Foreign Supplier Guidelines

UBC has an international footprint, and works with suppliers from around the world to maintain its position as a leading educational and research institute.

To ensure foreign suppliers align with Canadian government regulations and UBC operating realities, follow the below guidelines when working with UBC.

Payment for Services - Withholding Tax

The non-resident withholding tax on payments for services is a tax withheld, by the payer (UBC), from payment made to non-residents of Canada for services rendered in Canada, other than employment situations. The withholding tax is 15% of the gross amount of the payment and is required under Regulation 105 of the Income Tax Act. For example, payments under maintenance contracts would be subject to withholding if the supplier is required to come to Canada to provide maintenance services under the contract.

If services are performed both in and outside Canada withholding is required only on the services performed in Canada. A reasonable allocation should be made of the payment for services in and outside Canada and should be expressed either within the contract or through related information and documentation. If an allocation is not made and documented, UBC will withhold 15% of the gross amount of the payment for services.

UBC will not accept a 15% increase to the price of the order for the supplier to cover the tax, and instead recommends that the supplier visit the CRA website for guidelines on how to apply for a waiver.

Access CRA Waiver Application


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. All shipments consigned to UBC are reported to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). UBC’s customs broker, Livingston International, holds Power of Attorney to clear customs shipments, prepare customs documentation, and pay duties and taxes on behalf of UBC.

To ensure that a supplier's inbound packages are cleared and not held at the border, the following information is required on the Waybill and/or Commercial Invoice (declaring value for customs, and not purposed for payment):

  • Bill of Lading, customs documents, and NAFTA Certificate of Origin
  • Commercial Invoice or Canada Customs Invoice (CCI)
  • UBC driver worktag (program/project/grant/gift) or PO number must be indicated to cover customs, duties and brokerage fees
  • Country of Origin (where the item was manufactured)
  • Contact name of the receiver of goods, contact phone number and contact email address

Please note: 

  • Failure to reference either the UBC driver worktag (program/project/grant/gift) or PO number on documentation related to the purchase will result in delays to the shipment.
  • Shipments without a valid NAFTA Certificate of Origin will be charged the full rate of duty.

How to manage perishable shipment

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

  • Ensure shipment on a Monday or a Tuesday, for arrival at the border or airport on Thursday morning the latest, so all items can clear customs and be delivered before the weekend.
  • Take into account statutory holidays that fall on a Friday.
  • The UBC speedchart must be referenced on all paperwork to avoid delays.