Shipping goods to Canada:  What’s involved?


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Whether you are moving to Canada from overseas or returning home to Canada, you are probably going to need to hire cargo shipping services to ship your personal items, household good and furniture, or even your car into Canada.  That isn’t as simple as it seems.  There are lots of considerations to be made.

Canadian customs

When shipping anything into Canada, whether it is a small package or a car, it has to go Canadian customs and it could be subject to inspection.  To ensure your cargo passes through Canadian customs without incident, you’ll need to have a few pieces of important paperwork in order, such as:

Your passport and visa (if necessary)

Detailed inventory of what you are shipping.  This includes things like serial numbers, VINs (in the case of a car) and as much other detail as you can muster about the cargo.


Completed Customs Manifest forms

Importers Declaration for Customs form

Note that if you are a Canadian citizen who is returning to Canada after living away, you’ll need to be able to provide residency information about where you lived outside Canada, proof of rental payments, a letter from an employer or your income tax return if asked.

If you are a resident of Canada, you can ship household items and personal effects back to Canada duty free, provided that a) the items are not brand new and b) that you have lived outside of Canada for at least a year.  You may be asked to provide a bill of sale to prove when you bought the items, in order to prove that the items qualify for duty-free shipping to Canada.  Note that you are also not permitted to sell the shipped items for at least one year after you ship them to Canada

Restricted items

Although the umbrella of what you can ship to Canada is quite broad, there are some items that are prohibited from being shipped to Canada.  In some cases, the items may be shipped into Canada but they may be subject to duty fees.  One such category is any one item that is valued in excess of $10,000, as well as tobacco products. Other restricted items include:



Some fruits and vegetables, such as frozen vegetables and potatoes (unless they are commercially packaged).

Any animal product that is on the endangered list

Importing alcohol

You can import alcohol into Canada, but you need to ensure you have the necessary paperwork filled out and ready.  This includes detailed information regarding the size, type and quantity of the alcohol, along with an Import Permit.  Alcohol is subject to duties and taxes.

Before you decide to ship any items back to Canada, it’s important to contact one of the many shipping companies Toronto has to offer.  They can help you navigate the complicated shipping process and ensure that you are taking all necessary steps to ship your items safely, legally and in accordance with all Canadian regulations.