Canada: What you can and can't ship

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Serene Canadian Lake reflecting the breathtaking beauty of nature.
Shipping your goods to Canada is an exciting venture, however it involves some specific considerations. Canada has certain regulations on what you can and can't bring into the country for personal use during the moving process. In this blog article, we delve into the details of what you can and can't ship into Canada, to avoid any nasty surprises upon your consignments arrival. 

Canadian customs can be strict on imports. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) is responsible for enforcing customs laws and regulations at the Canadian borders, and they have a duty to protect the country's safety, security and economy. Not following Canadian customs regulations can have serious consequences, both legally and operationally. If you do not adhere to the customs laws, The CBSA can issue various penalties, including seizure of goods, fines or criminal charges and legal prosecution. To avoid these consequences, you must stay informed about the current customs regulations, maintain accurate documentation and adhere to all requirements. 

Customs regulations can change from time to time. It is always worth seeking advice from your international move manager to help ensure compliance and to mitigate potential risks. You can also stay up to date by reading the Canadian Imports FIDI Guide which we recommend reading before shipping you goods to Canada.

What items can I ship to Canada?

A wide range of items can be shipped to Canada, including your household items and personal belongings. Here are some common types of items that can be shipped into Canada:

Personal belongings
When moving to Canada, you will be able to ship the contents of your property in the UK such  as clothes, books, furniture and household items. No matter how bulky or awkward-shaped your furniture items are, you can ship them into the country without any problems. 

You can ship essential documents, including letters, certificates, legal papers, educational materials and more into Canada. 

Items like laptops, smartphones, cameras, desktops, speakers, and other electronic devices are allowed to be imported into Canada for personal use. 

Books and media 
Books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and other media can be shipped into Canada. 

Pieces of art, crafts and sculptures can be shipped into Canada, however certain cultural artefacts may have specific restrictions. If you are unaware of these restrictions, please contact your Move Manager or visit the online Canadian Imports FIDI Guide.  

Toys and games
Toys, board games and other recreational items can be shipped into Canada for personal use. 

Personal care products
Items like cosmetics, skincare products, and personal care items are allowed for importation into Canada. 

Sentimental items
Items of sentimental value such as photographs and memorabilia, are allowed to be shipped into Canada. 

You can import your vehicle into Canada, but it must comply with Canadian regulations and may be subject to taxes and duties. 

You can bring your pets into Canada, but they must meet specific import requirements, including vaccinations and health certificates. Pickfords can arrange a pet travel service to destinations worldwide, including Canada. To find out more about this service, visit our international pet shipping page on our website, 

It's essential to check the specific regulations and guidelines provided by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Some items may require special permits or certifications for importation, and others may be subject to import duties or taxes. Consulting with us before you book your shipment to Canada can help ensure a smooth and hassle-free shipping process.

What items can I not ship to Canada?

There are a number of items which you cannot import into Canada, as they are a risk to the country. Some of the regulations laid out below may affect your shipment more than others, however it is always important to double check with your Move Manager to ensure you are following the most up-to-date information. 

Prohibited items
Certain items are strictly prohibited from importation to Canada. These include weapons, illegal drugs, counterfeit goods and dangerous materials. 

Restricted items
Some items are restricted and may require special permits or certifications. These can include certain medications, plants and certain food products. 

Cultural artefacts 
Importing cultural artefacts without proper authorisation is not allowed. 

Hazardous materials
Items classified as hazardous materials, such as certain chemicals and explosives, cannot be shipped without proper authorisation. 

Inappropriate material
Pornographic material or materials promoting hate speech and violence are not allowed. 

Counterfeit goods
Importing counterfeit or pirated goods is strictly prohibited.

As well as the obvious, there are some unusual items that cannot be imported into Canada due to various reasons, including health, safety, environmental concerns, protection of cultural heritage and compliance with international agreements. It's important  for you to be aware of these unusual import restrictions when shipping goods to Canada. Here are some examples of unusual items that are prohibited or restricted from being imported into Canada:

  • Kinder Surprise Eggs: These popular chocolate eggs with small toys inside are prohibited in Canada due to concerns about the toys' potential chocking hazard for children. 
  • Switchblade knives: The importation of switchblade knives is restricted in Canada due to their potential use as weapons. 
  • Dog and cat fur products: Importing products made from dog and cat fur is prohibited in Canada to prevent animal cruelty and protect endangered species. 
  • Certain types of literature: Materials promoting hate speech, violence, or child pornography are prohibited from importation. 
  • Shark fins: The importation of shark fins is restricted in Canada to protect shark populations and prevent illegal fishing practices. 
  • Some invasive species: Certain plants, seeds, and animals that are considered invasive species or pose a threat to Canadian ecosystems are prohibited.
  • Obscene or immoral material: Items considered obscene or immoral are not allowed to be imported.
  • Cultural artefacts and antiquities: Importing certain cultural artefacts and antiquities without proper authorization is prohibited to protect Canada's cultural heritage.
  • Certain pharmaceuticals and medications: Some prescription medications and pharmaceuticals may be restricted or require special permits for importation.