Canada Border Services Agency
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Offload policy for highway examinations

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is committed to providing Canadians with a secure and efficient border operation and ensuring that commercial examinations are conducted at the land border in a way that supports the movement of legitimate trade while recognizing the needs of the importing community.

The CBSA's offload policy supports the following key objectives:

  • ensure that facilities and resources are conducive to the safe and secure operation of a responsible compliance verification program;
  • maintain operational efficiencies while providing clients with the standard of service that is expected of the CBSA; and
  • provide a safe and healthy working environment for employees and others who are lawfully on CBSA premises.

Under the Customs Act, carriers must present their goods to an officer for examination if requested. As part of this process, carriers must remove, as appropriate, any covering from goods, unload any conveyance or open any part of the conveyance, and unpack any package or container that the officer wishes to examine. All persons reporting goods are responsible for all costs related to unloading and reloading their conveyance.

Under the CBSA's time standard, goods must be presented for examination within two hours. If goods are not presented within this time frame, an administrative monetary penalty (C026) under the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) may be assessed for failing to report goods. Details on administrative monetary penalties can be found in the AMPS Master Penalty Document.

To advance responsible border management and as a convenience to carriers, the CBSA has arranged for a pre-approved offload service provider to be available at a number of the high-volume designated commercial offices to offload vehicles selected for examination in a timely and efficient manner.

With the approval of the examining officer, carriers may perform the offload themselves or engage another service provider of their choice to do this; however, health, safety and security requirements of the port must be respected.

Some of the factors that the examining officer may consider when approving an alternate arrangement include but are not limited to the following: the carrier or other provider must supply the appropriate equipment to safely perform the offload, the carrier or other provider is qualified to safely operate the equipment, and the carrier or other provider is insured to cover all liabilities.

Policy guidelines

The obligation to report and present goods to the CBSA for examination is established in the Customs Act. The CBSA has no involvement in the financial transactions that take place between any offload service provider and the carrier.

After a carrier has been notified that his or her shipment is to be examined, he or she will have two hours to finalize arrangements with a service provider and present his or her goods for examination. Failing to present goods within this time period contravenes the Customs Act and a penalty may be assessed against the carrier.

At no time will a CBSA employee at a designated commercial office operate forklifts or tow motors, open containers or engage in the offload or reload process.

For the convenience of carriers, the CBSA has arranged for a pre-approved offload service provider to be available at a number of the high-volume designated commercial offices. At the request of the carrier, this service provider can provide offloading services at designated commercial offices. This service provider has successfully met or exceeded the following conditions established by the CBSA:

  1. All labourers have a valid enhanced security clearance.
  2. A minimum of one labourer per offload has the valid licences/certificates and the proper training designation to operate offloading equipment.
  3. The service provider provides all equipment and supplies required for conducting offloads and reloads, including forklifts.
  4. The service provider is bonded and carries appropriate liability insurance.
  5. The service provider is on site during core hours and at all other times will report to the site within two hours (in this case, the carrier's requirement to finalize arrangements with a service provider and present goods for examination within two hours will only start once the CBSA pre-approved service provider reports to the designated commercial office).
  6. The pre-approved service provider will offer competitive fixed pricing for offload services and payment options (e.g. cash, credit card, debit, standing account).

Offload rates

Please see below for the most current offload rates (effective February 01, 2015).

Palletized Goods and Bulk Loads

Core hours Monday to Friday (Excluding Holidays)
Charge per hour of labour / Per person (1st hour) $150.00
Charge per hour of labour / Per person (2nd & each additional hour) $60.00
Call back service
Charge per hour of labour / Per person (1st hour) $120.00
Charge per hour of labour / Per person (2nd & each additional hour) $65.00
Minimum charge for "Call Back" services $200.00

These prices are in Canadian dollars and exclude both GST and HST.
Rates effective February 01, 2015.

Address of offload service provider:

Employment Professionals Canada
1220 Garrison Road
Fort Erie, ON L2A 1P1
1-800-842-0421

Please be advised that the pre-approved offload service provider maintains a presence at the following high-volume designated commercial offices:

  • St. Stephen, N.B.
  • Woodstock, N.B.
  • Lacolle, Que.
  • Lansdowne, Ont.
  • Niagara Falls, Ont. (Queenston Bridge)
  • Fort Erie, Ont. (Peace Bridge)
  • Windsor, Ont. (Ambassador Bridge)
  • Sarnia, Ont. (Blue Water Bridge)
  • Emerson, Man.
  • Coutts, Alta.
  • Osoyoos, B.C.
  • Kingsgate, B.C.
  • Huntingdon, B.C.
  • Pacific Highway, B.C.

If you will be reporting your commercial shipment at a location other than those listed above, it is advisable to have the contact information of a local offload service provider in the event that your shipment is identified for examination.