Printer-Friendly FAQ - Canada Advance Commercial Information

  • What is changing?

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is implementing new advance commercial information regulations. Beginning June 26, 2006, CBSA will require electronic transmission of cargo, conveyance and supplementary data for air shipments prior to departure. Shipments affected by this phase of the new regulations include high value shipments, greater than CAN$1600, and some special commodities with lower declared value for customs.

  • Why is Canada implementing these new initiatives?

These CBSA regulations introduce additional risk management processes and tools to identify potential threats to the health, safety and security of Canadian citizens prior to the arrival of cargo and conveyances in Canada.

The regulations apply to air, ocean, highway and rail transportation systems with implementation scheduled according to mode of transportation.

  • Will other countries, besides Canada, implement these types of initiatives?

Yes. The US began work on similar requirements in 2004 and other countries are expected to implement similar initiatives.

  • How is FedEx ensuring ongoing compliance with new international regulations?

FedEx continually evaluates our business practices and operations to ensure we provide excellent service to our customers and comply with international law and country-specific regulations. FedEx modifies systems, policies and procedures as needed to ensure regulatory compliance and to ensure we maintain the highest possible level of security and service. FedEx will be updating its FedEx Ship Manager systems, amending the international air waybill where applicable, and is training employees on the new requirements.

  • Where can I review information on how to properly prepare my international documentation?

Customers may use the FedEx International Shipping Reference Guide within Global Trade Manager located under the International Tools tab near the top right of the home page, for information on how to prepare international shipments.

  • How am I affected? Do I need to do anything differently?

All customers must provide complete and accurate information on all international shipping documents in advance, before shipments can be exported from the origin country. Failure to provide accurate information in a timely manner may result in delays, seizures, and/or penalties imposed by CBSA.

  • In addition to completing and submitting shipment information in advance, what else can I do to make sure my shipments meet the regulatory requirements?

Provide complete and accurate commodity descriptions. Vague or inaccurate commodity descriptions are the top reason for clearance delays. A good description should answer the following questions:


What is it?

How many?


What is it made from?

What is its intended use?

If in doubt: More detail is better than less detail.


Vague Description

Good Description



Two steel springs for woodworking machine



One men’s knitted sweater (100% cotton) – unsolicited gift



200cm x 400cm nylon carpet sample for demonstration



30 pages of legal documents



The word Food (or FS) should be the first word in the description followed by a detailed description of the food items. For Example, one can of sliced peaches


See commercial invoice

The air waybill description section must provide a good summary of all items. The description on the air waybill should be as detailed as possible.

Customs authorities require an accurate description of shipment contents in written words; a harmonized code number, by itself, is not sufficient.

  • Are your competitors making similar changes?

Customs authorities require all carriers to comply with the same regulations. Carriers have different internal systems and processes as a starting point for implementing the changes related to these regulations, and some carriers may or may not be as proactive as FedEx in implementing the necessary changes to their systems and processes, but the new regulations will apply to everyone at the same time.

  • Where can I learn more about Canadian customs regulations?

You can visit the website for the Canada Border Services Agency to learn more about Canadian customs regulations .

  • What is the link between regulatory compliance and increasing security?

Regulatory agencies are implementing new programs requiring increasing amounts of advance shipment information, in order to more fully utilize trade information and collaborate with other government agencies. Authorized government agencies will be able to better detect and respond to threats; more effectively develop and utilize intelligence; and more efficiently conduct investigations. Information sources: 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Dept. of Homeland Security | ACE: Modernization Information Systems