Are My Goods Admissible Into Canada?

Can I import (insert your goods here) into Canada? This is a question we are asked often. How can a commercial importer or freight forwarder ensure that what they would like to ship into Canada is admissible for import?

In this blog we will take a look at the steps Importers and Freight Forwarders can take to ensure their goods are not on the ‘forbidden list’ and denied entry.

All commodities are regulated at the border, it just depends to what extent. Some are only regulated by CBSA, some are additionally regulated by other domestic Participating Government Agencies. This means that a Government Agency (referred to as a Participating Government Agency in Canada, and abbreviated to PGA) also reviews the entry declaration upon submission to Customs prior to release.

If your commodity is a highly regulated one, you may be subject to multiple PGA reviews before access to Canadian commerce will be granted. Therefore the first step is to understand which PGA’s regulate the goods you wish to import.

Admissibility Check For Commercial Imports Into Canada

All commercial shipments destined for Canada must be electronically declared to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) by either yourself or your Customs broker. The electronic declaration captures the additional information shared with the Participating Government Agencies that regulate goods in Canada.

Example of frequently regulated import commodities:

Vehicles/Machinery For Road/Off-Road Use

Tires, automobiles, motorcycles, heavy-duty equipment, trailers, forklifts, etc are all regulated by Transport Canada. Engines are regulated by Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

Looking to import vehicles or machinery into Canada? Check out our Step-by-Step blog

Food (Processed, UnProcessed: Produce, Meat, Fish, etc.)

All food is regulated by the Canadain Food Inspection Agency and Fisheries and Oceans Canada is for seafood. Meat, eggs, wheat/barley, and dairy products can be regulated by Global Affairs Canada depending on if special permits or quota is required. Visit our web page for more information on how to import food products into Canada.

Consumer Goods

Goods sold to Canadain consumers span a wide range of commodities. Clothing and textiles are regulated by Global Affairs Canada, natural health products, cosmetics, and children's toys are regulated by Health Canada.

For information on other commodities, please visit our website:

Is your commodity missing from the above? Check out of PGA guide here for a full list.

Troubleshooting Denied Entry Requests

If an importer has not done their due diligence and checked for admissibility before the carrier arrives at the border, a couple of issues could come up:

1) The shipment is denied entry:

There are very few goods that are not allowed entry into Canada. If your goods are on that list, then CBSA will ask you to immediately export the shipment(s) from Canada. The importer would then need to work with the carrier to create a new shipment manifest out of Canada to a country where it is allowed entry. The shipping costs for this type of troubleshooting can be steep. Therefore an alternative that many importers find themselves in this position is to destroy the goods.

2) The shipment is delayed:

If your goods are subject to PGA review, but those requirements were not fulfilled by the time the carrier reaches the port, your goods will be denied entry until those requirements are met. In many cases, the shipment will be allowed to travel to a bonded warehouse or yard. They must remain at that bonded facility until the import requirements are met.

Admissibility Check For International Freight Shipments Destined For Canada

Carriers who are shipping goods can avoid potential delays at the port of entry by ensuring that the importer has:

  1. Ensured the importer has researched that goods are admissible into Canada, and has prepared appropriate documentation for Customs clearance
  2. A Customs Broker is in place, and you know who they are to confirm
have questions about compliance regulations?
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About Author
Lisa Stevenson

Lisa has been working in the international trade industry for over 15 years, with 11 years highway transportation expertise. A Kwantlen Polytechnic University School of Business Alumni in Marketing Management, Lisa works on behalf of importers and exports to translate complicated industry regulation into easy to understand tasks they can implement. In 2017 she was invited to speak at the Vancouver Fashion Week Export Workshop, helping international designers to understand textile import and export in Canada. She is well versed in Canadian and U.S. Customs brokerage trade topics and is currently studying for the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers Certified Customs Specialist designation.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.