June 23, 2021 | Circular No. 11289

Dear Member,

The Federation attended a meeting of CBSA’s Working Group on Electronic House Bills (eHBLs) earlier today, which focused on the next phase of eHBL implementation and the status of a number of ongoing operational issues.  A summary of the main points discussed at the meeting can be found below:

Transition from Zero-Rated to Monetary Penalties

As per this Customs Notice, the zero-rated penalty period for cases of eHBL non-compliance will end on July 4, 2021.  Consequently, CBSA MAY start issuing monetary penalties (AMPs) for cases of non-compliance as of July 5, 2021.

This being said, CBSA stressed that its approach will continue to be corrective rather than punitive, with a view to ensuring that stakeholders are aware of and fully understand eHBL requirements.  CBSA also confirmed that it will continue to conduct outreach in ALL identified cases of non-compliance, with a view to giving stakeholders an opportunity to explain (and potentially resolve) the factors involved in such cases as the preferred alternative to issuing monetary penalties.

Key Compliance Issues Identified by CBSA

CBSA identified the following key non-compliance issues during the zero-rated penalty phase that began at the beginning of this year (which may be helpful as input for the second phase):

  • Ongoing submission of supplementary reports rather than eHBLs (53% of cases)
  • Submission of invalid movement type – e.g. import vs in-transit or FROB (13% of cases)
  • Timeliness of submissions (11% of cases)
  • Incomplete cargo descriptions (8% of cases)
  • Post arrival submission of data (15% of cases)

Ongoing Implementation Issues

CBSA reviewed the status of a number of eHBL issues that have been raised by stakeholders over the last several months. Those that are relevant from a marine carrier perspective include the following:

Issues raised by Federation members:

  • Carriers receive “do not load” messages in cases where there is a mismatch between the sub- location code submitted by the carrier and the code submitted by the freight forwarder (CBSA is working on a system change to address this issue);
  • Carriers receive error codes Y78, Y80, and 2NS in cases where the freight forwarder has filed the eHBL before the carrier has submitted the primary cargo report (CBSA is working on a system change to address this issue);
  • Industry needs specific contact information on who to contact for operational (real-time) eHBL issues, as existing published contact information is not timely (CBSA will endeavour to provide better contact details, especially on a port by port basis).

Issues raised by other stakeholders (freight forwarders, rail carriers)

  • The submission of incorrect sub-location codes can, in some cases, result in cargo being released to the importer without a customs release on file – see Customs Notice 21-13 for additional information on this issue (this will be subject to further discussion between CBSA, freight forwarders and marine carriers);
  • There are ongoing challenges related to the submission of information on consolidated in-transit movements (marine into US port and transfer onto rail/truck for delivery to Canadian destination) by the marine carrier to the origin rail carrier (this will potentially be subject to further discussion between rail carriers and marine carriers)

We will provide members with additional information on these issues as they progress.  We would also ask members to continue to keep us informed of any eHBL compliance / implementation issues they encounter over the coming weeks, so that we can track this information and bring it to CBSA’s attention.


Karen Kancens
Vice President