Debunking Duty and Shipping

Shipping Charges to Canada

Generally weight, size, distance, speed and the number of items determine most shipping charges. However, many sites will apply a flat rate shipping fee to Canada, so it's best to check the site's international shipping policies before placing your order.

Don't forget to factor in exchange rates on shipping fees and remember, shipping costs aren't the total costs you'll need to pay to get your package across the border. Be prepared to pay for Canadian customs duties, taxes and customs brokers fees.

Canada Customs Duties

Thanks to NAFTA, Canadians do not pay duty on most items manufactured in America or Mexico. However, buying an item from a US site does not mean it was manufactured there. Keep in mind, that items may have been imported into the US, which means you will need to pay duty when it comes to Canada.

The duty you pay on goods will depend on the type of product, what it's made of and where it was made. So what should you expect to pay? Use this handy duty calculator, - it will give you an idea of what to expect, though please note that it won't be accurate to the penny!

Canadian Taxes

The majority of everything you import into Canada is subject to 5% GST. This will be calculated after custom duties have been applied.

Additionally, you will also need to pay your provincial sales tax, which varies depending on the province in which you reside. For those who live in provinces with a Harmonized Sales Tax, you will be charged HST rather than GST and your provincial sales tax.
Alberta GST 0 5
British Columbia HST 7 12
Manitoba GST + PST 8 13
Newfoundland and Labrador HST 8 13
Northwest Territories GST 0 5
Nova Scotia HST 10 15
Nunavut GST 0 5
Ontario HST 8 13
Prince Edward Island GST + PST 10.5 effective, 10 nominal 15.5 effective, 15 nominal
Quebec GST + HST 9.975 14.975
Saskatchewan GST + HST 5 10
Yukon GST 0 5

Customs Brokers Fees

Customs brokers fees can catch you off guard, so be prepared. Couriers and shipping services like FedEx and UPS use customs brokers to send packages through Canadian customs at the border. These fees then get passed along to you.

Canada Post will generally charge a $9.95 handling fee per package that has been assessed with import duties and taxes. If the item you purchased is duty-free or tax exempt, this fee will likely be waived.

Brokers fees for courier companies such as Purolator or DHL tend to be much higher than what Canada Post charges. These companies can add it on top of the cost for the courier service you selected. When selecting shipping to Canada, always check whether the customs brokers fees are included. If it not listed, you can call the site's member service line or you can always check the courier company's site.

Potential Additional Costs

Should you need to return your purchase, you may incur return fees. Not all retailers offer free returns or pre-paid return forms while others will not except returns on international orders. Keep this mind and ensure you read and understand the sites return policy before placing your order.

Duty & Tax Rates for Cross Border Shopping

You can use the handy calculator from the Canadian Border Services Agency to help you determine the approximate duty and taxes you should expect to pay.

*Please note - this tool provides estimates only. The final amount of applicable duties and taxes is subject to variances.

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