Certain Goods Remission Order (COVID-19): SOR/2020-101

Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 154, Number 11


SOR/2020-101 May 5, 2020


P.C. 2020-304 May 4, 2020

Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Finance, pursuant to section 115 footnote a of the Customs Tariff footnote b, makes the annexed Certain Goods Remission Order (COVID-19).

Certain Goods Remission Order (COVID-19)


1 Remission is granted of the customs duties paid or payable under the Customs Tariff in respect of goods classified under any of the tariff item Nos. in the list of tariff items set out in the schedule to this Order.


2 Remission is granted on condition that

Coming into force

3 This Order comes into force on the day on which it is registered.


(Section 1)

Tariff Item Nos.


(This statement is not part of the Order.)


The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to a sharp increase in domestic demand for medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE). Certain imports of these critical goods are subject to customs duties, which represent an extra cost to importers and a potential supply barrier for Canadians.


Access to medical supplies, including PPE, is critical to protecting frontline health care workers, such as nurses and doctors, but also essential service providers from transmission of COVID-19. When sourcing these goods abroad, importers may be subject to customs duties depending on the product and country from which it is imported. While Canada does not generally apply customs duties on most medical supplies, certain products such as face masks, rubber gloves, and gowns remain subject to customs duties, which represent a non-recoverable cost for Canadian businesses.

On March 17, 2020, Canada waived customs duties and sales taxes on goods for emergency use, including medical supplies and PPE, in response to COVID-19, when imported by or on behalf of certain entities, including health authorities (e.g. public health bodies, first responders), under the Goods for Emergency Use Remission Order. On April 6, 2020, this relief was extended to imports by or on behalf of public or private care residences, such as seniors’ residences, retirement homes, nursing homes and shelters. More information is available on the Canada Border Services Agency website.

Essential services and other businesses not covered by this relief continue to operate during the crisis, which requires measures to protect their employees, of which a key component is the provision of PPE. Customs duties on imports of medical goods, especially PPE, have been identified by certain provincial governments and industry stakeholders as a potential cost and supply barrier to obtaining these critical goods.


The objective of this Order is to reduce the cost of imported medical supplies, including PPE, by waiving customs duties in order to support efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.


The Certain Medical Goods Remission Order (COVID-19) waives otherwise applicable customs duties on imports of medical supplies, including PPE. Relief is available to all importers of specified goods including businesses, distributors, and individual Canadians.

Key categories of products covered by the Order include diagnostic test kits, face and eye protection, gloves, protective garments, disinfectants/sterilization products, medical devices, thermometers, wipes, and medical consumables, and other goods (e.g. soap).

The scope of relief is based on the indicative list of medical supplies and PPE identified jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) as critical for combatting COVID-19, as well as on related classification guidance by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Total Canadian imports of dutiable goods on this list exceeded $19 billion in 2019, with rates of customs duty ranging from 0% to 18%.

The Order will reduce the cost of importing these goods, with the primary goal of better equipping Canadian businesses, including essential service providers, of providing their employees with necessary medical supplies, including PPE.

The Order takes effect immediately on a prospective basis. The Order will remain in force as long as warranted by the COVID-19 situation.

Existing relief for public health bodies, first responders, and care residences under the Goods for Emergency Use Remission Order will also continue to remain in effect as long as warranted by the COVID-19 situation.

Regulatory development


As this Order is directly in response to the immediate and extraordinary public health situation posed by the outbreak of COVID-19, measures need to be in place expeditiously to be effective. Consequently, no prepublication or public consultation was undertaken.

Modern treaty obligations and Indigenous engagement and consultation

The Order does not impact Indigenous people’s rights and interests.

Instrument choice

The only viable mechanism to expeditiously waive customs duties for imports of medical supplies, including PPE, by all importers is through an order made under section 115 of the Customs Tariff.

Regulatory analysis

Benefits and costs

Based on recent trade patterns, it is estimated that annual custom duties foregone by the Government of Canada as a result of this Order are approximately $307 million, as long as the Order remains in effect. These duties represent a benefit, in the form of lower customs duties to be paid by Canadian importers of these products.

This measure is expected to primarily benefit Canadian essential service providers (e.g. food processing facilities, grocery stores, and pharmacies) which are still operating and importing PPE, and are not covered by any other scope of existing relief.

Small business lens

The small business lens does not apply to this Order, as no costs are imposed on businesses, including small businesses.

One-for-one rule

There would be no change in the standard customs documentation required for imported goods as a result of this Order. Therefore, the one-for-one rule does not apply to this Order, as it would not result in any new administrative costs or savings to business.

Regulatory cooperation and alignment

The Order is not related to a work plan or commitment under a regulatory cooperation forum.

Strategic environmental assessment

In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a preliminary scan concluded that a strategic environmental assessment is not required.

Gender-based analysis plus

No gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) impacts have been identified for this proposal.

Implementation, compliance and enforcement, and service standards

The CBSA will monitor compliance with the terms and conditions of this Order in the normal course of its administration of customs- and tariff-related legislation and regulations. The CBSA will update its systems to account for these changes and will inform importers of all relevant related issues pertaining to this Order.


Darren Mason
International Trade Policy Division
Department of Finance Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G5