Because importers… not their brokers, not their suppliers… are ultimately responsible for customs compliance, sound compliance practices need to be woven into the culture of any company that moves goods across the border.
Building a compliance program will help ensure everyone in your company adheres to the laws and regulations you are bound to. And adopting practices consistently across your company will help mitigate against unnecessary risk and liability in the eyes of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
A Compliance Manual is an essential part of your compliance program.
A Compliance Manual is used as a reference to communicate to your staff how the company handles customs valuation, classification, origin and tariff assignments as well as the method and rationale for doing so. A Compliance Manual documents what has been done in the past and what continues to be done to meet compliance requirements.
A Compliance Manual should include – for starters – all company procedures and documentation related to:
AMPS (the CBSA’s Administrative Monetary Penalty System)
Business Numbers (BNs) and BN corrections
Detailed Adjustment Statement (DAS) procedures
Maintenance of Records
NAFTA and other free trade agreements
Post-entry adjustments, B2 refunds and amendments
Standard Operating Procedures (see below)
Your company’s compliance professionals can flesh out other pertinent elements that should be included in your business’s compliance plan.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are a key component of an effective compliance plan and should be spelled out in the Compliance Manual.
SOP provide a detailed explanation of how a policy is implemented by your company. An effective SOP communicates all aspects of the company’s compliance plan, including:
who will perform each task
where the task will take place
when the task will be performed
how the staff member will execute the task
all documentation that shows the task was completed
Compliance is an ongoing process, not a one-shot deal. Compliance practices need to be applied company-wide and be continually reviewed to ensure consistency with CBSA requirements and that they are consistently applied by all staff.
Implement a compliance program today
Don’t let poor compliance practices affect your business and impact your reputation. Ensure the alignment between your business polices and customs regulations by developing a Compliance Manual that includes SOP.