Other service options

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) offers a range of service options for the release of imported commercial goods. Many of these processes involve electronic data interchange (EDI) technology and have replaced some paper release options.

EDI systems

Line release

The following line release options speed up the release processing time and help reduce congestion at the border:

Pre-arrival Review System

The Pre-arrival Review System (PARS) allows importers and brokers to submit release on minimum documentation (RMD) information to the CBSA for review and processing before their goods arrive in Canada. This speeds up the release or referral for examination process when the goods arrive in Canada.

The electronic transmission and exceptions to transmitting electronically when using the PARS release option are the same as for RMD. Goods that require permits, licences or certificates, including those commodities controlled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), can be processed using PARS. Provided the client submits the PARS request within the following time frames, the release recommendation will be ready by the time the goods arrive in Canada:

EDI: at least one hour before arrival
Paper: at least two hours before arrival

When the shipment arrives, the CBSA will release it within minutes unless an examination or further processing is required to meet another government department's regulation.

For details on line release, see Memorandum D17-1-4, Release of Commercial Goods.


As of April 1, 2008, the CBSA no longer accepts paper versions of RMD or PARS requests. There are certain exceptions to this requirement for which the client may submit a paper package with an exceptions lead sheet attached.

If these exceptions do not apply, a release request may be submitted with a Form B3 (type C), Canada Customs Coding Form, attached or the client may solicit the services of an EDI-capable broker.

Foreign Affairs/Customs Automated Permit System (EXCAPS)

Under EXCAPS, importers or brokers obtain a permit from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. During the import process, the department electronically transmits the permit information to the ACROSS database while the importer or broker transmits the release information. The CBSA will not release the shipment if the data from both sources does not match. Once the goods are released, a notice is sent to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada indicating that the permit has been used.

Customs/Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) interface

Many commodities falling under CFIA regulations may be released by EDI in some locations. To learn more about this program, please contact the Electronic Commerce Unit's toll-free line at 1-888-957-7224.

Commercial Cash Entry Processing System (CCEPS)

The Commercial Cash Entry Processing System (CCEPS) is a self-serve automated system that helps clients prepare the required documents for clearing their commercial imports. The system assists the clients in completing the B3 coding form and automatically calculates the duties and taxes owing. Personal computers are located in designated CBSA offices where clients can input their shipment information. To use CCEPS, clients require a business number (importer number) and an invoice or other supporting documents such as cargo control documents, permits and certificates, if applicable. Based on the information inputted for the imported goods, CCEPS calculates the applicable duties and taxes and generates a completed paper copy of a Form B3 that the client signs and then submits to the border services officer. The information is entered into ACROSS and if the information is accurate and no problems are found, the paperwork will continue to be processed. Once the client receives proof of payment, he or she must then present this document to the warehouse operator to obtain his or her goods. For more information, contact your nearest CBSA office.

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