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ACI eManifest Requirements

Learn what's required in order to cross commercially into Canada

ACI Timeline

April 2004 - CBSA ACI Marine Mode implemented. Requires marine cargo data to be declared electronically 24 hours prior to arrival at port(s).

July 2006 - CBSA initiates phase 2 of the ACI program, and requires air carriers and freight forwarders (where applicable) to electronically transmit conveyance data to CBSA 4 hours prior to arrival.

June 2009 - Canadian Parliament passes Bill S2 Customs Act which creates the framework and funding for CBSA to require electronic data for all shipments (Air, Marine, Highway, Rail).

December 2009 - ACI highway pilot programs begin for highway carriers.

November 2010 - CBSA enables Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) transmission of eManifest pre-arrival data for highway carriers.

August 2011 - CBSA launches eManifest portal for highway carriers.

May 2012 - eManifest EDI enabled for rail carriers.

November 2012 - First period of ACI informed compliance begins for highway carriers.

July 2015 - ACI eManifest becomes mandatory for rail and highway modes. Zero-rated AMPS penalties issued for ACI non-compliance.

January 2016 - CBSA begins to issue monetary AMPS penalties for ACI non-compliance.

November 2016 - CBSA begins a period of transition for freight forwarders to comply with ACI eManifest.

January 2017 - Freight forwarders who have not complied with ACI eManifest may be issued zero-rated AMPS penalties for non-compliance.

ACI eManifest Requirements

The Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program introduces more effective risk management processes and tools to identify threats to our health, safety, and security prior to the arrival of cargo and conveyances in Canada. The purpose of this page is to provide general information on the ACI program. For complete ACI guidelines please refer to the following Customs Departmental Memorandums from Canada Border Services Agency.

ACI Program Overview

The ACI program is about providing CBSA officers with electronic pre-arrival information so that they are equipped with the right information at the right time to identify health, safety and security threats related to commercial goods before the goods arrive in Canada.

ACI Requirements for Highway Carriers

Under ACI eManifest regulations highway carriers must ensure that BOTH the ACI eManifest and the entry by the customs broker (for PARS shipments) are on file with CBSA for at least one hour prior to the driver's arrival at the border. Failure to do so could result in refused entry into Canada and/or an AMPS penalty.

Any changes or updates to the manifest will start the one hour clock again.

Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS)

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) uses the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) to issue monetary penalties to commercial clients for violating CBSA's trade and border legislation. The purpose of AMPS is to provide the Agency with a means to deter non-compliance by its clients and create a level playing field for all Canadian businesses.

The Master Penalty Document contains all AMPS contraventions that may be applied to commercial clients including importers, exporters, brokers, warehouse and duty free shop operators, carriers, freight forwarders or their representatives.

CBSA Monetary AMPS Penalties

ContraventionFirst PenaltySecond PenaltyThird Penalty
Failure to submit ACI eManifest$2000$4000$8000
Failure to submit ACI eManifest in prescribed time or manner$250$375$750
Failure to submit correction$500$750$1500
Submission of inaccurate or incomplete information$500$750$1500
Failure to comply with CBSA notification$1500$4000$8000

All penalties in CAD | source:

ACI Lead Sheet Arrival Requirements

When arriving at the border in Canada, the driver must present an ACI lead sheet to the customs officer. The lead sheet allows the officer to bring up the ACI eManifest in their system.

The lead sheet must have either:

ACI eManifest leadsheet printed from BorderConnect

A barcoded Conveyance Reference Number (aka Trip Number), or

A barcoded Cargo Control Number and a handwritten Conveyance Reference Number, or

A handwritten Conveyance Reference Number on the lead sheet presented with a separate page with a barcoded Cargo Control Number (e.g. invoice with a PARS sticker).

The officer will stamp the lead sheet only as proof of report, they will no longer stamp individual shipments. The carrier has a responsibility to keep the stamped lead sheet as proof of report.

ACI lead sheets can be generated from within BorderConnect, either from the manifest or as a set ahead of time. The carrier can also design and produce their own lead sheets, provided that they meet the barcode requirements listed above.

Shipment Release Types Required for ACI eManifest

The following shipment types are used for goods entering Canada via highway carrier:

PARS - default shipment type for commercial goods entering Canada, allows pre-clearance of goods.
In-Bond - allows for inland movement of goods that are not considered 'released'' by CBSA.
CSA - special shipment type for parties enrolled in the CSA trusted trader program when all required conditions are met.
A49 Automotive Release - special shipment type used for shipping production automotive parts to Chrysler, Ford and GM.
ATA Carnet - type of temporary import.
E29B -type of temporary import.
Personal Goods - used when non-commercial goods are transported by highway carriers.
Orders In Council - used when goods are covered under an Order in Council granting exemption from normal release methods.

Cargo Exemptions Required for ACI eManifest

The following cargo exemptions are required to be declared for goods entering Canada via highway carrier:

IIT - used for empty racks and containers that cross the border in international transportation.
Flying Truck - used when freight that was originally supposed to arrive in Canada by air instead arrives by truck.
Courier LVS - special shipment type only available to couriers transporting low value shipments.
Postal Shipment - used to report shipments of mail moving from a foreign postal service to Canada Post.
In-Transit - used when goods are moving from point-to-point travelling through the United States.
Emergency Repairs - used by Canadian carriers to report emergency repairs to commercial vehicles that occur outside Canada.

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