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Exporters' guide to reporting

Change to import-export program (RM) administration

The Canada Revenue Agency continues to issue the required business number (BN9). The CBSA has taken over RM account-related services. Until October 2024:

  1. to register for a new import-export program account (RM), complete form BSF947: Request for a CBSA Import/Export Program Account
  2. to submit a maintenance request for existing RM accounts, complete form BSF948: Request for Change(s) to Existing CBSA Import/Export Program Account

Learn more: Register for or modify an import-export program account

This guide outlines the requirements that you, as an exporter, must fulfill to meet your obligations to report exports according to Canadian laws. The same reporting requirements apply whether you are an exporter residing in Canada, or a non-resident exporter residing outside of Canada and exporting goods from Canada.

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Understand your exporter responsibilities

As an exporter, you must provide the CBSA with the required export documentation within the prescribed time frames. For more information, refer to Memorandum D20-1-1: Exporter reporting.

You may delegate the reporting of exports to a third party, such as a customs service provider. However, you remain ultimately responsible for ensuring that true, accurate and complete information is provided within the prescribed time frames stated in the Reporting of Exported Goods Regulations.

If you do not meet these reporting requirements, monetary penalties may apply or your goods may be detained or seized.

Identify the goods you want to export

It is important to identify if the goods you want to export are restricted goods i.e. controlled, regulated or prohibited by virtue of an act of Parliament. This is because these goods may require an export permit, certificate or licence. For more information, consult the web page of Goods that may require export permits.

Determine the country of origin of the goods, as this can affect permit requirements. For example, you will need an individual export permit for goods originating from the United States, if you export these goods to any destination on the Area Control List.

Ensure the goods are allowed entry into the destination country. For the import requirements of the country of destination, contact their embassy or consulate.

Determine if an export declaration and/or permit is required

In most cases, you need to submit an export declaration to export commercial goods from Canada. There are situations where no export declaration is required. The most common exceptions are:

  • goods exported for consumption in the United States (some goods require additional documentation)
  • non-restricted goods valued at less than CAN $2,000

For more information, refer to the list of Goods that do not need an export declaration.

The reference table below outlines when you need to submit an export declaration and/or a permit.

Exporting commercial goods from Canada: Documentation requirements for exporters

Type of goods United StatesFootnote 1
(includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands)
All other destinations
(includes goods moving through the United States to foreign destinations)
Restricted goods, that is, controlled, regulated or prohibited goods under Canadian law (regardless of value)
  • Export declaration is not required
  • Permit, certificate or licence, or any other applicable authorization, is required
  • Export declaration is required
  • Permit, certificate or licence, or any other applicable authorization, is required
Non-restricted goods, that is, the exportation is not controlled, regulated or prohibited under Canadian law Export declaration is not required Export declaration is required (for commercial goods valued at CAN $2,000 or more)

Table note

Table note 1

Any goods entering the United States on a transportation and exportation entry (T and E) bond (that is, in transit) require an export declaration.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Submit your export declaration

Once you determine that an export declaration is required, follow these steps to complete your submission:

Obtain a business number

You need a valid business number (BN) with an export or import/export designated account before you can submit an export declaration.

To confirm you have a valid BN, or to obtain one, refer to How to register for a business number or Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) program accounts or call the CRA at 1-800-959-5525.

Note Customs service providers who complete export declarations on behalf of exporters must enter the exporter's BN on the export declaration, not their own.

Find out when to submit

Determine your method of shipping (air, marine, rail, mail or highway) to determine when you must submit your export declaration and any applicable permit, certificate or licence, to the CSBA. Time frames vary based on the mode of transportation used to export the goods from Canada:

  • Air: not less than 2 hours before the goods are loaded onto the aircraft
  • Marine: not less than 48 hours before the goods are loaded onto the vessel
  • Rail: not less than 2 hours before the goods are loaded onto the railcar assembled to the train
  • Mail: not less than 2 hours before the goods are delivered to the post office
  • Highway: immediately before the exportation of the goods

Note If goods are exempt from being reported on an export declaration, advise the carrier and indicate that there is no declaration required (NDR) with the proper explanation or numerical code on the transport documentation (e.g. cargo control document, manifest, bill of lading). For more information, refer to Memorandum D3-1-8, Cargo: Export Movements.

Select your reporting method

There are 2 methods currently available to submit export declarations:

If you are unsure which method is right for you, the CBSA recommends that you use CERS.

Classify your goods

To complete your export declaration, determine the appropriate export Harmonized Description and Coding System classification number (HS code) for the goods.

If you are using the CERS reporting method to submit your export declaration, enter the 8-digit Canadian Export Classification number that describes your goods. To obtain this number, consult the Canadian Export Classification of Statistics Canada.

If you are using the G7-EDI reporting method to submit your export declaration, enter the 10-digit Tariff Classification Number that describes your goods. To obtain this number, consult the Canadian Customs Tariff.

Provide the proof of report number

Provide your proof of report number to your carrier. The proof of report is a number issued by the CERS or G7-EDI system indicating that you have reported your goods to the CBSA. For more information, refer to Appendix D of Memorandum D20-1-1: Exporter reporting.

Find out where to present permits

If your goods require an export permit, certificate or licence, you must provide a printout of the electronic (CERS or G7-EDI) export declaration (refer to the reference table above to determine when an export declaration is needed) and the permit, certificate or licence, at the place specified therein.

If no place is specified, provide the documentation to the designated export reporting office located closest to the place of exit of the goods from Canada.

What to expect when we examine your goods

The CBSA or other government officials may examine your goods to ensure they comply with all export requirements.

This examination is conducted without charge. However, you may receive an invoice from a company for their services if there is a need to move or handle your goods.

In addition, you may have to pay the fees charged by third parties such as a warehouse operator or a building facilities owner.

If you do not follow Canada's export laws, we may need to take enforcement actions, which could include applying monetary penalties, seizing goods and laying criminal charges.

What to do after your goods are exported

The following are important requirements to keep in mind once your goods have been exported from Canada:

Keep all export records for 6 years

You must keep in Canada all records pertaining to your exportations, for a period of 6 years following the exportation of your commercial goods. For more information, refer to Record keeping requirements for exporters.

Provide a certificate of origin, where applicable

An importer in the country to which you are exporting goods may be allowed to claim a preferential tariff treatment. This means they would pay a lower duty rate if they have a valid certificate of origin.

The certificate of origin is a signed declaration from the manufacturer of the goods that the goods are of Canadian origin and meet the requirements of a free trade agreement. You must forward a copy of the certificate of origin to the importer and retain a copy for your records.

For more information on certificates of origin, refer to Memorandum D11-4-14, Certificate of Origin.

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