Mission & Vision
The University of Windsor Procurement Department is responsible for assisting campus purchasers with carrying out processes related to the import of goods into Canada. The department will facilitate purchaser adherence to all government laws, regulations, and policies.
This web portal provides instructions on how University of Windsor purchasers can ensure accurate and timely clearance of goods entering Canada.
An Import is a shipment containing item(s) that are purchased outside of Canada, and all items must clear Customs regardless of value (items purchased at no cost still require an estimated value for clearance purposes; they should be valued ‘as if there were a sale’). All documentation referenced on this page are the responsibility of the purchaser and must be submitted for all imports according to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) regulations. Failure to follow the below instructions may result in your shipment being delayed or denied clearance by CBSA.
The University of Windsor has engaged with Thompson Ahern for customs brokerage services, whose responsibility it is to process all import documentation according to CBSA regulations. Thompson Ahern also investigates and provides HS classification (or tariffs) for the accurate allocation of duty and GST charges on all University items imported into Canada. It is the responsibility of the purchaser to ensure their documentation is correct for accurate application of customs fees to their shipment. Note purchasers may be contacted by Procurement, Thompson Ahern or CBSA to provide additional documentation even after their shipment has been received; it is important to ensure all documentation is provided upon request in order to avoid penalties.
All costs associated with the import process billed to the University will be charged to the purchaser, which can include duties, GST, courier fees, warehouse fees and brokerage fees.
Steps in the Import Process
The following steps outline the Import process. Details for each step can be found in the next section.
Declarable Goods. Ensure your items meet the requirements for declarable goods:
• Software (including printed material on discs)
• VHS, DVD and CD’s
• Chemicals and Biological items (including free samples)
• Sound recordings
• All returns
If you are unsure whether your package is considered a “Declarable Good”, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Shipping Address. All imports should be shipped directly to campus. Ensure the employee name appears at the top of the shipping address, followed by the department name:
Name of Your Department, Building and Office
University of Windsor
401 Sunset Avenue
It is recommended to group multiple purchases from the same vendor into a single shipment whenever possible. Doing so not only ensures timely delivery of all items, but also reduced duty and courier fees charged to your program/project accounts.
U.S. Warehouse. In the unlikely event that purchases either cannot be shipped to a Canadian address, or shipping to Canada is extremely cost-prohibitive, the goods may be eligible for shipment to the University’s U.S. warehouse in Michigan. In order to determine if your shipment is eligible for use of the U.S. warehouse, you must contact email@example.com. Note all warehouse-usage related charges including space rental, courier fees, brokerage fees and additional duty will be charged to the purchaser. Perishable or rush shipments delivered to the U.S. warehouse should be scheduled for the beginning of the week. Wednesday morning is the final day that perishable or rush shipments can arrive at the warehouse in order to be cleared by customs and delivered to campus prior to the weekend.
Personal Items. Under no circumstances should personal items be shipped to the University’s mailing addresses or in any way be associated with the University of Windsor (including listing the University on shipping documents). Personal items being shipped to the University's U.S. warehouse will be disposed of.
The documents below must be submitted as attachments when completing the customs import form (outlined in Step #3). It is the responsibility of the purchaser to both a) request these documents from their vendor, and b) ensure the documentation is correct. Missing or incorrect forms are the number one reason for both delays and incorrect CBSA duty assessments.
A. Commercial Invoice. This document is required for all imports, as per CUSMA/USMCA regulations as of July 2020. It is provided by the vendor/manufacturer and must include:
- Basic summary description of goods
- Detailed description of shipment contents (generic descriptions cannot be used, i.e. machine parts, samples, plastic items etc. They must be described accurately in order to ensure proper classification is applied)
- Address of shipper
- Country of origin (itemized)
- Value of goods (itemized)
Note that a copy of an email from the vendor will not be accepted by CBSA.
B. Completed CUSMA Certification Form. The CUSMA/USMCA certification form applies to imported goods that originate (made) in Canada, US or Mexico, and will relieve the duty on applicable goods. The purchaser, vendor or manufacturer can complete this form; we suggest that the vendor complete the certification as they would need to be consulted in the event of a CUSMA/USMCA claim review by CBSA. The form contains an option to complete a blanket CUSMA/USMCA certification, valid for up to one year, on the same goods from the same vendor. Note that the country of origin denotes where the goods were manufactured and not from where they were shipped. It is also important to note that NAFTA forms are no longer valid.
If your import originates outside of Canada/USA/Mexico, please ensure you work with your vendor/shipper to arrange any customs documentation that might be necessary for entry to Canada.
A University of Windsor customs import form submission is required for all goods entering Canada regardless of a) country of origin, b) shipment method, or c) courier/shipper. In order to ensure a smooth import and delivery process, the customs import form should be submitted as soon as the item is purchased. There is a field on the form that will allow you to attach the documents outlined in Step #2 above.
Failure to submit a customs import form with accompanying documentation may result in your shipment being delayed or denied clearance by CBSA, and/or incorrect assignment of duty/GST and other customs fees. Submission of a customs import form is not negotiable.
Form can be accessed here.
Ensure you request the shipment’s tracking information from your vendor or courier. Neither the Procurement Department nor our customs brokerage Thompson Ahern has access to your vendor’s shipment timelines or delivery estimates.
Items will be cleared by CBSA according to the information you have submitted in Steps #2 and #3 above. Please note that once the shipment has reached CBSA for processing, the Procurement Department does not have the ability to either provide status updates or expedite CBSA’s clearance procedures. As long as all steps in this customs process have been correctly followed by the purchaser, the shipment should be efficiently cleared through customs with the assistance of our brokerage.
Items will be delivered according to the address information you provided to the vendor. If a shipment’s tracking status is listed as delivered but you are not in possession of the items, first check with your department; in most cases the items have been received by a department representative. If your department confirms that it has not yet received the delivered items, please contact Maintenance Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University strives to provide prompt service, however due to circumstances beyond our control (traffic, mechanical breakdowns, customs delays, etc.) we cannot guarantee goods will arrive on campus before Distribution Services closes for the day.
Other Import Notes
Perishable Items. In order to ensure safe and timely delivery of perishable items, please ensure the following:
- Handling instructions are clearly marked on the package
- Vendor and courier(s) are properly instructed on the correct handling of the perishable items
- The items are marked as perishable when submitting the customs import form, along with any necessary information (contents, safe handling, expiration details, 24hr contact info, etc)
To facilitate immediate clearances, tracking information and a copy of the commercial invoice can be sent to email@example.com to have the shipment set up for clearance prior to arrival.
Note perishable items that require a special trip from a University-contracted cross-border courier service will incur additional costs.
Donations. Items for being imported as a donation to the University require the following information:
- A letter on the donor’s letterhead clearly stating a description of the goods, verification that items being imported are a donation;
- A realistic value;
- Country of manufacture (where item(s) were made; not the country they were purchased from)
Export services are not facilitated by the University of Windsor. Couriers such as FEDEX, DHL and Purolator offer export assistance for those shipping goods outside of Canada. The contact information for these services can be found below:
Chrysler Hall Tower, 4th Floor
401 Sunset Avenue
Windsor, Ontario Canada N9B 3P4
Phone: (519) 253-3000 ext. 2081
FAX: (519) 973-7080
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Emergency after-hours contact information
24/7 after-hours contact: (519) 250-0400
Additional phone: (519) 981-1176
Air shipments: (416) 709-3085