Recourse - Appeals/Reviews
Requesting a third-party review under the Customs Act

Requesting a Review

Requesting a third-party review

Requesting an extension of time review

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Who should use this process

A third-party review is available to any person — other than the person in whose possession the goods or conveyance was in when it was seized — who claims an interest in the goods or conveyance as an owner, mortgagee, hypothecary, creditor, lien-holder, or holder of any like interest.

For example, you lend your vehicle to a friend, who is then subject to an enforcement action that results in the seizure of your vehicle. You may seek to have your vehicle returned to you through the third-party review process.  

Note: Once terms of release have been paid and the CBSA is no longer in possession of the goods/conveyance, the CBSA is no longer in a position to protect an interest in them.

The Customs Act prevents the return of spirits, wine, specially denatured alcohol, raw leaf tobacco or tobacco products, to the person from whom they were seized, or any other person, unless they were “seized in error”. (Customs Act, s.117(2))

How to request a review

You must submit a request for a ministerial review within 90 calendar days of the date of the enforcement action. In exceptional circumstances, the Customs Act allows more time to request a ministerial review of an enforcement action. For more information, consult Request an extension of time review under the Customs Act

Your request must be submitted in writing, and include the enforcement action number and any information or additional documentation to support your case. Send your request to the:

Recourse Directorate
Canada Border Services Agency
333 North River Rd, Tower A, 11th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0L8

In addition to providing documentary evidence of your interest and the amount of that interest, you, as the applicant, must demonstrate that:

What to expect: the review process

After you submit your request for a Minister's decision, CBSA Recourse officials will send you an acknowledgement letter.

If evidence regarding your interest in the seized goods/conveyance was not provided with your request, you will have 30 calendar days from the date of this letter to provide documentary evidence that you meet these conditions.

The Recourse official will review the file and, on behalf of the Minister of Public Safety, decide whether your interest in the item seized should be protected or not.

Once the decision has been made, it will be communicated to you in a registered letter that will explain whether your interest in the goods/conveyance has been protected.

If your interest has been protected, the letter will provide you with contact information for the CBSA office where you will make arrangements to claim your goods/conveyance and also communicate to you any conditions imposed upon the release. For example, you may be required to pay any applicable duties and taxes, to complete the importation of the goods.

What to do if you disagree with the review decision   

If your interest has not been protected, the registered letter will also provide you with your options, and deadlines, for further appeal to the Federal Court of Canada.

Once the decision has been made, neither the Minister of Public Safety nor CBSA officials have the authority to act further in the matter.

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