1. Preparing to export
Obtain a Business Number
Before exporting commercial goods from Canada, as a business or an individual, you will need to obtain a business number (BN) issued by 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 RM account identifier to an existing BN:
- Call the CRA's Business Window at 1-800-959-5525
- Visit the CRA's Business Registration Online (BRO)
Identify the 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 restricted (i.e. regulated, controlled, or prohibited) and/or if a permit or license is required.
Determine the country of origin for the goods you are exporting
The origin of goods to be exported can affect permit requirements. For example:
- An Individual Export Permit is required for United States origin goods exported to certain countries and countries on the Area Control List. For a list of these countries, please consult the Global Affairs Canada Web site.
- A General Export Permit is required to export United States origin goods with a value of CAN$2,000 or more to all other destinations.
- A permit is not required to export United States origin goods back to the United States.
Refer to Memoranda Series D11, General Tariff Information for additional information on origin.
Ensure the goods are permitted to be exported from Canada
Certain goods cannot be exported from Canada. A few examples include:
- Drugs and narcotics controlled under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (refer to section 6).
- Black bear claws, gall bladder and paws. Learn more from the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species and Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
- Counterfeit money. Please see the Criminal Code of Canada, section 460, Advertising and Trafficking in Counterfeit Money or Counterfeit Tokens of Value.
More information about export controls can be found on the Global Affairs Canada website.
Determine whether the goods you intend to export are subject to any permits, restrictions or regulations by the CBSA or other government departments
The CBSA is responsible for administering certain export requirements on behalf of other government departments. Permits, certificates or licenses may be required when exporting certain goods from Canada. The CBSA's Other Government Department and Agencies: Reference List for Exporters can help you identify the appropriate department or agency for permit enquiries, if applicable.
It is the exporter's responsibility to ensure that the goods meet all requirements under the law. Failure to do so could result in fines, detention and/or seizure of the goods by the CBSA.
A list of other government department requirements can be found in Memoranda Series D19, Acts and Regulations of Other Government Departments.
Ensure that the goods you are exporting are allowed entry into the destination country
It is in your best interest to verify that your goods meet the import requirements of the receiving country. For information about the requirements of other countries, refer to:
- The World Customs Organization; or,
- The embassy or consulate (in Canada) of the country to which you will be exporting.
You can also have the importer of your goods contact their local government to ensure the goods comply with their import regulations.
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