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An Introduction to the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS)

Man stamping papers.

In the 2017 Auditor General Report on customs duties, one of the observations made was that penalties from the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) are currently too low to improve importer compliance. To this end, the report makes a recommendation to increase the current structure of penalties.

What are AMPS?

The CBSA uses AMPS to issue monetary penalties to clients for violating the CBSA's trade and border legislation. The purpose of AMPS is to provide the CBSA with a means to deter non-compliance and create a level playing field for all Canadian businesses. There are approximately 250 contraventions that allow the CBSA to issue penalties to importers, exporters, carriers, or customs brokers. Examples of non-compliance that most often result in AMPS penalties

  • Failure to pay duties
  • Failure to provide required information to the CBSA
  • Unauthorized removal of goods from a warehouse
  • Direct delivery of goods prior to release from CBSA control
  • Failure to report goods to the CBSA

If you receive an AMPS penalty, your profile will become damaged and it will stay on your record for three years. This can be costly to your bottom line, as your goods will become more prone to secondary inspections when entering the country. It is also costly to your bottom line because of the large fees. Currently, the AMPS penalty structure is as follows:

  • 1st offence: $150 to a maximum of $25,000 (per occurrence)
  • 2nd offence: $225 to a maximum of $200,000 (per occurrence)
  • 3rd offence and Subsequent: $450 to a maximum of $400,000 (per occurrence)  
     

What Does the Auditor General Recommend?

The CBSA is expected to review their penalties by June 2018 and hope to create a more meaningful deterrent to importer non-compliance. This makes customs compliance more important if importers hope to avoid financial penalties related to incorrectly classifying goods and or incorrectly completing customs forms.

Additional Resources

The following articles can help you learn more about avoiding AMPS penalties:

An Explanation of Reason to Believe

How Would you Fare in a Customs Audit?

CBSA Master Penalty Document

CBSA Administrative Monetary Penalty System Overview


There are ways to appeal AMPS penalties, which can be seen here.

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