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Customs FAQ

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The customs charges are brokerage, taxes, and duty if applicable.

  • Brokerage fees will always be $11.17 CAD after the University’s tax rebate.
  • Tax is the GST portion of the HST.
  • Contact Customs & Traffic to determine if duty is applicable. Most items are duty-free, or, there are provisions in place to waive the duty.
  1. Convert the purchase price of your good to CAD. You can find the current exchange rate on the Bank of Canada website.
  2. Multiply the CAD price by 5%; then 33% (this is the amount you are required to remit after the University’s rebate)
  3. Add the brokerage fee of $11.17 CAD.

This is the approximate total customs charges you will be billed, after University rebates have been applied.

B13A is an export declaration, which is completed by McMaster’s customs & traffic officer, for exporting goods valued at $2000 CAD or greater.

Shipments to the USA do not require a B13A.

If shipping online with FedEx to a country other than the U.S, and goods are less than $2000, no B13A is required, use exemption code 02.

Every shipment entering Canada has to be declared to the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA). When shipments indicating McMaster University as the receiver arrive at customs, the CBSA requires McMaster University to remit the customs charges.

In some cases, there are provisions in place which may waive applicable duty and taxes, but the brokerage fee will remain.

McMaster University should not account for unsolicited shipments. Notify the customs & traffic office immediately if you are contacted about, or receive, a shipment you have not solicited.


Most countries are using a harmonized system of names and numbers to classify goods imported and exported. This code determines the applicable duty when accounting to customs in any country.

The Harmonized codes are listed by the CBSA online.

  1. Visit the CBSA online listing.
  2. Find the Chapter related to the goods you are shipping.
  3. Open the PDF file for the associated chapter.
  4. Search for the best description of the goods you are shipping.
  5. The Harmonized Code is listed in the Tariff Item column. The first 6 digits are required for your documents,
  • Commercial Invoice- goods are being sold
  • Pro-Forma Invoice- goods are not being sold

The shipment has to release customs before delivery can be made. Please e-mail with the tracking number, and  the Chart Field for the customs charges. The Customs and Traffic office will respond with the status of your shipment.

There may be a variety of factors causing delay. Usually, the shipment has to be released from customs before it will deliver. This is based on the commodity or the value, and will typically add one day to the shipment process.

Example: A ‘Next Day’ shipment is sent out on Monday. It will arrive at Customs on Tuesday and require release. The shipment will deliver on Wednesday unless arrangements are made to expedite.

The customs and traffic office can arrange for same-day delivery upon release from customs. A courier can be arranged for a fee of $55 CAD.

Please note that delivery can not be expedited with TNT or DHL.


There are too many customs charges across the university to bill each individually. Instead, the university uploads journal entries into Mosaic collectively. A chartfield account is required to process the customs fee for each shipment.

McMaster University uses an American warehouse, Freight Boy, to receive international shipments.

To use this service, the address must be:

F.B. Logistics C/O McMaster University

4450 Witmer Industrial Estates Unit 4

Niagara Falls, NY 14305

PH# 1-855-378-2697

Fax# 1-716-278-5943

Please advise you have used the warehouse, provide the bill of sale or sales receipt and the Chart Field account for the customs and shipping charges.