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Our Mission & Vision

With you when you need

Our mission is to be the leading customs broker. We pride ourselves on outstanding compliance performance and top-notch customer service while translating the Canada Customs laws and regulations in an efficient and effective manner.
Core Values:

Excellence: We set high standards for ourselves, aiming for continuous improvement and exceptional quality in everything we do.

Innovation: We embrace and drive change, harnessing innovation, and cutting-edge technology to revolutionize the global trade industry.

Integrity: We uphold the highest ethical standards, conducting business with honesty, transparency, and a strong moral compass.

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Problems we solve


With Greenlight, we specialize in streamlining the import process, ensuring your goods reach its destination on time, every time.

Lack of Knowledge

Knowledge is power. Our team of live agents are here to provide you with the information and guidance you need. No more uncertainty-stay informed and in control of your imports.


Confiscation is a costly setback. Rely on our expertise to navigate regulations and ensure compliance from minimizing the risk of confiscation to maximizing the success of your shipments.

Optimized Efficiency

Lost time is lost money. We value your time as much you do. Our services are designed for efficiency, allowing you to focus on your business while we take care of the complexities of customs.

Empower your customs experience with Greenlight Customs Broker—where efficiency meets peace of mind.

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It have never been easier to manage your customs


Simplify customs clearance with Greenlight Customs Broker. We make imports easy, so you can focus on growing your business. Experience stress-free customs solutions that go beyond the ordinary – choose us for dedicated support and success.

Transparent Pricing

Hidden fees and unexpected charges? Not with us. We believe in transparent pricing, ensuring you know exactly what to expect. No surprises, just a clear and honest approach to customs.

Live Agents, Real Solutions

Our dedicated team of live agents is here to address your concerns and provide real-time solutions. No automated responses-just genuine support from professionals who understand your business.

Determining Duties and Taxes

Preparing to Import

A. Obtain a Business Number

As of May 13, 2024, the CRA no longer registers and maintains import and export RM program accounts. These services are now provided by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). However, the Canada Revenue Agency continues to issue the required business number (BN9). The CBSA has taken over RM account-related services until October 2024.

To register for a BN:

To add an import/export RM account identifier to an existing BN:

B. Identify the goods you want to import

You should gather as much information as possible about the goods you intend to import. Obtain descriptive literature, product composition information and, whenever possible, product samples. This information will be crucial when it comes time to determine the tariff classification of the goods you wish to import. The tariff classification number will be used to determine the rate of duty that will be applied to your goods. 

C. Determine if you will use the services of a licensed customs broker

You may feel comfortable preparing your own release and accounting documentation and transacting business directly with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or you may authorize Green Light Customs Broker to act as your agent to transact business. It is important to remember that you are ultimately responsible for the accounting documentation, payment of duties and taxes, and subsequent corrections such as re-determination of classification, origin and valuation even if you use the services of a broker.

D. Determine the country of Origin for the goods you are importing

Identify the country where your goods originate. It is important to remember that this does not simply mean the country from which the product was shipped to you. It may also include where individual parts of the product are from, as well as where it was assembled into the final product. Requirements for proof of origin can be found in Memorandum D11-4-2, Proof of Origin.

E. Ensure the goods you wish to import are permitted into Canada

Certain goods are not allowed to be imported into Canada. For more information on prohibited products, please consult Memoranda Series D9, Prohibited Importations.

F. Determine whether the goods you intend to import are subject to any permits, restrictions or regulations.

You will need to determine whether or not the goods you want to import are subject to regulations, restrictions, permits or other requirements. The CBSA’s Other Government Departments and Agencies provides a list of some of the most commonly imported commodities that may require permit and/or certificates. More comprehensive information can be found in Memoranda Series D19, Acts and Regulations of Other Government Departments.

Additionally, if you are importing alcohol or tobacco products it is recommended that you check with the applicable authority in your province or territory.

Classifying Your Goods

Once you are sure that the goods may be imported, you will need to determine the correct tariff classification number. These numbers along with the goods country of origin are used to determine the rate of duty you must pay when importing.

Most trading countries including Canada, use the Harmonized System (HS) as the basis of classifications systems. The first six digits are a common identifier across all countries using the HS for that particular good. The following four are unique to Canada and used to establish the duty rates and for statistical purposes.

Tariff classification numbers can be determined by:

  • Consulting the Canadian Customs Tariff
  • Contacting the Border Information Service (BIS)
  • Requesting an advance ruling on a tariff classification by mail from a CBSA trade office
Determining Duties and Taxes

A. Determine the applicable tariff treatment and rate of duty

Once you have determined the correct tariff classification number, you need to establish the applicable tariff treatment that applies to your goods before you can determine the rate of duty. The requirements of the particular trade agreement or tariff treatment must be satisfied in order to benefit from a preferential duty rate. You must possess ‘Proof of Origin’ for the specific trade agreement at the time of importation.

A complete list of countries eligible for the above tariff treatments can be found at the beginning of the Canadian Customs Tariff. General tariff information and guidelines can be found in Memorandum D11, General Tariff Information.

B. Determine if your goods are subject to the goods and services tax (GST), excise tax or excise duty

The GST (5%) is payable on most goods at the time of importation under Part IX, Division III of the Excise Tax Act. Complete references are available in the Excise Tax Act or the Excise Act, 2001 or for more information on GST, excise tax or excise duty, contact the Canada Revenue Agency.

C. Determine the value of the goods you are importing

In most cases, the value for duty is the amount paid to the vendor for the goods. Your declaration of value for duty should be supported by a receipt or sales invoice from your vendor. This document must include a complete description of the goods, selling price and conditions and terms of the sale. Memorandum D1-4-1, CBSA Invoice Requirements provides additional information. The value for duty must be in Canadian funds.

For more details on how to determine the value for duty of your shipments, refer to the Memoranda Series D13, Valuation.

D. Estimate in advance how much duty and taxes you will be required to pay

Shipping and Reporting Your Goods

A. Place your order and select a method of shipping

Place your order with the vendor, shipper or exporter and identify the mode of shipping that will be used (highway, marine, rail, air, postal or courier service).

Determine the desired or expected CBSA office where your goods will be released. Most shipments are released at the CBSA office where they arrive in Canada; however, if you use a CBSA bonded carrier, you may choose another inland service point that is closer to you.

B. Report your goods

All commercial goods must be reported to the CBSA whether you transport it yourself or have a carrier transport it for you. If you are transporting the goods yourself please refer to Memorandum D17-1-4, Release of Commercial Goods, for information on the Hand Carrier Goods Release Process.

Shipments valued at more than CAN$3,300

  • The carrier will notify you when the goods arrive.
  • The CBSA will inform you of the arrival of postal shipments that are valued at more than CAN$3,300.

Shipments valued at CAN$3,300 or less

  • A postal shipment valued at CAN$3,300 or less will be delivered to you by Canada Post. It will include Form E14, CBSA Postal Import Form, indicating the classification, value, and applicable rate of duty and taxes according to the information (invoice) accompanying your shipment. Canada Post will charge you a handling fee for this service.
  • For shipments that are valued at CAN$3,300 or less and forwarded by courier, the courier company may offer to complete the customs documentation on your behalf for a fee


Your shipment may be examined by government officials to monitor compliance with CBSA requirements or other government department regulations. This is done without charge; however, if there is a need to hire a transport company to move or handle your goods, you may receive an invoice from that company for their services.

Non-compliance with CBSA requirements may result in being assessed a monetary penalty under the Administrative Monetary Penalty System.

Getting your Goods Released

There are two options for getting your goods released. With both options, you may prepare the release and accounting documents yourself or you may hire Green Light Customs Broker to do so on your behalf. Regardless of which method you use, CBSA will assign each shipment a 14-digit transaction number to identify your goods throughout the clearance process.

After your Goods are released

A. Adjusting errors in the accounting information you submitted

If you make an error in the accounting information, and the CBSA has not already made the corrections, you are required to correct the information within 90 days after you discover the error where the change is revenue neutral, or you owe money. If a change in the accounting information results in a refund of duties or taxes paid to CBSA, an application for a refund can be filed in most cases up to four years from the date the goods were accounted for. 

B. Keep all records pertaining to the import for six years

You must keep all records pertaining to your importations for six years following the importation of good (s) in electronic or paper format. This includes information relating to the quantities received, price paid, the country of origin, vendor, product, and all other information.

C. CBSA Auditing Program

Commercial importations may be verified and adjusted by the CBSA for origin, value for duty, or tariff classification up to four years after importation. If the CBSA adjusts your accounting document, you will be issued a Detailed Adjustment Statement (DAS) that outlines the adjustment, and you will have 30 days to pay any duties and taxes owing.

As the importer, you (or your representative) have the right to ask for an impartial review of most decisions made on tariff classification, origin, or value for duty of imported goods. You must make your request no later than 90 days after the date of the initial decision. 

The CBSA uses the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) to assess monetary penalties against businesses that do not comply with customs legislation.

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Asked Questions

What is Customs?

Customs is a term commonly used in international shipping pointing to the duties, fees or taxes charged on items being shipped from one country to another. Costs can vary depending on the items and countries being shipping from and into. Each country has its own customs rules and guidelines.

What is a Customs Broker?

A Customs Broker is your agent between you and Customs. They act on behalf of commercial importers and exporters in transactions with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. Customs Brokers are instrumental in processing goods through customs quickly and efficiently while upholding government laws and regulations.

Are there any benefits to importing commercially over personally?

Absolutely. As a personal importer, you are subject to both Federal and Provincial tax and have no recourse to claim said taxes. As a commercial importer, you are only subject to Federal Tax, and may reclaim it through input tax credits.

How long does customs clearance take?

For truck shipments, the customs clearance process is seamless. We use a pre-alert system with customs so that goods are cleared as the truck passes the border. We cannot process your customs request however, until transport has sent us the PARS manifest

Why should I use Greenlight over other customs brokerage services?

With Greenlight you will get quick, professional service, now, when you need it. Our prices are competitive and we will help walk you through the process. 

Who pays duties, taxes or fees on international shipping?

Import duties and taxes are based on the declared value of the goods in Canadian funds. It is the responsibility of the importer (the business unit) to ensure imported goods and services are compliant with the Customs Act and its associated regulations.

Either the shipper or the receiver will be responsible for payment of duties, taxes and fees. In rare instances, these may be charged to a third party.

When the shipper pays duties, fees or taxes, it is called Delivery Duty Paid (DDP). This can improve the customer experience by providing additional clarity and transparency during the buying process. Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU) means the receiver will need to pay.

What is a Non-Resident Importer (NRI)?

A non-resident importer (NRI) is a company not located in Canada that imports into Canada from the United States and clears the goods into Canada under its own company name. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) developed the nonresident importer concept specifically to help U.S. exporters gain access to Canadian markets. In essence, a non-resident importer is both the exporter from the United States and the importer of record into Canada. You become the importer of record even though you are not physically located in Canada.

Which customs forms are needed to ship internationally?

You will need to fill in a commercial invoice, which is required for all cross-border shipments except for documents that have no commercial value. Please make sure to provide accurate and specific information--in order to avoid customs delays.

This gives us accurate information on:

  •  The type of products you are importing;
  •  What they are made of;
  •  Where are they manufactured; and
  •  How much you paid for them

If applicable:

  •  Other government agency’s permits & licenses
  •  Certificate of Origin

The rest of the information needed:

  •  Bill of lading or Waybill
  •  The weight of the shipment
  •  The port of crossing
  •  The time of crossing
  • Pars number
How to avoid customs delays?

Include a shipment description with relevant details.

Make sure your commercial invoice includes a shipment description (describe the whole shipment and its products) as well as the product value of everything being shipped. Send customs forms digitally.

Find your Harmonized Tariff (HS) code.

Harmonized System Codes (or tariff codes) are used by customs authorities to identify products being shipped, so they can accurately assess any duties and taxes owed. An incorrect code can lead to customs delays or even fines. While you don’t need to know your tariff code in order to ship, it is important that you provide an accurate, detailed description of the goods you are shipping (example: ‘men’s knitted jumper’ is better than ‘jumper’, ‘clothing’ or ‘gift’). This will allow us to determine the appropriate code for your goods. However, to ensure accuracy, you can also look up your code before you create your shipping label.

What is a Tariff code?

A Harmonized Tariff Code or HS Tariff Code is a list of all the classification codes for goods that are being imported or exported. There are over 17,000 unique classification codes and each country has its own tariff schedule.

GST – What is Goods and Service Tax?

GST is a fixed federal tax of 5% which applies to the supply of almost all goods and services in Canada. This 5% tax is payable at the border on commercial and personal imports. GST is the only tax charged to residents of Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon Territories but is built into the HST for other provinces.

PST - What is Provincial Sales Tax?

PST is a tax collected at the provincial level that varies in rate by province. Only four provinces currently collect this tax: Manitoba, British Columbia, Quebec and Saskatchewan collect PST (in addition to GST). This means that consumer purchases from residents in these provinces will be charged GST and PST. PST is not payable at the border for commercial imports to Canada.

HST – How is HST applied to imported goods?

Essentially, HST is the 5% GST combined with PST to form one harmonized tax. This is collected in the provinces of Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador and the rates vary by province. HST is charged based on the province where your goods are cleared by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). For example, if you are a BC-based business, but your goods are cleared in a province that charges HST, you will be charged HST. 

Commercial Goods: The CBSA only collects the federal portion, which is equivalent to GST (5%)

Personal and Casual Goods: The CBSA collects the whole HST, which is GST plus provincial taxes.

How does CARM impact you as a commercial importer or non-resident importer into Canada?

CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) is changing how commercial importers and non-resident importers will transact with and pay duties and taxes to CBSA for goods imported into Canada.

  • How do I log in to or register for the CARM Client Portal?
    On the CARM Client Portal there is a link titled "Log in to the CARM Client Portal". From this link you will be able to select GCkey or Sign in Partner to sign in. If this is your first time logging in, the personal profile creation process will begin automatically. After completing your personal profile, you will have to either:
  1. As a business account manager, register your business on the portal; Or
  2. As an employee, request access to your employer’s business account.

  • How do I register my business?
    Once you have logged in and you have a personal profile created on the CARM Client Portal you will be given the option to register your business. To complete the business registration process you will need the following information:
  1. Business Number (BN-9)
  2. Import/Export Program account (RM)
  3. Statement of Account and/or Daily Notice
What is AMPS?

AMPS (Administrative Monetary Penalty System) is a penalty regime imposed by Canada Customs for a wide range of infractions, errors and omissions.  Now, more than ever it is important to have a professional Customs Broker on your side.

How are Customs brokers fees charged?

Customs Brokers usually base their fees according to the dollar value of the shipment. In some instances, the Customs Broker and client may agree on a flat rate per shipment or arrive at minimum/maximum amounts.

Be aware of De Minimis

De Minimis thresholds are minimum values, over which customs duties and tax rates apply on imported goods. De minimis levels vary between countries, and duty and taxes can be avoided if the value of the shipment doesn't exceed the de minimis value.

Estimate in advance how much duty and taxes you will be required to pay

Take the value in the currency indicated on the invoice. Convert the value into Canadian dollars using the exchange rate from the date of direct shipment (the date the goods began their direct and continuous journey to a specific destination in Canada). To obtain the proper exchange rate, call the Border Information Service (BIS).

The following is an example of a calculation of customs duty and GST on imported goods with a value for currency conversion of US$100. The example exchange rate is US$1 = CAN$1.15. The goods are subject to 4% customs duty and 5% GST:


US$100 x 1.15 = CAN$115 (value for duty)


$115.00 (value for duty) x 4% (customs duty rate) = $4.60 (customs duty)


$115.00 (value for duty) + $4.60 (customs duty) = $119.60 (value for tax)


$119.60 x 5% (GST) = $5.98 (GST)


Total of customs duty and GST payable (in Canadian dollars) is $4.60 + $5.98 = $10.58