The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (the Tribunal) hears and decides a wide range of appeals of decisions of the President of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Minister of National Revenue.

Enforcement decisions of the CBSA related to unfair trade cases

Appeals filed under the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA) deal with the following two key issues:

  • whether the CBSA should have applied anti-dumping and/or countervailing duties to certain imported goods; and
  • whether the CBSA properly calculated the magnitude of dumping and/or subsidizing for certain imported goods.

Decisions of the CBSA related to the importation of goods

Appeals filed under the Customs Act relate to a range of issues, the most common of which include the following:

  • the appropriate classification of imported goods according to Canada’s Customs Tariff;
  • the appropriate manner in which to calculate the value for duty that should be imposed on imports;
  • the determination of where imports originated before they entered Canada; and
  • the importation of prohibited goods.

Decisions of the Minister of National Revenue related to excise tax

Appeals filed under the Excise Tax Act relate to an assessment or a determination of excise tax. Excise taxes are levied on certain petroleum products, heavy automobiles and air conditioners designed for automobiles.

Given the nature of the issues, the Tribunal’s appeal decisions have direct financial impacts on Canadians and Canadian businesses in terms of how much they pay in duties when they import goods or how much excise tax they pay. Almost 4,000 appeals have been filed with the Tribunal since it began operations in 1989, and the Tribunal has issued approximately 1,900 appeal decisions.


The customs and excise appeal process at the Tribunal is set in motion when an individual or business files a written notice of appeal with the Tribunal within 90 days of a “final” decision by the CBSA or Minister of National Revenue.

The individual or business that filed the appeal becomes known as the “appellant” and the CBSA or Minister of Revenue as the “respondent”.

In most cases, one Member of the Tribunal decides an appeal. However, panels of three Members will decide certain types of appeals, including those filed under SIMA and the Excise Tax Act.

Within 60 days of filing the appeal with the Tribunal, the appellant must submit a brief describing the goods in issue, the points at issue and the reasons why the appellant believes that the respondent’s decision was incorrect. A copy of the appellant’s brief must also be provided to the respondent, who will then provide the Tribunal and the appellant with a brief setting out the respondent’s position within 60 days.

The Tribunal will review submissions from both parties and consider whether the appeal should be decided on the basis of an oral hearing or the written record. In most cases, appeals are decided following an oral hearing. Appeals dealing with prohibited goods are usually decided on the basis of the written record.

The issues that the Tribunal examines in appeals depend on the type of appeal and the specific facts of the case. However, in general terms, the Tribunal considers the decision of the CBSA or the Minister of National Revenue in the context of the relevant legal framework. The Tribunal will “allow” the appeal if it agrees with the appellant that the decision was incorrect. The CBSA or the Minister of National Revenue must then adjust the application of duties or excise tax accordingly. The Tribunal will “dismiss” the appeal if it does not agree with the appellant and, consequently, the CBSA or the Minister of National Revenue will not adjust the application of duties or the payment of excise tax.

Although there are no time limits set in law for the Tribunal to decide appeals, the Tribunal endeavours to issue decisions on appeals within 120 days of the hearing.


If you have questions about the Tribunal, please contact the Chairperson of the Tribunal at

If you have questions about specific cases before the Tribunal or if you want information on how to file cases, please contact:

The Registrar
Secretariat to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal
333 Laurier Avenue West
15th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0G7

Telephone: 613-993-3595
Fax: 613-990-2439

Resource Type



Publication Date

Friday, July 10, 2015

Modification Date

Friday, July 10, 2015