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eManifest – How Recent Regulatory Changes Impact the Role of the Freight Forwarder

The CBSA defines a freight forwarder as “An agent who arranges for the transportation of goods and who may provide other services such as grouping and consolidating shipments, de-stuffing containers, Customs brokerage, and warehousing.”
In June, 2013, the Canada Border Services Agency introduced new systems to allow freight forwarders to electronically transmit advance house bill data to the CBSA. This “eManifest” capability is part of an ongoing CBSA initiative to modernize and improve cross-border commercial processes, enabling CBSA to target high-risk imports before they reach Canada, while speeding up the clearance process for low-risk importers.
Implementation timeline for eManifest requirements
  • On May 6, 2015, regulatory amendments were enacted making eManifest requirements for freight forwarders legally binding. An initial voluntary compliance period followed, with mandatory compliance coming into force on November 7, 2016.
  • Between November 7, 2016 and January 10, 2017, although freight forwarders are required to submit eManifests, the CBSA will not issue penalties for non-compliance but rather will work with freight forwarders on corrective measures.
  • From January 11, 2017 to July 11, 2017, freight forwarders deemed to be non-compliant with eManifest requirements may be issued non-monetary penalties under the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS).
  • Beginning July 12, 2017, freight forwarders deemed to be non-compliant with eManifest requirements may be issued monetary AMPS penalties.
Additional responsibilities for freight forwarders
  • Freight forwarders must have a valid CBSA-issued freight forwarder code and the CBSA must have up-to-date company contact information.
  • Freight forwarders are responsible for maintaining records for three years plus the current year to comply with regulations.
  • Freight forwarders can transmit advance house bill data using either an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) method or the eManifest Portal.
  • Freight forwarders are advised to print or download Submitted Trade Documents as required since the eManifest Portal is a transmission method only and is not meant for use as a records management database.
Refer to the CBSA website for further information, including detailed regulatory information, relevant D-Memoranda, and mode-specific requirements for eManifest submissions.
Contact your Logistics Coordinator to learn more about these important regulatory changes and how they affect your business. For more general information, contact us today to discuss your shipping needs.
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