On July 2, CIFFA received a written response from Peter Hill, Vice-President, Commercial and Trade Branch, with the CBSA.

Mr. Hill was thanking CIFFA Executive Director Bruce Rodgers for his correspondence of June 14, 2021, regarding the upcoming end of the zero rated penalty period for electronic house bills.

Hill indicated he appreciated the input provided by CIFFA and understood that there continues to be a learning curve with electronic house bill processes for both internal and external stakeholders.

“In light of your concerns, I would like to advise that the CBSA will refrain from issuing monetary penalties over the next few months, and recommit to continuing our engagement and collaboration with CIFFA and other industry partners, but we will proceed with a full implementation of electronic house bill requirements including monetary penalties in the fall 2021. During this transition time, the CBSA is pleased to continue offering support to external clients through the continuation of bi-weekly implementation calls, and I hope that all freight forwarders and impacted stakeholders take advantage of the information and guidance provided during those calls.”

(View full CBSA letter)

June 14, 2021.

Att. The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Finance

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario,
K1A 0A6



Dear Minister,

We are writing to express alarm and frustration at recent developments in the marine shipping sector which will have negative impacts on Canadian businesses and consumers.

In the last week major shipping lines have announced new “Destination Terminal Handling Charges” on Canadian imports and exports. These fees are not justified, or justifiable.

Ocean shipping has enjoyed an extremely lucrative period during the Covid 19 outbreak.  Demand has been at record high levels and, in addition, shipping firms have been levying huge penalties on Canadian customers struggling to access containers amid the congestion in ports and terminals.

(This latter practice is so egregious it has triggered an investigation by US marine authorities.)

As Minister of Finance you will be preoccupied with concerns about rising inflation.  Clearly, we will experience some unprecedented trends in our economy as we emerge from the Covid pandemic and no one can be blamed for that.  But opportunistic and punitive charges such as these are not in that category. They are levied by service suppliers who see an opportunity in the chaos caused by Covid-19 and unafraid of any reaction from the traditionally supine Canadian regulators.

We urge you to investigate this situation. As you may know, the marine container sector has a long history of domination by explicit cartels. With 80% of our trade exposed to this industry, hardly a Canadian business or consumer is unaffected by price manipulation of this kind.


With best wishes,

Bruce Rodgers            Executive Director, CIFFA

Julia Kuzeljevich          Public Affairs Manager, CIFFA 

The Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) represents some 260 regular member firms from the largest of global multi-national freight forwarding firms to small and medium sized Canadian companies. CIFFA member companies employ tens of thousands of highly skilled international trade and transportation specialists. As a vital component of Canada’s global supply chain, member firms of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) facilitate the movement of goods around the world. Freight forwarders provide a vital link in Canada’s global supply chains, enhancing export capabilities and assisting in the delivery of competitive solutions to Canada’s importing and exporting communities.