New trade deal raises duty-free limits for private couriers, not Canada Post

Published June 25, 2020 at 9:22 pm


OTTAWA — The president of eBay Canada says an arcane rule in the new North American free trade agreement means people who shop online for goods sent from the U.S. or Mexico will be charged different taxes and duties depending on who delivers the packages.

Andrea Stairs says she is “mystified” why the Canadian government has thus far refused to address a problem that raises the dollar limit on duty and tax-free consumer imports delivered by private couriers but not for those delivered by Canada Post.

The new Canada-U.S.-Mexico Free Trade Agreement kicks into effect on Canada Day, and among the many new cross-border trade changes it brings is a slight increase to the maximum value of goods that can be imported duty and tax-free.

That level, called the de minimis threshold, used to be $20 for every package but CUSMA will raise it to $150 before duties are charged and $40 before GST is added — only for private couriers.

Stairs says she has been raising the issue with cabinet ministers for months but has still been given no explanation for why this has been done or whether the government will change it.

Stairs says for eBay, one of Canada’s biggest e-commerce sites, 80 per cent of the packages delivered across the border come from Canada Post.

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