Shipments to Canada

Shipments to Canada

Can I ship anything to Canada?

Almost anything. There are some items that are prohibited and were given with restrictions. Prohibited Items include alcohol, furs, ammunition, and collectible coins, among other things. Shipping restrictions control but do not outright prohibit—the shipment of other goods as well. For instance, drugs and medicines can be shipped into Canada, but they must comply with Canadian law.

What paperwork do I need to accomplish?

You need to fill out the necessary document based on the shipment type and your chosen shipment partner. It may include but is not limited to the list below:

  • Bills of Lading (BOLs)
  • Commercial Invoices (CIs)
  • Canada Customs Invoices (CCIs), for commercial shipments valued over $2,500CAD
  • Manifests or Cargo Control Documents (CCDs), which are sometimes required if you’ll be shipping more than one package at a time (as in the case of contract customers shipping via Canada Post)
  • Proof of Delivery (POD), if this isn’t handled directly on the BOL
  • Electronic Export Information (EEI) forms, which replace the former Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) form for controlled exports
  • Import permits, for items that fall under Canadian Other Government Department (OGD) regulations
  • NAFTA Certificates of Origin, if your goods are NAFTA-eligible

You can find blank customs forms on shipping providers’ websites (here are FedEx’s forms, for example), or a shipping software solution can help in pre-filling the relevant forms for you. Depending on the shipping provider you use, you may be able to submit your customs information online via EDI (UPS) or ETD (FedEx). You can also complete your forms online via USPS.  

For high-volume shippers, we encourage you to check on the guidelines from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) helpful. 

What will it cost me to ship to Canada?

Shipping costs vary based on the delivery service you use and are just one cost component when it comes to shipping to Canada. Beyond shipping costs, duties, taxes, tariffs, and other fees must be paid on most goods imported into Canada, with a few exceptions.

Duties, Taxes, and Tariffs

Goods sold into Canada may be subject to duties and taxes, including:

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Harmonized Tax (HST), which combines both GST and provincial taxes in some Canadian provinces
  • Provincial Sales Tax (PST), for provinces not covered by a harmonized tax 
  • Quebec Sales Tax (QST), a taxation scheme used in Quebec province

Here is a full list of applicable tax rates by province can be found. Exceptions to the GST, according to the CBSA, include:

  • Items valued at $20 CAD or less, excluding intoxicating beverages, cigars, cigarettes, manufactured tobacco, publications where the supplier is required to register under the Excise Tax Act, and goods that are split into multiple shipments to get under this limit.
  • Gifts from family or friends who reside outside of Canada, that are valued below $60 CAD. These gifts must be sent personally and be explicitly labeled as a gift.
  • Sellers should confirm that their shipments meet current CBSA exemption guidelines; accidentally (or intentionally) mislabeling shipments as exempt items or gifts can result in penalties. Tariffs may also apply to the mailing of goods containing components manufactured outside of the US.

Sellers should confirm that their shipments meet current CBSA exemption guidelines; accidentally (or intentionally) mislabeling shipments as exempt items or gifts can result in penalties. Tariffs may also apply to the mailing of goods containing components manufactured outside of the US.


Beyond duties, taxes, and tariffs, US shippers may encounter a number of different fees when shipping into Canada. 

For example, take the handling fees and customs brokers’ fees assessed by postal services or courier companies. For these, Canada Post charges a handling fee of $9.95 CAD per dutiable or taxable mail item. Other carriers may assess their own fees as well.

Who pays for these obligations?

These duties and taxes can be paid either by the Sender, Receiver, or Third-party. Shipping providers allow the sender to assign who will be responsible for paying these, however, if the receiver or a third party failed to pay them then, the sender would be responsible to pay for it.

Regarding payment of Canadian sales taxes (GST, HST, PST, and/or QST), be aware that, although Canadian consumers are ultimately responsible for the payment of these taxes, you may be required to collect and remit them directly to the Canadian government.

NOTE: If you ship more than $30,000 CAD of goods into Canada over a four-quarter rolling period, you may need to obtain a Canadian Business Number and register to collect taxes directly.  You may also need to register if you “have a nexus” in Canada; for example, if you have a Canadian bank account or conduct any local advertising. 

There are a few exceptions to these guidelines. Companies selling into British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Quebec may be required to register for and remit PST, regardless of size. Sellers of zero-rated supplies, on the other hand, may be exempted from tax collection requirements.

Regardless of whether your business collects duties, taxes, tariffs, or fees directly—or if it passes them on to buyers—what’s important is that you’re upfront with buyers on your policies and expectations. Clearly state on your website’s product pages, checkout flows, and help desk or support sections which party will be responsible for each fee. If possible, converting fees to CAD before checkout will help buyers understand the full cost of a purchase in order to avoid confusion and frustration.  

    Canada Shipping Provider Options

    The following Canada shipping service options are provided as a starting point only and we encourage you to consult each provider’s requirements and restrictions to ensure your shipment qualifies for the individual services described here.

    Also note, that this list is not comprehensive. Other Canada shipping options are out there and may be appropriate for your shipping needs.

    USPS and Canada Post

    USPS shipping to Canada is a great option for light parcels under 3 lbs. However, be aware that USPS is not a door-to-door provider in Canada. USPS mailings are handed off to Canada Post upon entry into the country. You may want to ask your receiver's preference and if it's convenient for him.

    Popular Service Offerings

    Global Express GuaranteePriority Mail Express International
    Priority Mail International
    First-Class Mail International
    1-3 business days
    3-5 business days
    6-10 business days
    Delivery times vary


    Along with FedEx’s International Ground service, UPS Standard Delivery is a good choice for mailing parcels greater than 3 lbs in weight, as they offer fast service and can guarantee delivery dates in many cases. 

    Popular Service Offerings

    UPS Worldwide Express Plus
    UPS Worldwide Saver
    UPS Worldwide Expedited Shipping
    UPS Standard Delivery
    Next business day
    Next business day2 business days
    3+ business days; from 48 contiguous US states only


    Like UPS’s Standard Delivery service, FedEx’s International Ground to Canada service is a good choice for less-urgent shipments for which you still need the certainty of day-definite delivery.

    Popular Service Offerings

    DHL Express

    DHL Express offers a suite of next-day offerings that can reach major Canadian business centers as early as 9:00 am on routes that guarantee next-day delivery.

    Popular Service Offerings

    DHL Express Worldwide 
    DHL Express 9:00
    DHL Express 12:00
    Next business Days
    Next business day; before 9:00 am
    Next business day; before 12:00 PM

    Keep in mind the success of your service by making sure that the shipment is processed well. Monitor the shipment from time to time and answer your customer's inquiries to meet their expectations.

    Here are helpful articles you can use if you need assistance in creating shipment orders: