Exporting From Canada

Your how to guide on exporting commercial goods from Canada

North America from space rendering

There are two questions every exporter needs to ask before researching the export process and what requirements they will have to follow.

Where Will I Export To?

Very often, international sellers think exporting before importing their goods into another country.

For example, if a Canadian seller would like to export their goods to the US, their to-do list is more associated with importing into the US and less so to exporting from Canada.

If this is you, head over to our US website to learn the steps to import into the US.

Unless your goods are regulated by a Canadian government agency upon export from Canada, your research time will largely be spent on the import regulations into the country you are selling which will include an admissibility check.

Canada has a range of goods over which it imposes import controls. These goods are listed in the Import Control List (ICL) within the Export and Import Permits Act.

Similar to Canada, most countries to which you might be planning to export will have some sort of import controls in place as well.

Is What I Am Exporting Regulated?

In some cases, the Government of Canada collects statistical data and regulates goods leaving the country.

Steps need to be taken to ensure those goods are reported. Permits, licenses, certificates or applications may need to be completed.

For example, certain goods require a Canada Export Reporting System (CERS) application to be filed prior to export. A CERS is a program run by both the Canada Border Services Agency and Statistics Canada.

If you need assistance determining the import regulations of the country to which you are selling or determining whether the goods you want to export are regulated, contact us!

    FAQ: Canada Exports

    What Commodities Have Export Regulations?
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    The Export Control List identifies specific goods and technologies controlled by Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs for export from Canada into other countries.

    Exported goods and technologies on the Export Control List may be exempt from the requirement to obtain an export permit if they are being shipped to certain countries.

    For example, in most cases, controlled exports to final consignees in the U.S. are exempt from the export permit requirements. Further information about the Export Control List is available in Section C of the Export Controls Handbook.

    Objectives of Export Controls

    Export controls seek to ensure exports from Canada:
    • Are consistent with Canada's foreign and defense policies
    • Do not cause harm to Canada and its allies
    • Do not undermine national or international security
    • Do not contribute to national or regional conflicts or instability
    • Do not contribute to the development of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons of mass destruction, or of their delivery systems
    • Are not used to commit human rights violations, and
    • Are consistent with existing economic sanctions' provisions
    What Are Export Sanctions?
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    Export Sanctions are economic sanctions which restrict or prevent exports to specific countries or regimes.

    A complete list of Export Sanctions and more information can be found at: Information About Canadian Economic Sanctions

    If you are considering shipping to a country with export sanctions, you will first have to check with Global Affairs Canada. A full list of commodities that have export controls in place can be found on the Global Affairs Canada website or in A Guide To Canada's Export Controls.

    What Is An Export Account Number?
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    An Export Account Number is your identification number with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Before you can begin exporting goods from Canada, you must set up an Export Account with the CRA.

    To set up an export account please contact the CRA at 1.800.959.5525 or visit the business registration website.

    You will need to provide the following:

    • GST number
    • Exporter number
    • Full legal company name and address
    • Estimated volume (monetarily)
    • Type of goods
    • Countries the goods are being shipped to
    What Documentation Do I Need To Export My Goods?
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    There are several different types of documents your export could require. Below is a list of the most common export documents and their uses.

    B13A Export Declaration

    Required for:

    • Shipments valued at more than $2,000 CAD
    • Destinations other than the U.S.
    • Goods that are controlled, prohibited, or regulated

    Filed prior to exportation:

    • Electronically by Canada Export Reporting System (CERS)
    • Electronic Form B13A Export Declaration (manual and paper copies are no longer accepted)
    • Summary Reporting - Reserved for exporters of low-risk goods who export on a regular basis, and who have met specific customs requirements. Need prior approval i.e. Bulk commodities - pulp, lumber, cellulose

    Export Permit And Export License
    These are both a mechanism for the government to monitor and control exports of certain commodities to certain countries.

    There are factors that can affect export permit requirements such as the nature, characteristics, origin, or destination of the goods or technology - also referred to in this document as "items" - being exported. As such, certain situations require that an exporter first obtain an export permit from the Export Controls Division of Global Affairs Canada before these items can be legally exported.

    • Export License:
      An Export License is a government document that authorizes the export of specific goods in specific quantities to a particular destination.
    • Export Permit:
      An Export Permit outlines the quantity, description and nature of the items to be exported, as well as the final destination country and final consignee, among other things.

    Commercial Invoice
    The most important document is the commercial invoice. It describes the goods in detail and lists the amount owing by the foreign buyer. This form is also used for customs records and includes the following information:

    • May require a signature
    • Currency of sale
    • Export ID Number or Federal Tax ID Number for the Importer (exports to U.S.)
    • Date of issue
    • Names and addresses of the buyer and seller
    • Contract or invoice number
    • Description of the goods, quantities and unit prices
    • Total weight and number of packages
    • Shipping marks and numbers
    • Terms of delivery and payment

    Check out our guide on How To Fill Out A Customs Invoice
    Packing Slip
    A packing slip is an itemized list of the goods carried in each shipping package. The packing list contains the quantity, weight and description of the contents noting any specific marks and numbers on the packaging that align with the commercial invoice.
    The primary purpose of a packing slip is for the receiver to use as a checklist to account for the delivered goods. The commercial invoice contains additional information such as pricing and terms. The packing list merely relates to the physical shipping and receiving of the goods.

    Certificate of Origin
    A certificate of origin is a document which provides clear evidence from which country a commodity is exported or manufactured.

    Bill of Lading
    A Bill of Lading is a receipt issued by a carrier to prove it has taken possession and received an item of property. It also confirms the details of delivery such as method, time, place or to whom, and serves as the carrier’s title for the purpose of transportation. It is commonly used for land and ocean freight.

    ATA Carnet
    The ATA Carnet is an international customs document that a traveler may use temporarily to import certain goods into a country without having to engage in the customs formalities usually required for the importation of goods, and without having to pay duty or value-added taxes on the goods. ATA Carnets are great for samples, trade show equipment, and band equipment.

    Certificate of Insurance
    A Certificate of Insurance is a document stating insurance coverage has been purchased for the shipment.
    We offer shipping insurance and the preparation of insurance certificate for exporters. To learn more about shipping insurance, speak with one of our logistics specialists today.

    What Are Incoterms®?
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    The Incoterms® rules are an internationally recognized standard and are used worldwide in international and domestic contracts for the sale of goods. First published in 1936, Incoterms® rules provide internationally accepted definitions and rules of interpretation for most common commercial terms of sale.

    The rules have been developed and maintained by experts and practitioners brought together by the International Chamber of Commerce and have become the standard in setting international business rules. Incoterms® is a trademark of the International Chamber of Commerce.

    Benefits of Incoterms®

    • Incoterms® help determine how prices and risks are designated between the importing buyer and the exporting seller with respect to shipping of products.
    • Shippers can control their transport cost and risk responsibility by deciding what method is most beneficial for them.
    • They help improve supply chain performance by avoiding confusion created by varied interpretations of the rules in different countries.
    • The understanding and the proper use of applicable terms of sale may make the difference between future success and failure.
    • Understanding Incoterms® and their implications to your business transactions is crucial, especially with regard to importing and exporting goods.
    • You determine your financial and commercial fate when you manage your Terms of Sale.

    Download our 2020 Incoterms® Guide
    The Incoterms® Rules
    Below are short descriptions of the 11 rules from the Incoterms® 2020 edition.

    Rules For Any Mode Or Modes Of Transport

    EXW Ex Works
    The seller delivers when it places the goods at the disposal of the buyer at the seller's premises or at another named place (i.e. works, factory, warehouse, etc.). The seller does not need to load the goods on any collecting vehicle, nor does it need to clear the goods for export, where such clearance is applicable.

    FCA Free Carrier
    The seller delivers the goods to the carrier or another person nominated by the buyer at the seller's premises or another named place. The parties are well advised to specify as clearly as possible the point within the named place of delivery, as the risk passes to the buyer at that point.

    CPT Carriage Paid To
    The seller delivers the goods to the carrier or another person nominated by the seller at an agreed place (if any such place is agreed between parties) and that the seller must contract for and pay the costs of carriage necessary to bring the goods to the named place of destination.

    CIP Carriage And Insurance Paid To
    The seller delivers the goods to the carrier or another person nominated by the seller at an agreed place (if any such place is agreed between parties) and that the seller must contract for and pay the costs of carriage necessary to bring the goods to the named place of destination.

    DPU Delivered At Place Unloaded
    Seller is responsible for export clearance, delivery of the goods packed to destination place, all transport costs to named place and unloading (only term to include unloading). Buyer is responsible for import clearance and freight beyond unloading at named place. No insurance obligation by either party.

    DAP Delivered At Place
    The seller delivers when the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer on the arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination. The seller bears all risks involved in bringing the goods to the named place.

    DDP Delivered Duty Paid

    The seller delivers the goods when the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer, cleared for import on the arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination. The seller bears all the costs and risks involved in bringing the goods to the place of destination and has an obligation to clear the goods not only for export but also for import, to pay any duty for both export and import and to carry out all customs formalities.

    Rules For Sea And Inland Waterway Transport

    FAS Free Alongside Ship
    The seller delivers when the goods are placed alongside the vessel (e.g., on a quay or a barge) nominated by the buyer at the named port of shipment. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are alongside the ship, and the buyer bears all costs from that moment onwards.

    FOB Free On Board
    The seller delivers the goods on board the vessel nominated by the buyer at the named port of shipment or procures the goods already so delivered. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are on board the vessel, and the buyer bears all costs from that moment onwards.

    CFR Cost and Freight
    The seller delivers the goods on board the vessel or procures the goods already so delivered. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are on board the vessel. The seller must contract for and pay the costs and freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination.

    CIF Cost, Insurance and Freight
    The seller delivers the goods on board the vessel or procures the goods already so delivered. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are on board the vessel. The seller must contract for and pay the costs and freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination.

    Excerpts taken from the official ICC publication "Incoterms® 2020".

    What Are Letters Of Credit?
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    A Letter of Credit (LC) also referred to as a documentary credit, is a common method for payment of goods in international transactions. It is a commitment by a bank on behalf of the importer (foreign buyer) that payment will be made to the beneficiary (exporter) provided that the terms and conditions stated in the LC have been met. It acts as security for the exporter.

    The primary issue in an international transaction is the seller’s assurance that he/she will get paid. Establishing an Irrevocable Letter of Credit solves this issue by introducing the buyer's and seller's banks into the transaction. The buyer instructs his bank, the issuing bank, to open a Letter of Credit in favor of the seller, the beneficiary. The issuing bank substitutes its credit standing in place of the buyer, thereby lessening the risk of non-payment to the seller. The issuing bank then forwards the Letter of Credit to the seller's bank, the advising bank. This advising bank can either forward the Letter of Credit to the seller or it can add its confirmation, meaning the advising bank assumes the obligation to pay if all of the conditions are met.

    Revocable and Irrevocable Letters of Credit

    Letters of Credit can be either Revocable or Irrevocable.

    • A Revocable Letter of Credit can be modified or cancelled by the issuing bank at any time for any reason without notification to anyone.
    • An Irrevocable Letter of Credit cannot be cancelled or modified without the agreement of the issuing bank, the confirming or advising bank and the beneficiary.

    Either way, a Letter of Credit must state on its face whether it is Irrevocable or Revocable.

    The seller faces the risk of cancellation of a Revocable Letter of Credit until it presents the proper documents, meets the required conditions and the advising bank honors the draft. After this time, the Revocable Letter of Credit cannot be modified or cancelled.

    With an Irrevocable Letter of Credit, the seller protects itself since it has the time available until the stated expiration date of the Letter of Credit to make the shipment and present the necessary documentation.

    Most Letters of Credit are irrevocable because the seller is usually not willing to accept the uncertainty of receiving payment for his merchandise. Even though a bank issues a Letter of Credit, it is usually in a foreign country, and the seller will more than likely not be familiar with the foreign bank. In such cases, the seller will request that a domestic bank confirm the Letter of Credit. This confirmation reduces the risk of non-payment to the seller. An Irrevocable Letter of Credit can be confirmed, whereas a Revocable Letter of Credit cannot be confirmed.

    What Are Some Logistics Options For Shipping My Goods Internationally?
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    Goods can be shipped by air, ocean, highway, rail or courier. When shipping internationally the party in charge of arranging logistics must have a door-to-door mentality, as in they must consider how the goods will get from the shipping point to the ultimate destination. This may involve multiple modes of transport and crossing international borders. Packaging, labelling, loading and unloading facilities must also be considered. Working with a logistic provider can help you avoid any unforeseen obstacles as they have seen them all.

    International Freight Forwarders plan the transportation of your goods overseas. A professional freight forwarding service is a critical link in the supply chain, and will assist your company in determining all costs included in a sales contract. Freight forwarders in Canada have partnerships and agency agreements with other freight forwarders worldwide. They can help you navigate the world of international shipping and have the right relationships to negotiate favorable pricing to transport your goods.

    Role Of A Freight Forwarder

    • Arrange the movement of cargo - Third Party Logistics
    • Provide logistical expertise
    • Network with agents or offices globally

    Freight and Logistical Services

    Managed Freight Programs

    • Sea/Air Programs
    • Vessel and Air Charters
    • Industrial Project Logistics
    • Vehicle Shipping
    • Energy/Engineering Procurement
    What Are The Packaging And Labelling Requirements For Exported Goods?
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    Packaging and labelling requirements for exported goods from overseas are very different from the requirements for domestic shipping. Packaging and labelling serve several purposes in exporting including physical protection, containment, preservation, security, information transmission, as well as, aid in the handling of goods and final presentation.

    The overseas buyer usually specifies which export marks should appear on the cargo for easy identification by receivers. Products can require many markings for shipment.

    For example, exporters need to put the following markings on cartons to be shipped:

    • Shipper's mark
    • Country of origin
    • Weight marking
    • Number of packages and size of cases
    • Handling marks
    • Cautionary markings
    • Port of entry
    • Labels for hazardous materials
    • Ingredients

    Packages should be clearly marked to prevent misunderstandings and delays in shipping. Letters are generally stenciled onto packages and containers in waterproof ink. Markings should appear on three faces of the container, preferably on the top and on the two ends or the two sides. Any old markings must be completely removed from previously used packaging.

    Wood Packaging
    A lot of suppliers use wood packing products to ship goods. It is used for bracing or securing a load while in transit to avoid damage in transit. Wood packing can include crates, pallets, drums, dunnage and skids.

    Wood Packaging ISPM 15
    International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15) is an International Phytosanitary Measure developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The IPPC is an international treaty to secure action to prevent the spread and introduction of pests of plants and plant products, and to promote appropriate measures for their control. ISPM 15 is a standard upon which Wood Packaging Material regulations of many countries are based.

    ISPM 15 affects all wood used for packaging, crating, pallets, dunnages, etc. of your international imports and exports. Shipments must be ISPM 15 Wood with the IPPC ISPM 15 stamp clearly shown on the wood products being used.

    You can better your chances of success with Wood Packaging Materials compliance with the assistance of PCB Customs Brokers. You will receive helpful information to avoid delays and refusals, and manage the entire Customs process seamlessly.

    Do I Need Cargo Or Shipping Insurance?
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    Cargo or shipping insurance is strongly recommended, and makes for good commercial sense to ensure that shipping insurance adequately covers your shipment. Never assume your goods are covered by insurance, either by yourself or your customer. Note that your customer’s insurance is meant to cover them and may not offer you any coverage or protection.

    Many customers assume their corporate insurance may cover your goods while they are being shipped. This again may not be the case. Or, even if there is coverage, it may not be enough.

    It is crucial that you ensure that your goods are adequately covered for any and all contingencies prior to shipment - be it an export or import. Insurance must be in place prior to the shipment of the goods in order to offer the shipment full protection.

    Pacific Customs Brokers offers Freight and Shipment Insurance solutions. To find out more you can speak with our logistics specialists today.

    Most exporters rely on an International Freight Forwarder to perform these services because of the multitude of considerations involved in physically exporting goods.

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