There are numerous opportunities for Canadian companies in global markets. Often the exporting process can seem overwhelming, due to the amount of paperwork and the number of different rules and regulations that you need to consider. This document provides you with the guidance that you need to navigate this process and start selling your goods around the world.
Canadian Government requirements and processes
When exporting commercial goods from Canada, you will generally need to:
- Have a Business Number with an import-export account
- Determine the country of origin of the goods (are they produced in Canada or somewhere else?) and potentially complete a Canadian certificate of origin
- Find out if the goods can be exported or if they are prohibited or restricted in any way
- Find out if you need an export permit
- Classify the goods according to the Harmonized System (HS codes) or the Canadian Tariff Classification Number
- Report your exports to Canada Border Services Agency
- Ship your goods, which could involve an inspection of your shipment by Canada Border Services Agency and could bring about penalties, if you do not comply with customs requirements
To find out how to obtain a BN and to learn about the exporting requirements of the Canadian government, you should consult these documents:
- Exporting Goods from Canada
If you are planning to export goods, this guide can help you understand your obligations under Canada's Customs Act and Reporting of Exported Goods Regulations.
- Checklist for Exporting Commercial Goods
Use this one-pager as a reminder of the key steps involved in exporting your goods.
- Business Number (BN)
Your Business Number is your single account number for dealing with the federal government regarding taxes, payroll, import/export and other activities.
- Exporting — a step-by-step guide
Get a detailed overview of the process of exporting goods from Canada.
- Permits and licences
Use our search tool to find out what permits and licences your business may need from the federal, provincial and municipal governments.
Importing country requirements
In addition to complying with Canadian government requirements, you will also need to know the requirements of the importing country. For example:
- What paperwork is required at the border?
- Do you need a certificate of origin?
- Are there any restrictions on your product?
- Are there any local labelling requirements that you need to comply with?
These information services are a good starting point for understanding and staying up to date on the requirements of importing countries:
- Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS)
Get market and sector-specific information, access to Canadian trade commissioners’ contact information and list of events through the TCS website.
- Foreign representatives in Canada
Find contact information and more on representatives from foreign countries and on international organizations currently accredited to Canada.
- Export Alert!
Find out about proposed changes to global regulations that could affect your export markets, and express your views about them before they become law.
- TradeCert Online Export Documentation System
Save time by getting Certificates of Origin for your exports online from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. There is a fee and you must register for this service.
- NAFTA Cross Border Movement of Business Persons
Learn about temporary entry into the United States and Mexico as a business person under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
- Exporting to the United States
Learn how to export to the U.S. Find information on the American market, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), customs procedures, and border security.
- CE product mark for European Conformity
Exporting to Europe? Find out how to ensure and prove your product meets applicable health, safety, and environmental requirements.
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