Canadian Customs Broker: Mandatory documents for Canada Customs's Blog on Customs Brokerage and News Updates

Canadian Customs Broker – What documents do i need?

What documents do i need to provide to my Canadian customs broker for a customs clearance?

 canadian customs broker

One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at is “what documents are needed for a customs clearance?” and while you might receive stacks and stacks of documents from your forwarder or shipper, only a few are needed in order to complete a customs clearance with a Canadian Customs Broker.


Mandatory documents for a Canadian customs broker entry:


first things first: to work with a Canadian customs broker, you MUST sign a power of attorney (POA). While this document might seem  a little frightening and confusing with lots of legal jargon, it is essentially just a piece of paper that allows the broker to transact with Canada Customs on your behalf. If a broker does not ask you to sign one of these…its a bad sign! A Canadian customs broker, or any customs broker for that matter, cannot submit paperwork or even inquire with customs on your behalf without having that signed POA. Whichever customs broker you decide to work with will provide you with a copy of their own POA; they are essentially all the same as it is a standard document. 


Your next mandatory document would be the commercial invoice, also known as the bill of sale. The commercial invoice can be written on a napkin, in crayon, or even in blood; but it must include the following information:


  • Sellers name, phone number, and address
  • Buyers name, phone number, and address
  • Description of the goods
  • Country of manufacture of goods


if the commercial invoice does not include the country of manufacture, it is not the end of the word. However, you will need to provide your customs broker with this information. Country of origin is crucial for customs.


the rest of the mandatory documents will now depend on what mode of transport you are using to receive your goods:


  • Ocean Freight
      • manifestThis is a document which indicates the entire cargo listed on a ship as well as the cargo’s container number, bill of lading number, house bill of lading number, vessel ID, as well as any other pertinent information. The manifest will also specify where the cargo is located on the ship.
      • Bill of Lading: this is essentially a receipt for your cargo and doubles as a transportation contract between you and the carrier. The bill of lading also acts as a sort of pink slip. in negotiable form, you can buy, sell, or trade your goods while in transit


  • Air Freight
      • Airway bill: very similar to an ocean bill of lading only that it is never issued in negotiable form therefore offers less protection as you loose title of your goods while in transit. Most if not all pertinent information for the shipment will be on this document


  • Truck Freight
      • PARS: we receive pars in many forms here at Most of the time, the PARS bar code will be affixed to a lead sheet (similar to a bill of lading) indicating the port of crossing, time of crossing, as well as cargo control number. At times, the PARS bar code can be affixed directly to a copy of the commercial invoice with the date & time of crossing as well as cargo control number written in by hand. Either way PARS bar code is a label containing the word PARS withing an alphanumeric string of characters including the CBSA assigned carrier code. The bar code label is scanned at the CBSA border point and will be instantly released based on pre-approval.



Hope that cleared the air. For more information on Canadian Customs Brokerage don’t hesitate to contact us!