Customs Made Easy



As neighbouring nations with the longest unprotected border in the world, trading relations between Canada and the United States are historically founded on goodwill and hassle-free programs that ensure the timely transportation of goods and conference materials duty and tax free as long as they do not remain in Canada following the event.

The experts at three of our member exhibition and customs specialists, Commerce Trade Shows Logistics Group, Livingston International, and GES Canada, offer the following suggestions on bringing your event cross-border.

Put time on your side: Ideally allow at least six months’ lead time – one year if the event includes exhibits – to communicate and organize customs and shipping logistics. First step is to advise Canada Customs of your event details such as location, dates and number of attendees. This will earn you a Letter of Recognition that needs to accompany all shipments. Appoint who will coordinate customs documents, whether it is a staff member, local representative or customs broker.

Use official partners: For consistent knowledge transfer, coordinated service and consolidated contact points, advise exhibitors to use the event’s designated suppliers such as customs broker and freight companies. Include their supplied customs and shipping guides with customs and transportation documents for completion in all exhibitor packages.

Easy documentation: Complete the official paperwork thoroughly – it’s actually a very streamlined process and can be done online. In most cases, along with the Letter of Recognition there’s typically only one more document – a Canada customs invoice – that is required to move and clear goods for entry into Canada. Depending on the materials, other documents may be required to ship goods back to their original or other destination outside Canada.

No delay clearance:  In Toronto, Canada Customs recognizes the importance of the meetings, conventions and trade show industry and has a special program called “Border to Show.” This permits goods to be delivered directly to a convention site with no delays at border crossing or airport terminals. Instead, a customs officer comes onsite to the event venue to inspect and clear goods.

People mover: Stay abreast of any changes in identification required for delegates coming to Canada and going back home. You can’t communicate enough the necessary documentation they’ll need, what they may bring in and take out.

For additional information on customs, taxes and border documentation, contact any one of Tourism Toronto’s sales experts. Doing so lets us help you connect with the local services and suppliers you need, including customs and freight specialists.

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