Perishables & Time Sensitive Shipping

How to avoid delays when importing perishables:

Make sure your shipper sends a customs invoice with a good description of the goods indicated on the commercial invoice and the shipment tracking number to Thompson Ahern in advance. If sending via email, notification should be sent to and if by fax to 519-250-8529. Indicate "Perishable Shipment Notification" in the subject line.

Shipping Plants & Animals

The guidelines for importing food, plants and/or animals are best explained by the Canada Border Security Agency (CBSA). Please see Import permits and restrictions -

Notice to industry: Changes to plant and animal import permit application forms - Canadian Food Inspection Agency (

Other Shipping Notes

 To expedite your perishable or time sensitive shipment, please follow the steps listed below:

  • Ensure goods do not require an import permit
  • Do not self-assess your GST for US orders; our Customs and Traffic Coordinator will look after it
  • Ensure the supplier has your full receiver address including your name, department, phone number and extension, listing Queen's University on the first line of address
  • If Queen's University is responsible for clearing the goods through customs, ask the supplier to list Thompson, Ahern as the Canadian customs broker on their commercial invoice and the waybill
  • Ask the supplier to ship perishables only on Mondays or Tuesdays to avoid customs delays over weekends
  • Ensure the supplier includes enough refrigerant to maintain the temperature of the shipment during transit. Customs & Traffic recommends a minimum of 5kg of dry ice for shipments from the U.S. and 10kg for all other international shipments
  • Obtain the courier name, tracking number and the ship date from the supplier so you can track your shipment either on-line or by calling the appropriate courier and requesting an update on the "status" of your package to determine if there are any delays
  • Normally, clearance and delivery of goods is achieved within 48-72 hours from the arrival of the goods at the appropriate Canadian port. It is common to see the message: "Regulatory Agency Clearance Delay" as the goods are waiting to clear customs. If clearance delays persist, contact the Queen's Procurement Services Administrator
  • Please have supplier fax a copy of the commercial invoice and probill or waybill number to Thompson Ahern @ 519-250-8529
  • Clearly have the supplier identify the contents of the shipment and indicate on all paperwork and on the packaging that the goods are Perishable and on Dry Ice
  • Actual value of goods and currency of settlement, e.g. U.S. funds, Canadian funds, etc. If "no charge" or "free goods" are being sent, the actual replacement value of the sample must be indicated
  • Stating a value of $1.00 is not acceptable
  • A detailed description, e.g. "products for research" is not adequate