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Recordkeeping Requirements Reminder (CANADA)

Importers including non-resident importers are obligated to maintain records pertaining to goods imported into Canada.

Regulations specify that every person who is required to keep records in respect of commercial goods shall keep but not limited to all records relating to the purchase, importation, costs, value and payment for the goods.  Also, this person shall keep records of the sale or disposal of the goods in Canada.

These regulations, also specify that these records shall be kept for a six year period following the importation of the commercial goods.

Record-keeping requirements for imported commercial goods apply to resident and non-resident importers, including exporters abroad who ship commercial goods to themselves in Canada.

Generally, an importer is required to maintain imported goods records at its place of business in Canada. However, an importer may submit an application to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) requesting authorization to maintain records at a location in Canada other than its place of business.  The letter must identify the business address where the records will be maintained and how the location relates to the importer (e.g., accountant’s office, customs broker office).

Non-resident importers usually do not maintain a place of business in Canada but may forward invoices, shipping records, and other related documents to a licensed customs broker who prepares accounting documents on their behalf, pays duties, takes delivery of the goods, and arranges delivery based on their instructions.

A customs broker, accountant, or other authorized agent may be designated by a non-resident importer to maintain its records in Canada.  The CBSA will only authorize this designation when the importer submits a request in writing for review and approval indicating the business address where the records will be maintained as well as the agent’s relationship to the importer.

Importers may also submit a request to the CBSA for an authorization to maintain records at their place of business outside of Canada, at a specific location authorized by the CBSA, or designate an agent to keep records on their behalf. An example of the information required on an agreement to maintain records outside of Canada can be found in the Appendix to D-Memorandum D17-1-21.  The agreement must be signed and forwarded to the Canada Border Services Agency.


Where it is determined that an importer has failed to comply with any of the requirements for the maintenance of records, the importer will be requested to fulfill these requirements within a reasonable period of time.  If an importer fails to comply with the requirements of record maintenance the CBSA may assess Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) penalties.