Importing Notes

Important Information for Importers

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is  enforcing strict customs compliance through the use of a monetary penalty system.

All shipments entering Canada must be cleared through Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) prior to their delivery to Queens University. For customs purposes, a Canada customs Invoice or Commercial Invoice is to be attached to the carriers waybill. The vendor must reference Queens University purchase order number and/or chart of account on the invoice along with the Country of Origin for each item. (The country of origin refers to the country in which the item was manufactured, not just where the item is coming from,(i.e, the country of origin is not Canada unless the item was MADE in Canada.)

Copy of the Canadian Customs Invoice (CCI)

When importing goods from suppliers outside Canada, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency requires certain forms are appropriately completed by the supplier and accompany the goods (attached to the waybill). Failure to do so will result in delays at customs and possibly higher duty rates.

Every shipment arriving in Canada, regardless of the reason for the shipment (E.G. purchase, free sample, loan), is subject to the application of duty and tax on importation.

Vendors, shippers, carriers, purchasers, and importers each have a responsibility for various aspects of a shipment, but the Importer of Record is the party legally liable for the accuracy and completeness of information submitted to Customs. The Importer of Record is defined as the "Person" who causes the goods to be brought into Canada. A Person can be an individual, partnership, corporation ot institution. The University is a registered commercial importer and exporter.

Customs and Traffic manages the Customs affairs of the University and works with a contracted Custom broker to release and account for the University shipments. Where the University is the Importer of Record, clearance in the University's name approved by  Customs and Traffic.

The following documents must accompany your shipment:

  • Commercial Invoice. The information must include:
    • Purchaser of the goods
    • Vendor(shipper name/address)
    • Queens Custom Broker Name
    • Detailed product description
    • Commodity value (unit price)-if there are more than one commodity, the values must be listed separately
    • Currency of settlement is the money due for the product in US or Canadian $
    • Date of shipment
    • Country of Origin (where the commodity was produced / manufactured).

This documentation is required no matter what the purchase process - Purchase Order (PO), Credit Card order or if you are invoiced and sending Finance with a cheque requisition.

If a PO is used Strategic Procurement Services will ensure the appropriate information is obtained from the requisitioner and sent to the supplier with the PO.

If not then it is the responsibility of the person placing the order to ensure the supplier has the appropriate information to complete the customs documentation, as explained here.


Shipments containing goods purchased using a personal credit card, or gifts of a personal nature, are not considered University business. The responsibility for the Customs formalities will rest with the purchaser or the individual who causes the goods to be shipped to Canada. Personal shipments are not to be consigned to individuals in care of their work address at Queen's as this creates confusion regarding the true Importer of Record and can create liability to the University. Most carriers are able to deliver to residential addresses and handle personal transactions.