Aiming to create “a meaningful deterrent to importer non-compliance related to the evasion of import revenues and ensuring compliance with trade programs,” the Canada Border Services Agency has announced that effective April 1, 2019, it will be significantly hiking most of the Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPS) which it charges importers when they breach various customs regulations.
Auditor General Report
The move comes following a 2017 Independent Assurance Report on the management of customs duties by the federal Auditor General which found that existing penalties “were probably too low to improve importer compliance” and recommended that the CBSA “should review its penalties in order to better protect import revenues and ensure compliance with trade programs.”
What is Increasing?
Accordingly, the following contraventions will have their penalty amounts substantially increased (at all levels): C004, C080, C081, C082, C083, C152, C157, C168, C169, C214, C215, C216, C217, C218, C223, C224, C298, C336, C350, C351, C352 and C353. Please refer to the AMPS Master Penalty Document for a list describing the specific nature of each contravention and to the table below for the applicable amounts involved.
|Contravention Code||Offense||Current PENALTY Amount||New PENALTY Amount
EFFECTIVE April 1, 2019
|C004, C152, C168,
C169, C223, C224
|C080, C081, C082, C083,
C350, C351, C352, C353
|1st||$150 to a max. $5,000 (per issue) or $25,000 (per occurrence)||$500 to max. $5,000 (per issue) or $25,000 (per occurrence)|
|2nd||$225 to a max. $200,000 (per occurrence)||$750 to a max. $200,000 (per occurrence)|
|3rd+||$450 to a max. $400,000 (per occurrence)||$1,500 to a max. $400,000 (per occurrence)|
|C157, C214, C215,
C216, C217, C218, C298
|C336||Fixed||$100 per instance||$200 per instance|
In the case of two exceptions, CBSA will not be increasing system generated penalties related to the timing for accounting for imported goods. These AMPS are:
- C288 (failure to account for imported goods within 5 business days of their release where estimated value is greater than $2,500) and;
- C292 (failure to account for imported goods no later than the 24th day of the month following the month of their release where estimated value does not exceed $2,500). Industry stakeholders had warned that increasing penalties in these instances would have had potentially disproportionate, unintended impacts on small and medium-sized businesses.
Transitioning to the New Structure
It should be noted that to ease the transition to the new penalty structure, the CBSA will reset the penalty level to the first level for the contraventions that occur on or after April 1. This is to avoid unanticipated impacts on industry that could occur by issuing second and third level penalties at higher levels than previously indicated.
The maximum Administrative Monetary Penalty of $25,000 remains unchanged.