Costs to Plan for when Importing to Canada |'s Blog on Customs Brokerage and News Updates

4 Unexpected Costs you Need to Plan for when Importing to Canada

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. While we can plan for nearly everything, there is always something unexpected that comes up. This is especially true in the business world. Importing into Canada doesn’t have to be difficult, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it will be easy.

Imagine, you found the perfect source for your new product line after months or years of planning and effort. You traveled across the globe to meet with a manufacturer that can produce a quality product on your company’s time frame. You calculated any packaging and labeling requirements that would be needed. You found the perfect freight forwarder to move your goods and manage the process. You worked with a customs broker to carefully research and plan the customs clearance process. You know all about:

  • Terms of sale
  • Import documents
  • Tariffs
  • Tariff classifications
  • Financing

…And much more!

You are ready. Your homework is done. You have purchased the perfect product and developed a plan to get it to the right place in perfect timing at a good price point. You still have more costs to consider…

4 Unexpected Costs to Plan for when Importing into Canada

Importing into Canada comes at a cost – an unexpected cost. Some of these unexpected costs can be prevented. Some of these costs cannot be prevented, even if you do everything right.

Here are the four unexpected costs to plan for when importing into Canada:

  • Food Inspection Exams

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is Canada’s primary guard dog when it comes to the importation of any food products or plants. CFIA conducts independent investigations and usually does so on site. CFIA offers standard inspection costs. However, if your food product is held in detention, then you’ll face hefty charges. If bugs or insects are found in your packages, the goods will be immediately exported at the cost of the importer.

  • Detention and Storage Fees

If your goods sit at the dock or rail yard over the allotted amount of free time, you will be forced to pay a fee. These fees are usually assessed to rail or ocean freight. Allotted free time is usually between one to three days. Avoiding these fees is easy if you have all your documents and instructions in order before arrival. You should also have a customs broker verifying your container arrives on final delivery.

  • AMPS Penalties

The Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) was created in 2002 in Canada. The system covers a number of importing and exporting issues and infractions. There are many penalties an importer could encounter when entering Canada. These penalties range from $150-$25,000 CAD. If you do receive a penalty from AMPS, then you’ll want to correct your mistake on any future importing. Fines increase for multiple infractions.

  • Customs Exams

Custom exams costs are unavoidable. Customs agencies worldwide have the right to examine any goods entering their country. This is just the way importing and exporting works. First-time importers should plan for an examination. If you import from countries deemed as high risk, you should plan for an examination as well. Custom exam costs typically range from $550-$3,500 CAD.