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The CBSA Publishes its January Audit Priorities List

By Zvi Halpern-Shavim, Patrick Lapierre and Cameron Hogg-Tisshaw
January 19, 2022

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) regularly conducts audits or “verifications” of importers, to assess compliance with Canada’s customs laws. Such verifications could result in additional duties, GST and/or other levies payable on imported goods, as well as required self-corrections and administrative monetary penalties (AMPS) in cases of non-compliance. Twice a year (in January and July), the CBSA publishes its verification priorities giving importers advance notice of a potential CBSA customs audit.

CBSA customs verifications target three principal program areas, namely: origin, tariff classification and value for duty. The CBSA may also conduct reviews of an importer’s level of compliance with accounting for imported entries under Canada’s customs laws, compliance with duties relief programs, or other customs requirements.

The publication of the customs verification priorities list gives importers who have not yet been notified of a customs audit an opportunity to conduct an internal customs compliance audit to assess their level of compliance, and whether there is a need to file a customs voluntary disclosure to correct any past errors.


Trade compliance is managed by the CBSA both by random and targeted verifications.

Random verifications promote voluntary compliance and are designed to measure compliance rates and revenue loss as well as to gather information that can then be used for risk assessment purposes.

Targeted verification priorities are established by the CBSA on an ongoing basis as a result of a risk-based analysis.


The most recent list released by the CBSA contains 19 tariff classification priorities and two valuation verification priorities. There are no ongoing origin verification priorities at this time. The two new classification priorities added to the list include Bicycle Parts, and Parts for Use with Machinery of Chapter 84.

For ease of reference, we have set out in table format the verification priorities by both tariff number (within Canada’s List of Tariff Provisions), targeted program (tariff classification, valuation or origin) general description and the date added to the priorities list. Importers of goods declared under the listed tariff numbers or descriptions set out in the table, may wish to take proactive measures to assess, and if necessary correct and improve, their customs compliance.


To prevent mistakes in their declarations to the CBSA, importers should aim to implement best practices that will help them keep an informed eye on any changes in legislation and ensure continuous compliance.

In the event that an importer discovers inaccuracies in past import declarations prior to being notified of an audit by the CBSA, they should take corrective measures immediately. In such situations, importers may either make a simple correction of such declarations or file a voluntary disclosure to the CBSA. By correcting or disclosing erroneous declarations in a timely manner, importers may be able to minimize applicable penalties.

Finally, while importers of goods listed as a priority are more likely to be subject to an audit by the CBSA, importers of goods that are not included in the most recent list must keep in mind that a trade compliance verification remains possible at any time, and that they are not immune to random verifications.

TABLE – January 2022 Verification Priorities of the CBSA

Tariff No.

Tariff Classification

Date Added to the List

02.07, 16.01, 16.02

Spent Fowl (Round 2)

July 2017


Pasta (Round 3)

November 2015


Pickled vegetables (Round 5)

June 2012


Other chemical products

December 2018

39.26, 42.02, 85.17

Cell phone cases (Round 3)

January 2016


Bags (Round 2)

October 2017


Gloves (Round 2)

July 2017


Footwear - C$30 or more per pair (Round 4)

March 2014


Air heater and hot air distributors (Round 2)

June 2018


Other mounting and fitting, suitable for furniture (Round 2)

June 2018


Parts for Use with Machinery of Chapter 84 (Round 3)

June 2015


Parts of machines and mechanical appliances

December 2018


Batteries (Round 4)

November 2013


Flashlights and miners’ safety lamps (Round 2)

June 2018


LED Lamps

May 2020


Bicycle Parts (Round 3)

April 2015


Stone table and counter tops (Round 2)

March 2016

94.01, 94.03

Furniture for Non-Domestic Purposes (Round 3)

January 2013


Parts of Lamps (Round 4)

September 2015


Chapters 61 and 62

Apparel (Round 4)

February 2012

Chapter 64

Footwear (Round 2)

February 2012

For further information about the CBSA and its auditing process, please contact:

Zvi Halpern-Shavim                416-863-2355
Patrick Lapierre                       514-982-4105

or any other member of our International Trade group.