprised of the latest information updates via the CBSA’s SWI website.

Participating Government Agencies

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency 

  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission 

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada 

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada 

  • Global Affairs Canada 

  • Health Canada 

  • Natural Resources Canada 

  • Public Health Agency of Canada 

  • Transport Canada

bottom of page