Shipping to Canada from the USA
Until recently, most U.S. retailers did not ship to Canada, and those who did charged huge shipping and handling fees that made buying goods from the U.S. just as expensive (and in some cases more expensive) as buying the same goods in Canada.
In recent years, more U.S. retailers have started shipping to Canada and reducing their Canadian shipping and handling fees, giving Canadians the opportunity to make online purchases from a wider selection of U.S. retailers with more reasonable shipping rates.
While this trend has allowed Canadian shoppers to take advantage of lower prices and greater selection in the United States, it is usually not the most cost effective or convenient way to get your U.S. online purchases to Canada, there are often better, less expensive alternatives.
If you live close to the Canada – U.S. border you should explore having your cross border purchases shipped to a pick-up location on the U.S. side of the border and driving to pick them up.
If you don’t live close to the U.S. border, you should consider using a re-shipping service that ships your packages to a U.S. border shipping address, brings your goods into Canada, clears Canadian customs and delivers your purchases right to your front door, often for a significantly lower price than you would pay to have your goods shipped directly to Canada.
If you ultimately decide to have your cross border purchases shipped directly to Canada from a U.S. retailer, make sure you check the following items first:
- Check their website to make sure they ship to Canada
- Find out how long Canadian shipping takes
- Find out how much their Canadian shipping fees will be
- Inquire about any additional international shipping / handling fees you may incur. In some cases you may be charged an additional customs clearance / handling / international shipping fee when your package shows up at your door
While some U.S. retailer websites are very clear and upfront about these costs and policies, others can be confusing.
The main advantage of having your order shipped directly to Canada by the retailer is convenience. However, it’s important to keep in mind that your goods may still be held up at customs, and you will still have to pay Canadian taxes and duties when these goods arrive.