Importing Goods into Canada

All shipments entering Canada must be cleared through Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) prior to their delivery to the University.

Shipments valued at $20.00 CAD or greater are eligible for payment of duties and/or taxes and require a formal release entry to clear Customs. Please note that personal shipments must not be addressed to the University.

Departments and units are responsible for managing the shipping of goods ordered. 

If UBC is the Importer of Record then UBC is responsible for the customs compliance and clearance of goods crossing the Canadian border.

Failure to meet government regulations and requirements will result in heavy fines to the University.
Steps on importing goods into Canada
  1. Create a Purchase Order (if above $3,500 CAD inclusive of taxes) or place the order with your supplier. 
  2. Supplier prepares the order for shipping along with the following documents:
    • Bill of Lading
    • Customs documents
    • CUSMA (Canada-United Stated-Mexico-Agreement) Certificate of Origin (if required)
    • Commercial Invoice - UBC Worktags must be included
      • For chemical shipments, please include the HS Code or CSA Registry Number.
      • Customs value (cannot be $0 even for donations)
    • Identify Thompson Ahern as the customs broker of record on the supplier documentation.
    • For truck/land shipments
      • 'PARS' or Cargo Control Number (CCN)
      • Carrier contact information
  3. Supplier sends all documentation to both the carrier/courier and Thompson Ahern International (ubc@taco.ca) when the shipment is picked up.
    • Note: Having the supplier copy on the email may ease tracking and getting status updates in the future.
  4. Thompson Ahern prepares B3 Customs Entry and transmits it electronically to CBSA.
  5. CBSA determines whether to release or inspect the goods when the shipment arrives at the border.
  6. Once the shipment is released at Customs, it will be delivered to you, the customer.
  7. Upon receipt, you should confirm that there is no damage to the product and verify the accuracy of the packing slip, quantity of product, and the information on your invoice.
Tracking Shipments

Note: Before a shipment can be cleared by Canadian customs (CBSA), the shipment should be at a CBSA bonded facility or at a Canadian port of entry. The online status of a shipment may only reflect the next stage of the shipping process and may not confirm the physical location of the shipment.

To ensure that your inbound packages are cleared and not held at the border, the following information is required on the Waybill and/or Commercial Invoice:

  • Bill of Lading
  • Customs documents
Required information for customs clearance

To ensure that your inbound packages are cleared and not held at the border, the following information is required on the Waybill and/or Commercial Invoice:

  • Bill of Lading
  • Customs documents
  • CUSMA (Canada-United Stated-Mexico-Agreement) Certificate of Origin (if required)
  • Commercial Invoice or Canada Customs Invoice (CCI)
    • UBC Worktags (program, project, grant, or gift) or Purchase Order must be indicated
  • Country of Origin (where the item was manufactured)
  • Contact name of the receiver of goods
  • Contact phone number
  • Contact email address
  • UBC Worktags (program, project, grant, or gift) or Purchase Order number to cover customs, duties and brokerage fees
  • Please list Thompson Ahern International as the import broker
  • For truck/land shipments
    • 'PARS' or Cargo Control Number (CCN)
    • Carrier contact information

Please note:

  • Failure to reference the end-user's Worktags on the vendor's documentation related to the purchase will result in delays in shipment.
  • Shipments without a valid CUSMA Certificate of Origin will be charged the full rate of duty.
Managing perishable shipments

To manage items that are on dry ice or other perishable items that need to cross the border:

  • Ensure that the vendor ships on a Monday or a Tuesday, for arrival at the border or airport on Thursday morning at the latest, so all items can clear customs and be delivered before the weekend.
  • Take into account statutory holidays that fall on Friday
  • The department Worktags such as program, project, grant, or gift must be referenced on all paperwork to avoid delays.

Failure to provide all required information can result in delays and could lead to perished items.

For questions or concerns regarding perishable shipments, please submit a Workday support request through the UBC Self Service Portal.

Receiving donations from outside of Canada

For donated items please ensure the followings are declared on the statement:

  • The shipper issues a statement on letterhead stating " Donated to the University of British Columbia"
  • Full description of item(s)
  • Value
  • Country of origin

 

Receiving shipments of specific dollar value

Thompson Ahern International clears all shipments. To ensure that shipments are not delayed or held at the border, UBC Worktags such as program, project, grant, or gift must be on all documents. Thompson Ahern International may contact you directly if UBC Worktags are not provided, potentially resulting in delayed shipment.

For further questions about this process or your UBC Worktag, please submit a Workday support request through the UBC Self Service Portal.

Customs fees

Thompson Ahern will prepay the expense of the custom on behalf of UBC and will provide a spreadsheet outlining a total cost breakdown on the 25th of every month.

Financial Operations reconciles these charges and remits payment back to Thompson Ahern before the end of every month, and subsequently charges the departments based on the UBC Worktags provided.

Charges will be applied to the UBC Worktags provided under spend category Customs, Duties, Tariffs and Tax and will reference the invoice number from Thompson Ahern.

For a detailed breakdown of the charges, please submit a Workday support request through the UBC Self Service Portal.

The total cost has multiple components which may include the following:

  • GST
  • Applicable Duties
  • Brokerage Fee
  • Administration Cost
Receiving imported parcel post shipments

Imported Parcel Post Shipments are any shipments imported by mail into Canada. They are delivered to the University Postal Outlet. On behalf of CBSA, Canada Post will notify departments that a parcel is available for pick up. Please be prepared to pay:

  • Applicable duties
  • Taxes
  • Handling fees

The above information is assessed on the Customs Postal Import Form (E-14). For more information, visit Canada Post or CBSA.