Shipping to Canada

Freight Truck in the Canadian Rockies

Need to ship something to Canada? No matter whether you are shipping heavy equipment, machinery, electronics, art, antiques, or furniture, Pack and Post is your US to Canada Shipping Company! We have been shipping to Canada for 30 years, and we know our business!

Our US-CANADA Shipping Services

  • Fast Shipping Quotes
  • Freight Shipping – Save up to 75%!
  • Packing and Crating
  • Small Parcel Shipping
  • Insurance
  • Consulting

Need to ship something inside Canada, from Canada to the US, or from Canada to another international destination? We can handle that too!

Items we can ship to Canada

  • Heavy Equipment – including construction, mining, farm equipment, and more
  • Machinery and Electronics
  • Art and Antiques
  • Household goods and personal effects
  • Furniture
  • You name it!

Shipping Companies – Parcel Couriers

Here is a list of companies that ship small parcels to Canada. Each company has strengths and weaknesses, and different rules and requirements. Let Pack and Post help you select the best carrier for your particular shipment.

FedEx

With 100% coverage of Canada, FedEx is a great choice. Before shipping to Canada with FedEx, check their import guidelines. Take a look at their Overview of Shipping to Canada with FedEx. If you’re not in a rush, FedEx International Ground service is a good choice for delivery in 2-7 business days to most of Canada.

For faster service or valuable items, use FedEx Express.

If you are shipping to the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut or Labrador (postal codes A0K, A0P–A0R, A2V and X0A–Y9Z), your transit time is probably around 12 days. Make sure to factor in the $65 FedEx Northern Canada surcharge. Make sure to ship to a physical address because just like in the US, FedEx Ground does not deliver to Canadian PO boxes.

UPS

UPS has a bad reputation with many Canadian shoppers purchasing items from the US due to their practice of excluding their brokerage fees from the shipper’s rate estimate, and then billing those fees COD to the recipient (see here, here, here. If you factor these fees in up front though, UPS Standard can still be a good delivery option comparable to FedEx Ground. Worldwide Express and Worldwide Saver are good options if you need faster delivery. They also include standard customs clearance. Check the UPS import guidelines before sending anything.

DHL

DHL has great (even amazing) service when sending FROM the United States or Canada to many international countries. However, when sending something from the US to Canada, we would not recommend using them. In 2011 DHL sold its Canadian domestic Express operations to Transforce and its subsidiary Loomis Express. Loomis and DHL Express do not have great reviews (see Yelp (Toronto), Glassdoor, and this well-written rant. Depending on your shipment’s value, DHL could be a good choice due to their low brokerage/disbursement fee (2.5% of the declared value with a minimum of $7) according to this forum, which is lower than FedEx and UPS for many values. If you decide to ship to Canada via DHL, make sure to check the Country Profile and Import Guidelines.

USPS

USPS can be another good choice for sending small parcels to Canada, especially if you are shipping something light and inexpensive. First-Class International Parcel service is a really cheap option if your parcel is under 4 lbs, under $400 value, less than 24″ long, and with less than 36″ total length+depth+height. If you use an electronic tool to generate your label, you should still get a tracking number. Normally, USPS shipments (even Priority Mail) are only tracked until they leave the US. According to this forum though, you can track your shipment at Canada Post using the customs number.

If your parcel is between 4 and 20 lbs, Medium or Large Priority Mail International Flat Rate boxes may be a good choice . Also check regular Priority Mail International service (max length 79″ and max length plus girth 108″). If your parcel is large but light, this could be cheaper than the flat rate.

Express Mail (42″ max length, 79″ max length plus girth combined) is also an option for faster service. Up to 20 lbs, an Express Mail Flat Rate Box may be your ticket.

Always make sure to check the conditions of mailing to Canada with USPS. If you’re still hungry for more information, check out this Ebay Review on Shipping to Canada via the US Postal Service, and this forum post at Webmaster World comparing FedEx and USPS shipping to Canada.

LTL Freight Carriers

YRC

A premier carrier, YRC handles cross-border and intra-Canada freight shipments. Unlike most LTL carriers, YRC offers an optional brokerage-inclusive option, and brags that 98% of its shipments are pre-cleared. YRC (then Roadway) purchased Reimer Express in 1997 and YRC Reimer continues to be one Canada’s largest freight companies.

FedEx Freight

With 12 Canadian Service Centers, FedEx Freight to Canada is one of the largest carriers handling both domestic and cross-border shipments. Before shipping to Canada with FedEx, check out their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and . Make sure to get a Freight Quote from Pack and Post and compare to the FedEx Retail Rate!

UPS Freight

UPS Freight also ships LTL freight to Canada. They provide coverage information along with a list of their 18 Canadian Service Centers. You can also find out where your shipment will be routed on their list of gateway service centers. Get a Canadian Customs Invoice and Certificate of Origin also provided by UPS.

Con-Way

Con-Way Freight advertises that they ship to Canada 20% faster than other major LTL carriers, with 16 service centers in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Detroit-Windsor, London, Hamilton, Toronto, Scarborough, Montreal, St. Luc, St. John, and Halifax. Your shipment will go through one of nine border crossings.

R+L Carriers / Day and Ross

In the US, R+L is known as a capable low-cost LTL carrier, with Free Liftgate Service. Now R+L also ships from the US to Canada through a partnership with Day & Ross. With 34 terminals, Day & Ross is one of the largest Canadian LTL carriers.

SAIA / Concord

SAIA offers US-Canada service through a partnership with Concord Transportation. Concord, which was purchased by TransForce in 2011, has nationwide coverage in Canada.

Import Duties and Taxes

Shipments Valued Under $20 CAD

Most shipments valued under $20 CAD are exempt from Canadian duty and tax. Exceptions include tobacco, books, periodicals, magazines, alcoholic beverages, and goods ordered through a Canadian company. Because there are no duties or taxes on these low-value shipments, carriers do not charge brokerage fees for these shipments either.

Gift Shipments

Gift shipments valued under $60 are also exempt from duties and taxes. Legitimate gift shipments valued over $60 will only be charged duty on tax on the additional value above $60. Gift shipments must be sent by a friend or relative, and not from a business or as a result of a commercial sale such as eBay or Etsy.

Commercial Shipments

Most shipments including commercial sales are subject to Canadian sales taxes, including GST, HST, and PST. The total sales tax ranges from about 5% in Alberta to 15% in Quebec.

Depending on the type of goods (commodity) being shipped, duties may also be applicable according to the Canadian Customs Tariff. A rule of thumb for duties is 6%, but they can vary widely. For example, original paintings have no duty, but other reproduction artwork may have a 7% duty. Snowmobiles are duty-free, but golf carts are not. Many types of heavy equipment (excavators, bulldozers, loaders, etc.) are duty-free. However, most small utility equipment has a 6.1% duty.

Value for Duties and Taxes

Most countries charge duty based on the total transaction value including cost, insurance, and freight (CIF). Canada excludes the transportation costs from the “place of direct shipment” to Canada. See Section 48 of the Canadian Customs Act. Note items 23 and 24 on the Canada Customs Invoice. Item 23 allows for the deduction of transportation charges from the invoice value.

GST is calculated on sum of the dutiable value plus the amount of duty. See Section 215 of the Canadian Excise Tax Act. HST and PST may also be charged depending on the destination.

NAFTA

Effective January 1, 2008, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) removed duties for goods made in and exported to the US, Canada, or Mexico. A certificate of origin is required to substantiate the claim of origin for goods over $2,500 value (this limit was just raised from $1,600 effective January 8, 2013). According to the US Trade Representative’s NAFTA Certificate of Origin FAQ, the commercial invoice must still certify that the goods meet the NAFTA origin requirements. Also see the NAFTA Rules of Origin for more information on requirements for “Made in USA” claims. Export.gov also has some good general information on NAFTA.

Customs Brokerage

Mail and Small Parcel Shipments

For any items subject to duty or tax, carriers will charge brokerage fees.

For items sent via USPS and valued up to $1,600 CAD, Canada Post charges a flat fee of $9.95 CAD (as of March 2013).

UPS provides a table of Rates for Customs Clearance into Canada. Make sure to note the Additional Service Fees. For example, UPS will charge a COD fee if they have to collect the duties and brokerage fee from the shipment recipient. UPS also charges a disbursement/bond fee when duties and taxes are not paid in advance. Basic customs clearance is free when sending via any Express service (as opposed to UPS Standard – Ground). Note that UPS does not include these fees when quoting shipments through UPS WorldShip.

FedEx’s rates are similar to UPS. See the Clearance Entry Fee and Ancillary Clearance Service Fee sections of the FedEx Fees schedule. The FedEx Advancement/Disbursement fee is 2% with a minimum of $6.50.

DHL only has Express services, and does not have a comparable service to UPS Standard or FedEx International Ground. Standard customs clearance is included for all shipments. DHL charges a 2.5% disbursement fee with a minimum of $7.00. This is not documented on their website.

Freight Shipments

With the notable exception of YRC, most US – Canada freight carriers do not provide customs brokerage services. Instead, the importer typically hires a licensed customs broker to clear the shipment. FedEx Trade Networks and UPS Supply Chain Solutions are good choices when shipping with those carriers or even if shipping with another carrier. Link+ is another large US – Canada customs broker that our customers have used. The Canadian Border Services Agency also provides a full list of Licensed Customs Brokers.

Self-clearing

It’s not recommended, but if you are really adventurous, you may wish to try clearing your shipment through customs yourself. Here is a story of one man who avoided the UPS brokerage fees. Here is another article on how to accomplish the same thing. Note that you must appear in person at a CBSA office, and you may be required to pick up the package from a distant carrier warehouse or customs warehouse. Call the CBSA office in advance to make sure they can process your import clearance – some handle only exports or other services. See section 14 in the Canada Border Services Agency Step By Step Guide to Importing. Note that some freight carriers may require you to appoint a licensed broker prior to shipment booking or pickup, and you will need their cooperation to provide the Cargo Control Document for your shipment.

US Export Requirements

Normally the US requires an Electronic Export Information (EEI) filing (formerly known as a Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED)) through the Automated Export System for any shipment where the value of a single commodity is over $2,500, or for any commodity when an export license is required. However, when shipping to Canada, the EEI is not required, even if the value of a commodity is over $2,500, as long as the goods are not licensed and do not contain diamonds. See the US Customs and Border Protection article “When to apply for an EEI“.

Tips to Save Money when Shipping to Canada

  • Select the best shipping carrier based on each company’s specific strengths and pricing methods.
  • Make sure you have considered all duties, taxes, brokerage, and miscellaneous fees. For a rough estimate of the total, try thefinalcost.com.
  • Check for any required licenses or permits and make sure that you are not shipping a prohibited item.
  • Consider having your item shipped to Canada directly from the US manufacturer. If the manufacturer ships frequently, they already know the costs and pitfalls, and may be able to get you a great shipping rate.

Additional References

About.com – Shopping and Shipping Across the Canadian Border
Google Answers – Tax Shipping Products to Canada