Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is McMaster University’s customs broker?

McMaster University’s customs broker is FedEx Trade Networks, Tel: 905-677-7371; Fax: 905-678-7169.

2. Can I have a personal shipment delivered to the University?

The University does not permit personal shipments (including parcel post) to be delivered to a University address. Implications to the University may include suspension of the University’s import privileges by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), as well as fines against the University. Personal shipments must be delivered to a home address, regardless of whether they are shipped by Canada Post or a courier provider.

3. I’m expecting a time sensitive shipment. What should I do to ensure it arrives in a timely fashion?

Contact the shipper and ask them to provide the ship date, courier name and tracking number. Then, email the information to, along with your Purchase Order number (if applicable), and your 10 digit internal account number (to charge brokerage/duty/taxes). Customs & Traffic will check the status of your shipment and ensure it clears customs in a timely manner.

4. Is there a way for me to reduce my brokerage and shipping costs if I am receiving shipments from the U.S.?

Yes, McMaster University utilizes the service of a consolidated warehouse in Tonawanda, NY. This allows the University to consolidate shipments sent from U.S. suppliers in a cost effective manner by reducing customs brokerage and freight charges. Please visit the U.S. Consolidated Warehouse (link) website for more information.

5. What is an Export Declaration B13A?

Exports to non-U.S. destinations must be reported to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) when they have a commercial value of $2000.00 CAD or more; or are controlled, regulated or prohibited; regardless of value. It is the exporter’s responsibility to ensure an Export Declaration B13A has been submitted to CBSA. If a B13A is required, please contact the Customs and Traffic Division as they will electronically submit a B13A via the Canadian Automated Export Declaration program. Failure to file a B13A prior to export may result in the exporter being assessed significant fines by CBSA under their Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS).

6. I received a Customs Invoice along with a shipment I received from an international supplier. The Customs Invoice states a value of $50.00 U.S., however I purchased the item for $1299.00 U.S. Do I need to report this discrepancy in value?

Yes, you must report this to the Customs and Traffic Division as they may need to submit a voluntary amendment with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). All members of the McMaster University community must cooperate to ensure that we are 100% accurate and compliant with CBSA regulations. Therefore, any discrepancies (valuation, shortages, overages, etc.) must be reported immediately. It is advisable to obtain a revised invoice from you supplier showing the necessary corrections. A copy of the original invoice, along with the revised invoice, needs to be submitted to the Customs and Traffic Division in order to submit the voluntary amendment with CBSA.

7. I’m buying a new piece of equipment from overseas. Do I have to pay GST?

Yes, the Goods and Services tax (5%) is applicable on all goods and services produced, manufactured, or imported into Canada. However, most University departments receive a 67% rebate of the 5% GST. GST is assessed at the time of import by the University’s customs broker.

8. How do I obtain my Federal Express account number?

Send an email request to You will be provided with your department’s FedEx account number.

9. I’ve been advised by the supplier that I require an Import Permit prior to them sending my shipment. How do I go about getting an Import Permit?

Import Permits may be required for importing Human Pathogens, Animal Pathogens, Live Animals, Plants or Plant Products, Seeds or other goods subject to Import Controls. Please visit the Import Permits and the Import Controls List page for additional information and links to the various regulatory agencies/application forms.

10. If departments only have one FedEx account number per department, how do I ensure that charges are correctly applied to my own internal account number?

The University receives electronic billing from FedEx. In order to ensure accurate allocation of the FedEx charges, the shipper is responsible for correctly completing the FedEx waybill. The shipper must include their 10 digit University account number (i.e. 5123456100) in the “Your (Internal) Reference” field of the waybill. This is the only field that your 10 digit internal account number can be referenced in to ensure that it is captured and included with our electronic billing.

If the account number is not provided, then your departments default account number is charged. This creates unnecessary work for your department, and Customs & Traffic, as your department requests copies of the charges to see who the FedEx shipment belonged to so they can process a journal entry. Additional information can be obtained on the Customs and Traffic website under Federal Express (link).