Exporting regulations

There are many opportunities for Canadian businesses to enter markets outside of Canada, but the exporting process can sometimes seem overwhelming. There are a number of different rules and regulations that you need to be aware of as you 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

You will need to obtain a Business Number and learn about the exporting requirements of the Canadian government.

  • Permits and licences
    Find the federal, provincial/territorial and municipal permits and licences that you may need to start or manage your business.
  • Business Number (BN)
    Your Business Number is your single account number for dealing with the government regarding GST/HST, payroll, import/export and other activities.
  • Checklist for Exporting Commercial Goods
    Use this one-pager as a reminder of the key steps involved in exporting your goods.
  • Exporting goods from Canada: A handy guide
    Get a detailed overview of the process of exporting commercial goods from Canada.
  • Canadian Economic Sanctions
    Be aware of the Canadian sanctions that prohibit or restrict economic activity with specific countries, organizations and individuals.
  • Export and import controls
    Get permission to export or import products related to agriculture, firearms, logs, softwood lumber, steel, textiles, clothing, the military and more.
  • Foreign Trade Zone
    These officially designated areas offer tariff and tax exemptions on the purchase or importation of raw materials, components or finished goods.

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 you required to comply with local labelling requirements?

These information services are a good starting point for understanding and staying up to date on the requirements of importing countries.

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