Clearit.ca's Blog on Customs Brokerage and News Updates
When having goods shipped to Canada, unless shipped by courier, you will require the services of a Customs broker. While it is not mandatory to use a Customs Broker to transact with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), it is highly recommended to do so as even the smallest of errors can lead to heavy penalties. For a small fee, a Customs Broker will ensure that your commercial goods are entering the country legally, are properly documented and accounted for, and that all Duties and Taxes owing have been paid.
In order to achieve a customs clearance on goods being transported commercially, your customs broker will transmit via EDI a copy of a B3 (Customs accounting form) which will then be accepted or rejected by Customs. In order to complete the B3 form, you will need to provide your Customs Broker with a copy of the commercial invoice (bill of sale) as well as have your transport company forward a shipment manifest with the unique shipment identifier (PARS, Cargo Control number) as well as border crossing information.
If hand carrying goods across the border (in your own vehicle by your own persons), you can simply declare the items at the window when speaking to a CBSA officer. Depending on the time spent outside of the country, you may be able to take advantage of personal exemptions. Should you present items with a value over your personal exemption limit (click here for personal exemption limits) you will be asked to pull into customs, declare your items, and pay any duties and/or taxes owed.