We are no strangers to helping individuals who find themselves subject to a Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) seizure and all the consequences that come with that – including NEXUS seizures and revocation. But when it comes to bringing plant or animals (or their derivatives – e.g., food) into Canada, travellers can inadvertently commit a violation which is very punitive and difficult to defend.
Specifically, the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act(“AAAMPA”) imposes violations (“AAAMPs”) which leave no room for reasonableness or diligence. Even with the hurdles involved, however, appealing an AAAMP might be worthwhile (and successful) – particularly given that it can lead to continual secondary screening and a loss of NEXUS eligibility!
The right to make a customs or Special Import Measures Act(“SIMA”) appeal is very different than the right to make similar income tax or GST appeals. Unlike income tax or GST, appeals for customs and SIMA cases can ONLY be made once full payment of ALL amounts assessed has been made to the government!
This unfair situation is presenting problems for Canadian commercial importers who want to fight their Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) customs and SIMA assessments but lack the financial ability to do so. The issue is especially severe in the case of SIMA assessments, where the amounts being levied by CBSA can sometimes exceed two or three times the total value of the imported goods themselves – and add up to 10 or 20 times the profit margin that the importer expected to earn from these import transactions.