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Customs and Imports

Purchasing Services supports departments managing the importing and exporting of goods on behalf of the university to ensure TMU’s compliance with relevant customs clearance laws, regulations and policies, including Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) legislation.

To arrange imports or exports, it is imperative to proactively engage Purchasing Services as early as possible. They will assist you to ensure TMU and your department are not subject to administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) as a result of incorrect customs declarations. 

Purchasing Services works closely with Thompson Ahern International (external link) , TMU’s Canadian customs broker, to manage the university’s customs brokerage activities.

If you have any questions related to the importing or exporting of goods, please contact Purchasing Services.

Toronto Metropolitan University serves as the importer of record for any goods imported into Canada on behalf of the university and is therefore  responsible for ensuring imported goods comply with applicable laws and regulations. As the importer of record, TMU bears financial responsibility for paying assessed import duties and other taxes on goods to the Canadian government.

Purchasing Services acts as the liaison between TMU and the university’s customs broker, Thompson Ahern International. As TMU’s customs broker, Thompson Ahern International serves as an intermediary between the university, the Canada Border Services Agency and the transportation provider and ensures compliance with Canada’s Customs Act (external link) .

Instructions for importing goods into Canada

When placing an order with a non-Canadian supplier or vendor, you are required to provide a free on board (FOB) destination (Toronto Metropolitan University) and ensure freight is prepaid. This ensures that until the goods are delivered to TMU, the responsibility for the shipment rests with the vendor or supplier, including any freight charges or damage to goods while in transit.

Ordering via Purchase Order (PO)

Goods may be imported by completing the Purchasing Requisition form available on the Financial Information System (FIS). Your Purchasing Requisition form should include a delivery address (including the recipient’s name, department, building name and room number). It is important that any goods being imported that are perishable or hazardous are clearly indicated. Once completed, Purchasing Services will create a Purchase Order on your behalf.

In the event goods are perishable or hazardous, the vendor must also clearly indicate this on all documentation and packaging and include relevant supporting documentation like permits or licenses.

Ordering via TMU Purchasing Card (P-Card)

To place an order to import goods into Canada via a P-Card, please provide the vendor with:

  • Your name and contact information
  • A cost centre for your order (the cost centre will be used as your reference number)
  • Shipping information, including an address, building name and room number
  • The name of TMU’s customs broker: Thompson Ahern International
  • If your order includes perishable goods, provide this information to the vendor

Note: Hazardous goods cannot be ordered via P-Card and require a Purchase Order.

All customs paperwork must be shared with Thompson Ahern International in advance of customs clearance. Please contact Purchasing Services to request Thompson Ahern International’s contact information.

When placing an order via P-Card, you are not required to complete a Purchase Order.

Applicable fees

A customs brokerage fee (currently at  $11.50 CAD per entry) is applied to all imported goods.

The employee or department importing goods into Canada is responsible for paying customs brokerage fees and any other additional duties or taxes via a TMU cost centre. This also includes any administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) that result from incorrect customs declarations. 


TMU and Thompson Ahern International are not responsible for coordinating the importation of goods into Canada on behalf of:

  • Students who are not employed by or conducting research on behalf of TMU
  • Employees coordinating personal shipments unrelated to their employment
  • Affiliated groups, including student unions, course unions and student groups

Toronto Metropolitan University serves as the importer of record for all exports from Canada unless otherwise requested by the recipient. For all exports, TMU must complete a commercial invoice (provided by the vendor) and share it with the transportation provider at the point of pickup.

Import instructions for vendors

International vendors shipping goods to TMU must follow the university’s shipping instructions and ensure all applicable documentation is provided.

Required documentation

Each shipment of imported goods must include two copies of the following documents, with one copy included inside the shipment and one copy given to the transportation provider.

  1. Commercial invoice
    1. Your commercial invoice must include the following:
      1. Purchase Order number
      2. The vendor’s full name and address
      3. The consignee’s full name (i.e. the entity financially responsible for the receipt of shipment) and address
      4. The importer of record’s name (Toronto Metropolitan University) and address
      5. Part numbers
      6. An accurate description of the goods
      7. The total number of pieces in the shipment and their weight
      8. An itemized list of all goods in the shipment, including monetary values, unit costs and the extended total
      9. The total value of the shipment, including all discount amounts and types on separate lines
      10. The country of origin (for each individual order)
  2. Canada Customs Invoice (external link)  (for shipments over $1,600 CAD)
  3. A packing list (or packing slip) detailing the contents, weight and total number of packages in your shipment
  4. Other documentation as required. This may include:
    1. Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUMSA) certification of origin (external link) 
    2. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) (external link)  for materials controlled by the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
    3. Perishable goods may be subject to additional documentation. Please contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (external link)  directly at 1-800-442-2342 if you have any questions
    4. Hazardous materials may be subject to additional documentation. Please contact Health Canada (external link)  directly at 1-800-442-2342

Importing perishable goods

Shipments including perishable goods should be packed to withstand 72 hours in transit and should be shipped no later than Wednesday as the university is unable to accept shipments on weekends.

Shipping instructions for vendors


Vendors are responsible for providing a copy of all required documentation to Thompson Ahern International (external link)  prior to shipping by emailing or faxing to

Vendors must ensure that all shipping labels, invoice labels and waybills include the following information:

  • Toronto Metropolitan University

        Contact name/consignee

        Department name

        350 Victoria Street

        Toronto, Ontario

        M5B 2K3

  • Purchase Order number
  • Cost centre number (when ordering via P-Card)
  • Customs broker name: Thompson Ahern International

Access customs forms

Download commonly used Canadian customs forms by visiting the resources page (external link)  on the Thompson Ahern International website.