On November 30, 2020, the Trudeau government released its Fall Economic Statement 2020 titled “Supporting Canadians and Fighting COVID-19.” Among other things, the statement announced several updates to previously announced measures, including the temporary zero-rating of certain personal protective equipment for purposes of the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax.
As detailed in Customs Notice 20-34, temporary relief — i.e., zero-rating for GST/HST purposes as “Medical and Assistive Devices” — is now applicable for specified goods (see below) imported on or after December 7, 2020.
Canada Border Services Agency advises that the relief will only be in effect until use of the subject goods is no longer broadly recommended by public health officials for the COVID-19 pandemic, at which time CBSA will issue an updated Customs Notice.
Scope of Coverage
Goods entitled to relief under the temporary relief provisions include the following:
- 3926.90.10: Plastic safety face shields (covering more than the eyes area), designed for use by workers employed in hazardous work, and parts thereof
- 3926.90.10: Respirators, consisting of several layers of nonwovens of man-made fibres, whether or not treated with activated carbon, with or without an exhalation valve, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere
- 3926.90.99: Plastic face-masks, without mechanical parts, with or without a replaceable non-woven filter
- 4818.90.00: Cellulose/paper masks
- 6307.90.10: Textile face-masks, without a replaceable filter or mechanical parts, including surgical masks and disposable face-masks made of non-woven textiles. Respirators, NIOSH approved or equivalent, consisting of several layers of nonwovens of man-made fibres, whether or not treated with activated carbon, with or without an exhalation valve, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere.
- 6307.90.99: Face-masks of other textile materials
Note: For qualified commercial goods (noted above, and more specifically, as described in the Legislative Proposals to Amend the Excise Tax Act or para. 3 of CN-20-34), importers must report the GST status code in field 35 “Rate of GST” of the B3-3 (Canada Customs Coding Form) by inserting code “57” for the GST.
Do Your Goods Qualify?
If the tariff classification of a product is uncertain, importers may request an advance ruling from CBSA by following the procedures outlined in Memorandum D11-11-3.
CBSA advises that importers may also call the GST/HST Rulings Centre at 1-800-959-8287 or request a written ruling or interpretation to determine whether the goods in question qualify for relief. If the physical location of your business is in Quebec, contact Revenu Québec, at 1-800-567-4692.
Overpayments of GST for commercial goods may be recovered by submitting Form B2, Canada Customs – Adjustment Request to a regional CBSA office in accordance with the procedures outlined in Customs Memo D6-2-3.
Need More Information?
Should you have any questions about these updated tax relief measures for certain PPE, don’t hesitate to contact one of our knowledgeable trade experts to discuss this issue in more depth.