How To Become An Exporter In Canada – eShipper

Remitr guest blog
Remitr May 07, 2019 • 3 min read
International Shipping

In 2017, Canada exported a total US$420.6 billion worth of products.

As of September 2018, Canada’s exported goods were valued at $338.7 billion, putting Canada on track for $451.5 billion worth of exported products in 2018.

Here’s a breakdown of Canada’s top 10 exports:

  1. Mineral fuels (including oil) - 1%
  2. Vehicles - 8%
  3. Machinery (including computers) - 7%
  4. Gems & precious metals - 4%
  5. Wood - 3%
  6. Electrical equipment - 1%
  7. Plastics - 3%
  8. Aluminum - 3%
  9. Aircraft & spacecraft - 3%
  10. Oil seeds - 9%

Exporting clearly plays a crucial role in the health of the Canadian economy, a role that is becoming increasingly more important.

Maybe you’re thinking of starting a business in Canada, with a view to exporting your products overseas?

If so, we’re here to help you out with our step-by-step guide to exporting goods from Canada.

Obtain a Business Number

Before exporting commercial goods from Canada, you will need to obtain a Business Number (BN) from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for an import/export account.

This account is free of charge and can usually be set-up in a matter of minutes.

To register for a BN or add an import/export account identifier to an existing BN:

Identify Your Goods

The next thing you’ll need to do before exporting from Canada is identify what type of goods you want to export.

You must provide true and accurate information and a complete description of the goods you plan to export before proceeding.

An accurate description will assist in determining if your goods are controlled, regulated or even prohibited to be exported by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or any other government department/agency.

Canada’s list of banned export products includes black bear claws, gall bladder and paws.

Some regulated or controlled goods may require a permit to be exported/imported. You can read more about controlled goods and permits on the Canadian Government’s website.

It is also in your best interests to verify that your goods meet the import requirements and laws of the country you are exporting to.

For information about the requirements of other countries, refer to:

Export Declaration

Once you have determined that your goods can be legally exported, you must check to see if they are subject to an export declaration.

The below table showcases the documentation requirements for exporters from Canada:

Type of GoodsUS (Incl. Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands)All Other Destinations (Incl. goods moving through US to foreign destinations)
Restricted Goods (Regulated, controlled, or prohibited goods - regardless of value)Permit, certificate, or license required by other government departments (if applicable) Export declaration not requiredPermit, certificate, or license required by other government departments (if applicable) Export declaration required
Non-Restricted Goods (Goods that do not require a permit under any Act of Parliament)  Export declaration not requiredExport declaration required for commercial goods valued at CAN $2,000 or more

If the goods you wish to export from Canada require export declaration, you must classify the goods.

Depending on your method of reporting, either the Statistics Canada eight-digit Canadian Export Classification number or the ten-digit Canadian Tariff Classification number may be used.

To obtain the eight-digit Canadian Export Classification number, Consult Canadian Export Classification on Statistics Canada's website.

To obtain the ten-digit Tariff Classification Number, Consult the Customs Tariff.

For more information on the methodology for classifying goods according to the Customs Tariff, refer to Memorandum D10-13-1, Classification of Goods.


If required to report your export to the CBSA, you must do so prior to exporting in accordance to specific timeframes, which depend on the mode of transportation used.

The minimum timeframe for reporting is as follows:

  • Air – two hours before goods are loaded
  • Highway – prior to export
  • Marine – forty-eight hours before goods are loaded
  • Mail – two hours before goods are brought to the post office
  • Rail – two hours before goods are loaded

Non-Restricted Goods are to be reported at a Designated Export Office located inland or at the border.

For restricted goods, you must submit an export declaration by using Canadian Automated Export Declaration (CAED).

This is an electronic method of reporting exports that is available 24/7, which allows you or your agent to quickly prepare your export declarations and transmit the information directly to the Government of Canada before exportation.

Government officials may examine your shipment to ensure compliance with CBSA requirements or other government department regulations.

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

Post Shipping

The overseas importer of your goods may be entitled to claim a preferential tariff treatment and 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.

As the exporter, you must forward a copy of the certificate of origin to the importer and retain a copy for your records.

You must keep all records pertaining to your exports from Canada for six years following the exportation of goods in either electronic or paper format.

For more information on the keeping of books and records pertaining to exports, consult Memorandum D20-1-5, Maintenance of Records and Books in Canada by Exporters and Producers.

What Is The Best Way To Receive Payment From Overseas Clients?

One of the most stressful parts of exporting from Canada is receiving payments from clients overseas.

Wire transfers take forever, and charge sneaky receiver fees when the funds eventually arrive.

Time differences can make communication difficult with clients, and give them an excuse to delay paying you.

However, all these problems are a thing of the past thanks to REMITR Collect.

Once you register for REMITR Collect, you receive a free REMITR Global Account.

When raising an invoice with customers, you will provide them with your personal REMITR Global Account number. This Global Account allows you to receive payments in Euros and US Dollars.

Receiving payments into this Global Account is completely free!

Users have the ability to withdraw funds from their Global Account into their local bank account at any time they wish.
Funds are transferred to your local bank account, in your local currency, within 1 business day of submitting your online withdrawal request.

For receiving payments from anywhere in the world – there is no better way than using REMITR Collect.

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