Shipping Restrictions for US Brands Importing into Canada

Shipping internationally can be a sign of huge growth for a brand—there are many benefits of expanding sales to Canada. Before you start marketing to Canadian customers, it’s important to get all your import documentation and customs clearance right. Otherwise, you may face penalties, including fines, seizure or prosecution—and that’s going to cost you time and administrative resources to sort out.  

There is a specific list of goods that are prohibited and restricted when importing to Canada. All US brands shipping into need to be fully aware of these lists of goods to make sure they comply with all Canadian customs rules.  

If you are looking for more Canadian shipping resources, find the following:
What is CARM?

If you’re shipping into Canada and you’re curious about the CARM program, get familiar with what you need to change before the October 2023 deadline.

How are Canadian Import Regulations Calculated? 

All import limits and regulations are determined by the types of products you ship, which is designated by the Harmonized System or HS classifications. The HS code system is an international standard administered by The World Customs Organization (WCO). Every product needs to be properly classified using this system to determine exactly the types of materials and goods that are being shipped.  

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) determines how each type of goods are handled and which need specific documentation to pass through customs.  

Shippers need to understand and execute the following in order to get their goods into the Canadian market smoothly and quickly:  

  • Properly classify goods using the HS codes system 
  • Understand the type of permitting and documentation needed for their goods 
  • Clearly label and document their shipments according to Canadian rules