Importers & Remote Work: Mistakes To Watch Out For |'s Blog on Customs Brokerage and News Updates

Importers & Remote Work: Mistakes To Watch Out For

Most working professionals are doing their work from a home office, as a result of current times. Importers (and many other people across the logistics sector) are no exception to this, as stipulated by government directives. 

As such, importers must be hyper-vigilant in order to prevent mistakes. As trade law & sales tax firm lawyer, Cyndee Todgham Cherniak, states:

“[…] Business is not as usual. Importers have to adjust […]. Most employees and managers are working from home, which means the control over information is diminished or non-existent.”

We’ve been covering a lot of the considerations that importers must take during the pandemic. Today, we’d like to draw your attention to possible errors or missteps that importing businesses can make while working from home.

Here are 6 mistakes to watch out for while work-from-home orders are still in place: 

1- Missing documents & record keeping

It’s certainly a possibility that employees are working on various devices, with various paperwork and digital documentation. It may be tricky to retrieve all of these documents when this remote working arrangement ends. However, CBSA may ask for these documents in the event of an audit. 

Failure to produce documents can result in a hefty fine. To make sure all employees are working from the same place, it might be ideal to work from a centralized database in the cloud.

importer remote work

2- Not obtaining the correct license & permits 

For certain goods, it is required to have a license to import. In the most recent context, importers moving medical goods and personal protective equipment are required to have certain information and the correct licenses.

This is just one example, but import permits and licensing is required. When the import arrives, it may result in a seizure or fine by CBSA.

3- Not meeting “Reason-to-Believe” deadlines

Genuine mistakes happen sometimes. CBSA is aware of this, enforcing a 90 day deadline to correct any possible errors in tariff classification, country of origin, or value of goods. With so much up in the air right now, it is difficult to keep track of these deadlines.

Unfortunately, the 90 day deadline has not changed in the advent of the pandemic.

4- Failing to identify fraud documents

Trade lawyer Cyndee Todgham Cherniak warns:

“Many opportunists have surfaced to profiteer. […] For example, a seller of fraudulent personal protective equipment may provide paperwork showing that they have CBSA approval, but use Canada Customs and Revenue Agency on the paperwork — a government entity that hasn’t existed for years.” 

That’s just one example, but with this work from home arrangement, it may be trickier for importers to verify the validity of these documents. Stay vigilant.

5- Importing counterfeit items

Paperwork is not the only thing that could be scammed. Any kind of counterfeit goods are absolutely prohibited and can’t be imported into Canada. In the face of this, CBSA will take quick action and penalize the involved parties.

It’s possible that employees may be approached by a new supplier and not be aware that the goods in question are counterfeit.

6- Missing new regulatory & market developments

Changing work situations might be a distraction, as employees adjust and get back into a good flow. It might happen that during this time, they miss information put out by governing bodies.

Closer attention must be paid to CBSA released and so forth to ensure compliance and implementation.


 This change in working arrangements can be difficult, but it’s important to continue your vigilance as an importer during this time.

Staying informed, apprised of regulatory changes, and organized will keep things running smoothly during this time. It is an opportune time to team up with a reputable customs broker to ensure everything is in order and your goods arrive in Canada with ease.

You can start the conversation with a broker here.