Frequently asked questions

Here you will find answers to questions that are frequently asked by users of Canadian Importers Database. If after reading the frequently asked questions you require further assistance, please use Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's contact us feature.


What does importers by product mean?

Major Canadian importers for a specific product.



What does list by country mean?

Major Canadian importers for a specific country of origin.

What does list by city mean?

Major Canadian importers for a specific city.

What does major importers mean?

Major importers are the businesses which collectively account for up to 80% of all imports of a specific product or a selected city.

Please note that the major importers for a specific product are determined on a national basis. The lists of businesses for a province/territory are a subset of the list generated for Canada.

What does market concentration mean?

Market concentration is the distribution of market share among competitors.

What does cumulative of imports mean?

The cumulative of imports represents the percentage of the market share of the value of imports.

What is a non-resident importer?

Non-resident importers are companies that import goods into Canada but have addresses outside of Canada.

What are the confidentiality rules?

To protect business confidentiality, the following rules are applied:

  • import quantities or dollar values for individual companies are not divulged;
  • no list of names is provided if one company accounts for 80% or more of the total imports and unless there are at least three importers of the product;
  • the business names are listed in alphabetical order;
  • the names of individuals are not divulged.
What is a custom broker?

Customs brokers carry out customs-related responsibilities on behalf of their clients. A broker’s services include:

  • obtaining release of the imported good;
  • paying any duties that apply;
  • obtaining, preparing, and presenting or transmitting the necessary documents or data;
  • maintaining records;
  • responding to any Canada Border Service Agency concerns after payment.
What is Canadian custom tariff?

It is an Act:

  • respecting the imposition of customs duties and other charges;
  • to give effect to the International convention on the harmonized commodity description and coding system;
  • to provide relief against the imposition of certain duties of customs or other charges;
  • to provide for other related matters and to amend or repeal certain Acts in consequence thereof.

The Canadian customs tariff is revised and re-published every year.

What is the Harmonized System (HS)?

The Harmonized System (HS) is an international commodity classification developed under the auspices of the World Customs Organization, an independent intergovernmental body.

The HS is used by more than 200 countries and economies as a basis for their customs tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. Over 98 percent of the merchandise in international trade is classified in terms of the HS.

The System comprises about 5000 commodity groups; each identified by a six-digit code, arranged in a legal and logical structure, and supported by well-defined rules to achieve uniform classification.

What do the HS6 and HS10 classification represent?

In Canada, the tariff classification number consists of 10 digits:

  • the first six digits are standardized with all countries using the international tariff
  • the seventh and eighth digits distinguish break-outs for Canadian trade purposes
  • the last two digits are for statistical purposes


6 digit codes and description (HS6)

851671 – Electrothermic coffee or tea makers

10 digit codes and description (HS10)

8516711000 – Coffee makers

85167112000 – Tea makers

In some cases, the HS6 classification doesn’t break down further; in which case the tariff code in use consists of the 6 digit code followed by four trailing zeros.

What is the commercial importation process?

In order to bring non-prohibited goods into Canada, importers must:

  • provide the proper documents to the Canada Border Services Agency;
  • calculate and declare the value for duty of the imported goods according to the valuation provisions of the Customs Act;
  • make sure that the goods are properly marked with their country of origin;
  • pay any duties that apply.

Commercial invoices, prepared by the exporter and sometimes the importer, must provide enough detail to identify the goods, determine the quantity, and correctly establish the tariff classification. Establishing the duty rate for an imported good depends, in part, on determining the proper classification.

For more information regarding imports into Canada, visit the Canadian Business Network