Canada Border Services Agency
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Disagreements, reviews and appeals

Formal review

You have the right to every benefit the law allows. If you believe you have not received your full entitlements under the law, and you have been unable to reach an agreement with us on a duty or penalty matter, you have the right to a formal review of your file. In these situations, appeals representatives who were not involved in the original decision are available to conduct a formal and impartial review.

How do we ensure our redress processes are impartial?

The CBSA's Admissibility Branch deals with disputes that develop about customs matters. The Admissibility Branch operates independently in relation to other CBSA branches.

Admissibility Branch staff have a mandate to resolve disputes between clients and the CBSA by impartially reviewing previous CBSA decisions. Appeals staff are trained to review the client's and the CBSA's facts and reasons.

The role of the appeals representative who reviews your case is to carry out a complete, professional, and impartial review. This representative reviews your case by:

  • interpreting acts administered by the CBSA and reviewing CBSA policies;
  • considering your point of view; and
  • when necessary, asking for a technical opinion from CBSA experts or seeking legal advice from the Department of Justice.

The representative who reviews your case will not have been involved in the original assessment, determination, or ruling of a duty, penalty or other matter. You can discuss your case with an appeals representative, and you have the right to obtain certain documents related to your case.

The CBSA does not charge you for a review. The non-adversarial nature of the process allows many of our clients to represent themselves.

If you are not satisfied with the Admissibility Branch's review, you can appeal to the appropriate court or, for certain matters, to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.

Your rights to redress

To learn more about what to do in specific situations, please click on the appropriate topic below: