In an October 2020 release by CBSA, it was announced that the Turnaround Interim Policy would be expiring the following month. This policy is relevant to importers that use highway carriers to move their goods. 

Now, it is required that highway carriers must be in compliance with CBSA’s commercial reporting requirements for the movement and control of unreleased goods in Canada. (Read the CBSA release here: Sunsetting of the CBSA Turnaround Interim Policy for Highway Carriers).

In an article on this policy expiration, Jaclyne Reive, Associate Lawyer at Miller Thomson LLP, explains the current situation: 

“ACI / eManifest requirements have been mandatory for highway carriers since January 2016, but the Policy has provided a reprieve for non-compliant carriers. Highway carriers transporting goods into Canada are required to transmit cargo and conveyance data electronically to the CBSA a minimum of one hour prior to the time that the shipment arrives at the border.

This enables the CBSA to effectively manage high risk goods by identifying threats to health, safety and security prior to arrival of a shipment in Canada, allow low risk goods a more efficient process at the border, and control the movement of in bond goods.”

highway carrier importer

What is the Turnaround Interim Policy? 

Implemented in 2017, this policy was put forth to allow carriers to return to the U.S. to avoid penalties if they were non-compliant with regulations. In essence, the policy acted as an interim solution for CBSA to review and improve their compliance monitoring system and activities relating to the ACI/eManifest process.

It also allowed the highway carrier industry to build its own policies related to the ACI/eManifest to avoid penalties for non-compliance.

Why did CBSA decide to sunset the policy in Nov 2020? 

This decision was made as a result of CBSA weighing out various regulatory obligations (health, safety, etc.) over the needs of the industry at large. To be considered a successful phasing-out, it will require the continued cooperation between parties — CBSA as well as highway carriers (and other parties involved in the supply chain. Like importers!).

Following the sunset of the policy, the CBSA will ensure to focus on education and outreach as a primary compliance mechanism.

The “Interim Measures and Issuance of penalties to highway carriers for non-compliance of Advanced Commercial Information (ACI) requirements” were always a temporary solution, so there should be no surprises here.

Now what? 

Now that the policy has expired, it must be noted that highway carriers arriving in Canada without completing the ACI / eManifest documentation (cargo and conveyance data — in the correct timeline, no less!) will not be permitted to move past their port of arrival. This also goes for incomplete or inaccurate documentation.

Further to this, they may be subject to penalties as well. It is up to CBSA’s full discretion to decide on a course of action in the event that any of the above situations happen. The regulation simply states that they will review the circumstances and apply penalties as warranted.

Ensuring compliance starts with building a harmonious relationship across the supply chain. This means solid communication with producers, manufacturers, exporters, importers, carriers, etc. A customs broker or customs consultant can help bridge the gap between these parties and make sure that everyone is compliant with the destination country. Which is, in this case, Canada.

If you’d like to start a conversation with a broker to see how they can help, click here