Tariffs and regulations

Tariffs and duty rates are constantly revised and are subject to change without notice. Austrade strongly recommends you reconfirm these prior to selling to Canada.

For further information please visit Canada Border Services Agency.


Canada classifies imported goods according to the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System (HS). Importers have to provide a complete description of their goods so that the correct tariff classification can be assigned to those goods. Tariff classifications can be appealed to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.

Most goods imported into Canada from Australia are subject to the Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff although there are some preferential tariff rates (AUT) under the Canada-Australia Tariff Agreement (CANATA). To get the benefits of a particular tariff treatment, imported goods must also meet certification and direct shipment conditions. Country of origin markings are a requirement on many consumer and other products. Failure to comply with this regulation will result in goods being refused entry.

Tariffs are levied on the freight on board (FOB) value of the goods in the country of export and may be specific or ad valorem. In addition to the duty, imported goods are subject to the Goods and Service Tax (GST) – both of which are collected by customs at the time of importation.

Non-tariff barriers

No license or permit is required to import most goods. However, some products are subject to a quantitative import restriction or quota, and require a permit for importation into Canada. Products subject to import controls include agricultural products, firearms, textiles and clothing, and steel. For more information on those goods requiring import permits visit the Global Affairs Canada website.

Canada also has a supply-management system in place to regulate its dairy, chicken, turkey, and egg industries. The system involves production quotas, producer marketing boards to regulate price and supply and tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) for imports.

Most Canadian provinces also restrict the sale of alcoholic beverages (wine, beer and spirits) through province-run liquor control boards, which are the sole authorised importers and retailers of such products in those provinces. As such, they regulate product listings, pricing, distribution and advertising, among other things, within their jurisdiction. For specific information, refer to the relevant provincial liquor board or consult Wine Australia.

Product certification, labelling and packaging

Product Certification

The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) can advise exporters as to what testing is required and what organisations are accredited to conduct the testing/certification. CSA International and ULC are two such organisations that can provide certification in Canada.


As Canada is officially bilingual, labelling and packaging requirements are of particular importance. The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act requires that all labels be bilingual (English and French) and that the following information appears on the package/label of all consumer goods sold in Canada: product identity, net quantity, dealer's name and principal place of business. Information shown on labels is also subject to minimum type size requirements.

More information can be obtained from the Canadian Competition Bureau.

The regulation of the importation of food into Canada is the responsibility of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The industry labelling tool details current federal regulations on food labelling and advertising. In Quebec, labelling of food products must be in French or have a French version displayed at least as prominently as the other language. It should be noted that Canadian labelling requirements may differ significantly from those of the US and other countries.

Although the Universal Product Code (UPC or bar code) is not required or administered by government, retailers do require the merchandise they carry to be labelled with a UPC. For more information contact GS1 Canada.


A certificate of disinfection is required for straw, hay, peat, moss, or other raw packing materials of the soil. Plant protection import permits are also usually required for all plant materials taken into Canada. Used sacks, bags, canvas and other similar packing materials are prohibited. Packages that constitute a single shipment must be legibly marked and numbered on the outside.

Methods of quoting and payment

Methods of payment in Canada are similar to those in Australia. Subject to the size of the contract, exports are typically shipped on open account and don’t require letters of credit. Quotations are preferably in Canadian dollars, CIF Canadian destination (with FOB shown separately). Typical terms are 30 to 90 days with a discount of one to two per cent of the invoice for early payment, usually if paid within 10 days. Normal precautions in dealing with a first-time customer should be exercised, and safeguards instituted wherever possible at least until a relationship has been established.

Documentary requirements

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website lists the required documents for importing goods into Canada.

Exporters are required to submit a final accounting package for shipments into Canada. In most cases, it consists of:

  • two copies of the cargo control document (CCD)
  • two copies of the invoice
  • two copies of a completed Form B3, Canada Customs Coding Form
  • any import permits, health certificates or other forms that are required (i.e. certificate of origin, health certificate).

Pro-forma invoice

A pro-forma invoice may be used when the commercial invoice or Canada Customs Invoice is not available; usually used for shipments under $C2,500.

Commercial invoice

A Canada Customs Invoice (CCI) should be used for all shipments with a freight on board (FOB) value of C$1,600 and over. Commercial invoices can be used but must include all the information required in the CCI. The CCI may be prepared by the supplier, importer or customs broker.

For all fresh produce shipments, a Confirmation of Sale form is required by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as evidence that a firm purchase agreement has been made. It is reviewed by Canada Customs at the point of entry and relayed to the CFIA. For food products entering Canada, CFIA requires you to provide an Import Declaration that provides product and packaging information related to the shipment. These forms are available from CFIA or any customs broker.

Bill of lading

No special requirements.

Manifest/Cargo Control Document

When imports arrive at the Canadian port of entry, the carrier must report the shipment to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). It does this by filling out a manifest/cargo control document (CCD) or by using CBSA’s Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) System. The most commonly used CCD is Form A8A (B).

Customs Coding Form

The Customs Coding Form (Form B3) is required. It includes the tariff classification, value for duty and the origin of your goods among other information.

Certificate of origin

Certificates of origin are only required to support any tariff treatment claimed in the Customs Coding Form (Form B3).

Packing list

Packing lists are optional. While there is no standard format, the list should detail the contents of the shipment – quantities, items, model numbers, dimensions and net gross weights.

Certificate of insurance

No requirement.


Normal commercial practice.

Weights and measures

Officially, Canada uses the metric system but there are some exceptions where imperial measurements are still used, such as in the construction industry. Canadians also typically use a mix of metric and imperial measurements in their daily lives, using feet and inches to measure themselves, pounds to record their weight and square feet when speaking of the size of their homes.

Public health requirements

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for all food inspection and quarantine services.

Imports of animals, plants and their products (including fruit and vegetables, other foods, seeds, hay and forest products) require health certification issued by an approved authority in the country of origin. In the case of Australia, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources provides this certification. These imports are also subject to inspection upon arrival.

Fruit and vegetables, honey, meat, fish and processed foodstuffs are subject to specific regulations. Exporters must confirm with their importers that their products meet the full requirements of the Canadian legislation.

Quality standards and labelling requirements for drugs and patent medicines are prescribed. Health Canada's Therapeutic Products Directorate (TPD) is the national authority that evaluates and monitors the safety, effectiveness and quality of drugs, medical devices and other therapeutic products available to Canadians. Samples, along with details of ingredients, manufacturing methods, test reports and a sample label, must be submitted for prior approval and allocation of a Drug Identification Number (DIN) by the TPD.