Carrier Code Eligibility – Customs Notice 11-018
Ottawa – October 7, 2011

  1. The purpose of this notice is to provide clarification on the eligibility to hold or receive a carrier code from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Further information on CBSA carrier codes may be found on our Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca.
  2. The Customs Act, the Reporting of Imported Goods Regulations and the Transportation of Goods Regulations, establish the time of report, manner of report and who reports goods entering or moving in-transit through Canada. For further information, consult Memorandum D3-1-1, Policy Respecting the Importation and Transportation of Goods, under "Publications and forms" on our Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca.
  3. For the purpose of assessing carrier code eligibility, the CBSA defines a carrier as the “the owner or person in charge of a conveyance that is engaged in international commercial transportation of specified goods.” Specified goods means:
    1. commercial goods;
    2. empty cargo containers to be imported into Canada and that are not for sale; and
    3. any other goods to be transported to Canada for a fee.
  4. Clients who do not meet the criteria outlined above are not eligible to receive or hold a carrier code. Please refer to paragraph 6 concerning codes for freight forwarders. The following are examples of those parties who are not eligible for a carrier code:
    1. An importer transporting their own goods into Canada under the definition of "hand carried goods". "Hand-carried goods" are defined as commercial goods carried by paying passenger onboard traveller's commercial conveyances (bus, taxi, plane, ship, etc.) or commercial goods being imported and accounted for at the port of entry by the owner of a business, or an employee, driving a "not for hire", non-commercial conveyance described as:
      1. an owner of a business or an employee of a business driving a vehicle registered under the business (fleet car transporting commercial goods for the business; or
      2. an owner of a business or an employee of a business driving its own personal vehicle transporting commercial goods for the business.
    2. The conveyance is the goods being imported. For example, a car dealer purchases a vehicle in the United States and drives the vehicle into Canada for commercial importation purposes. The vehicle is considered "hand-carried" goods.
    3. A ships agent in the marine mode who is not directly engaged in the international commercial transportation of goods. For example, a ships agent who applies for a carrier code for the sole purpose of providing Advance Commercial Information (ACI) to the CBSA on behalf of other carriers under the ships agent's carrier code.

      Note: The Memorandum D3-5-1, Commercial Vessels in International Service, which currently allows ships agents to obtain a carrier code for this purpose, will be updated to reflect the requirement.

    4. Companies who do not own or operate a conveyance and are not involved in the actual transportation of goods. For example, a logistics provider who does not have an exclusive contract with a third party and hires that third party to transport the goods into Canada.

      Note: The reference in Memorandum D3-1-1, Policy Respecting the Importation and Transportation of Goods, which references customs brokers and carrier codes, will be updated to reflect the above mentioned.

    5. Companies who do not have a conveyance or cannot provide a history of leasing/renting vehicles for carrier purposes at the time they will be requesting a carrier code from the CBSA. For example, a company who is interested in becoming a carrier to transport goods into Canada; however, it intends to lease or purchase a conveyance once it determines its business volume and after it obtains a carrier code from the CBSA.
  5. When a client applies for a carrier code, it is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate to the CBSA that he is in fact a carrier and that he meets the definition outlined in paragraph 3.
  6. The CBSA also issues codes to approved freight forwarders. Clients who apply for a freight forwarder code must also demonstrate that they meet the definition of a freight forwarder as outlined in Memorandum D3-3-1, Forwarded and Consolidated Cargo – Import Movements available on our Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca under "Forms and publications".
  7. The CBSA will be conducting a review of existing carrier code files and freight forwarder files and may contact those parties who may not be eligible to hold a carrier code.
  8. Inquiries related to this notice may be directed to:
  9. Canada Border Services Agency

    Import Programs
    150 Isabella Street, 4th floor
    Ottawa ON K1A 0L8
    Email: ImportPrograms.Programmedesimportations@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca

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