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Customs Clearance of Goods into Canada


When goods are purchased for Dalhousie University from outside of Canada, the goods are required to be reported to Canada Customs by the carrier of the goods.  Once the goods have been accounted for to Canada Customs, an entry or B3 form must be submitted to the Canada Border Services Agency in order to pay any applicable duties and/or taxes.

All imports including gifts, biological samples, samples of any type, and commercial goods must be customs cleared through the Canada Border Services Agency.  Failure to do so will result in penalties and fines being assessed against Dalhousie University.

You are resonpsible for regular import shipments, perishable goods if you have rare items, or items that require Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species certificate (CITES), or to see if you have other goods that may require special import certificates.

To ensure that the vendors are providing appropriate documentation please request that the vendor provide the following information:

  • a commercial or Canada Customs invoice [PDF 60 kB] with:
    • Value - Even if there isn’t a commercial value, a value must be provided for Canada Customs purposes. This applies to every shipment including samples for research and teaching.
    • Description - We require a clear and concise description of the goods. "Biological sample" is not a description that can be accepted by Canada Customs. The actual description of what is in the package is required, i.e. "Synthetic DNA."
    • Country of manufacture - Where are the goods produced or sourced from?
    • Exporter name and address - Full address information of the exporter is required.
    • Importer name and address - All parcels should be addressed with Dalhousie University as the first line of address. Failure to have Dalhousie University as the first line of address may result in the delay of customs clearance of your shipment.
    • Purchase order or grant/account number for import - A Dalhousie purchase order number or account number that the costs for customs clearance will be paid from is required to appear on the paperwork being sent by the exporter. This is a very important component for customs clearance, as failure to supply the purchase order number or grant/account number on the documents will result in delay of customs clearance and delivery of your shipment.

Perishable goods

When shipping perishable goods, particular attention should be paid to shipping methods. When goods are moving and they are on dry ice or ice packs, there is a limited amount of time they can be in transit. It is recommended that goods that are perishable be shipped early in the week—preferably Sunday if available or on Monday. This allows for all processes to be completed for the import of these types of products and still be able to complete a delivery before the weekend.

Notifying the customs personnel of the movement of this freight is helpful in expediting attention being placed on these shipments through our customs broker.  Providing a tracking or tracing number to the customs personnel can be a means of having the ability to notify all the parties that are required in order to have a expeditious customs clearance.

Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species (CITES)

Some samples and goods are rare and/or difficult to duplicate. It is recommended if you have these types of samples you should contact customs@dal.ca for clarification of which may be the suitable method of shipment for your goods. This would apply particularly to goods that require CITES certificates to import them into Canada.

Important information on CITES shipments: 

Ensure that the original CITES certificate is affixed to the outside of the box.  Placement of the CITES certificate in the box will result in delays in processing through Canada Customs and may result in the loss of your samples if they are of a perishable nature.

Other goods that may require special import certificates:

  • whole Fish
  • Ppants
  • soils
  • isotopes

If you require further information prior to importing your product or goods please contact customs. Keep in mind when applying for permits, the usual wait time to have them issued is 2-3 weeks depending on each governmental department’s workload.

Regular Import Shipments:

All goods being imported into Canada are required to be cleared through Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).  Shipments are to be presented with a manifest of goods, commercial invoice or Canada Customs invoice containing all pertinent information about the shipment.  This process is done through Dalhousie Univeristy's appointed Cusoms Broker.

To ensure that the vendors are providing appropriate documentation please request that the vendor provide the proper information.

If you require additional invormation please contact Dalhousie Customs.