Canada’s Duty Relief Programs

Goods that you import into Canada may be subject to a range of duties and taxes; some at very high rates.  There are a number of financially beneficial exceptions however, that many suppliers or exporters are unaware of.  For instance, if you import goods for re-export, you may be able to recover duties paid or avoid paying them altogether.  Canada has a number of duty relief programs that can reduce or eliminate duties and GST on your imported goods.  Woods, LaFortune LLP is here to help you navigate, apply and leverage these rules to benefit your company’s bottom line.

Canada’s customs duty and GST relief programs include duty drawback, duty deferral, duty remissions, special remissions programs, inward processing, temporary importation provisions, Canadian Goods Abroad remissions and customs bonded and sufferance warehousing. These programs can be used to reduce the cost of importing goods into Canada, as well as the cost of importing goods into Canada for processing and re-export to other markets, by eliminating the requirement to pay customs duties and GST.

Woods, LaFortune LLP understands these programs and knows how to use them effectively to create substantial savings. We work closely with our clients to access relief in the event that imported goods are not as ordered, defective, obsolete, or surplus.

Country of Origin Rules

The goods that you import may be treated differently depending on their country of origin.  In all cases, you want to ensure that your imported goods receive the best possible treatment by properly determining the origin of the imported goods before they land in Canada.

Country of Origin Rules are important and complex mechanisms which are applied to establish the origin of goods imported into Canada. Origin is relevant because it determines whether the imported good is entitled to benefit from the advantageous treatment granted by Free Trade Agreements, such as lower customs duty rates. Marking Rules are related to Rules of Origin and are applied to determine when, and how imported goods are marked to identify their origin to the ultimate purchase.

Woods, LaFortune LLP has extensive expertise in the complex landscape of country of origin rules, marking rules and other non-tariff requirements applicable to imported goods. We advise our clients on Canadian laws, regulations and administrative policies, as well as on the rules established under applicable international trade agreements. We assist our clients in maximizing the benefits associated with specific rules of origin applied under Canadian law and under bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements.

Our customs and rules of origin practice includes:

  • Duty Drawback
  • Deferral
  • Remission
  • Country of Origin Rules
  • Marking Rules
  • Non-tariff Requirements
  • Labelling


The rules are complex, but they are extremely important to anyone who imports or plans to import goods into Canada.  If you have any questions concerning the many available duty relief programs or country of origin rules, please contact Gordon LaFortune at (613) 424-3921 or by e-mail at for a no fee, no obligation consultation.