SHIPPING & MOVING
If you've decided to bring more than just a suitcase with you to Canada, you will most likely need to arrange for international shipping. There are various ways you can bring your personal goods to Canada, depending on the size and quantity of what you're planning on bringing with you.
Household goods are transported around the world by various means, depending on the quantity of goods for shipment, urgency of delivery and cost considerations. There are two main ways to ship goods to Canada; air and sea. As with most relocation preparations, if you plan your shipment in advance it will make moving country easier and often, cheaper.
Shipping goods by sea is usually cheaper than by air, and is generally very reliable, but takes significantly longer than air to arrive from your home country. Sea freight is ideal for those who wish to transfer large amounts of goods, particularly furniture, motorbikes, cars and other large items.
If you decide to use sea freight, you will either be using a container or a groupage system (also known as consolidation). Containers are best used when you have a large amount of items to be shipped. You can usually choose from a 20 foot or 40 foot container. Groupage is used when you do not have enough items to fill a whole container, and instead group your items together with others in a container.
Air freight is a better option for those who wish to transport a small amount of goods, such as extra luggage, in a short space of time. In addition, it’s usually easier to access a nearby airport than a major port. However, this convenience means it is generally more expensive to ship goods by air.
Import Rules & Regulations
When entering Canada, it’s important to have a list of the goods you are shipping with you, and the goods that will be imported after your arrival. If you do not declare all your goods, you face the possibility of paying import tax. This list is given to a border official upon arrival to Canada.
It is prohibited to import certain items into the country, e.g. firearms, food, plants and more. There are also restrictions on alcohol and tobacco, but these can vary between provinces.
For the most up to date list of rules and regulations, see the website of the Canada Border Services Agency.
For a list of international shipping and moving companies, see our directory.