What CBSA Will Do to Streamline Canadian Trade in 2021 |

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What CBSA Will Do to Streamline Canadian Trade in 2021

Last month, a press release by the government of Canada was released, outlining the steps that the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) will be taking to protect Canadian trade this year. 

Without a doubt, 2020 was a rocky year for Canadian business, so CBSA making a clear public statement that they are hard at work to protect importers and exporters is very welcome. The release was published on International Customs Day (January 26), which is celebrated by other border agencies around the world. You can read more about this day here.

This year’s theme for International Customs Day? “Customs bolstering recovery, renewal and resilience for a sustainable supply chain.” 

Despite major challenges, CBSA was able to increase the number of weapons seized at the border — up 135%. In addition, the total value of all the drugs and tobacco that were seized sits around $342 million. Furthermore, the release states that:

“Trade Compliance Officers determined that a foreign importer of personalized stationaries contravened the Customs Act resulting in $1.9 million CAD in customs duties, GST and interest recovered. The total amount of duties and taxes (customs duties, surtaxes and GST) assessed nationally from January 1 to October 31, 2020 was approximately $24 million.”

Below, we’ll be discussing the various measures CBSA are putting in place to strengthen the Canadian economy, supply chains, and businesses for 2021. 

Facilitated entry of COVID-19 vaccines and PPE: They have put processes forth that will expedite customs releases in order to quicken their entry into Canada. As of now, almost 80 shipments from Pfizer and Moderna have entered since December 2020. 

The introduction of Electronic Longroom: Electronic Longroom is a digital platform that includes email and stamping, which enables commercial importers to forgo submitting paper documents, which limits physical interaction and increases the speed of documentation on both ends.  

Going digital and “touchless”: In fact, in addition to Electronic Longroom, the report states that eliminating (or reducing) paper processing with technology, CBSA was able to save resources and cost for the clearance of goods into Canada. The clearance review process went from a 3-day endeavor to a few hours.

canadian trade platform

Special exemptions from quarantining measures for certain parties: Some are exempt from the mandatory quarantine to ensure that essential services as well as supply chains can be maintained throughout this period. Canadian and American workers that are deemed critical to our economy and infrastructure are allowed to enter into Canada (medical works, truck drivers, firefighters, etc.). 

No measures for food or medical supplies: There are various types of goods, including food and medical goods that must have a continued flow into Canada. As such, there are no restrictions on commercial shipments — or measures that render these goods as “non-essential”.


“CBSA officers are among Canada’s important frontline workers, protecting Canadians day and night by keeping our border secure, reducing the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining the flow of essential goods to strengthen Canada’s economy. […] It is thanks to their dedication that the essential goods needed most right now, such as the vaccines and personal protective equipment, get cleared at the border as soon as possible for entry into Canada.” – The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

We will continue to keep importers updated as we learn more about what 2021 holds for Canadian trade professionals and businesses. If you would like to partner up with one of our customs experts to ensure the smooth flow of your commercial goods into Canada, you can start a conversation here