Just because driving over the Canadian border is easy doesn’t mean the same is true for exports. There are a lot more moving parts when transporting your goods over the Canadian border than a simple domestic haul, so knowing what documents you need to provide your freight forwarder with can make the move significantly easier.
Shipping to Canada
Here are a list of documents you can utilize as a “checklist” to make sure your products are ready to cross the Canadian border, as well as a couple insights regarding shipping to Canada that you should be aware of.
The commercial invoice should be a familiar form to anyone who has shipped goods internationally before. Essentially, the commercial invoice will list who the shipper and customer are, a description of the goods being shipped, and the value of the goods. If there are multiple different products being shipped over the border, the value of each good should be listed at the bottom.
3 sets of these documents need to be provided. One will be checked by the driver or trucking company itself, one will be checked at the border (if it’s LTL freight,) and one should be on the freight when it gets to the shipper so they can double check and confirm that the order is correct.
If you’ve ever filled out an SLI (Shipper’s Letter of Instruction) before, this document should also appear to be very familiar. The document contains information such as the quantity codes, where it was produced, the weights, and the value of the goods. (Trump recently issued a new trade agreement, so make sure to take caution to the new requirements or trade implications.)
You won’t have to worry about these too much as they are purchased and provided by the trucker, however, they are needed to get over the border.
General Sales Tax (GST)
This is an important one to keep in mind. Whenever goods are shipped over the Canadian border, there is always a 5% GST tax issued on all sellable commodities. This 5% GST tax is tax applied to the commercial invoice value. So if you have a commercial invoice indicating a value of $50,000, the GST tax added will be $2,500. Generally speaking the customer in Canada whom you are shipping to will pay this tax, but it’s important to ensure this discussion is had between the shipper and buyer.
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to make sure that your customer on the other side of the border has a pointed customs broker.