Exporting regulations 

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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 service to find federal, provincial/territorial and municipal permits and licences that you may need to start your business.

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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