Many Canadian companies do not know that exporters (or their freight forwarder) must complete an export declaration (Form B 13A) for any export of goods and/or technology to any country (except the United States & Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) valued over  at $CDN 2000 or more (subject to regulated exceptions).  The B 13A Form may be filed electronically using Canadian Automated Export Declaration (CAED) process, which allows the government to review the information and conduct a risk assessment and enables Statistics Canada to compile export trade data. The reporting requirement is found in section 95 of the Customs Act and the Reporting of Exported Goods Regulations.

Even small sized packaged can be valued over $2000 (most shipping containers exceed the threshold). The Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) conducts a risk assessment as to whether the goods should have an export permit or are destined for a sanctioned country or person.  If the package/shipment does not include an export declaration, the CBSA may detain the goods and, thereby, delay the transportation of the goods to its destination.

The general rule is that all goods valued at or over $CDN 2000 must be reported.  That being said, certain goods are not required to be reported on an export declaration. The exempted goods are listed in sections 6 and 7 of the Reporting of Exported Goods Regulations and are further explained in CBSA D-Memorandum D20-1-1, Export Reporting. Provided that the following goods are not prohibited goods or restricted goods (that require an export permit), the following limited classes of goods may be exported without being reported by the exporter:

  • personal and household effects, other than those of an emigrant, that are not for resale or commercial use;
  • conveyances that would, if they were imported, be classified at the time of importation under tariff item No. 9801.10.00, 9801.20.00 or 9801.30.00 in the List of Tariff Provisions set out in the schedule to the Customs Tariff;
  • cargo containers that would, if they were imported, be classified at the time of importation under tariff item No. 980l.10.00 in the List of Tariff Provisions set out in the schedule to the Customs Tariff;
  • reusable skids, drums, pallets, straps and similar goods used by a carrier in the international commercial transportation of goods;
  • goods exported by diplomatic embassy or mission personnel for their personal or official use;
  • personal gifts and donations of goods, excluding conveyances;
  • goods that were imported into Canada and are exported from Canada after being transported in transit through Canada enroute to a non-Canadian destination;
  • goods that were manufactured or produced in Canada and that are exported from Canada for the purpose of being transshipped through another country to another Canadian destination;
  • goods exported for repair or warranty repair that will be returned to Canada;
  • goods for use as ships’ stores by a Canadian carrier;
  • goods manufactured or produced outside Canada and removed for export from a bonded warehouse or sufferance warehouse;
  • goods, other than goods exported for further processing, that will be returned to Canada within 12 months after the date of exportation; and
  • goods that are described in or come within the scope of a written arrangement made between the Government of Canada and the government of another country

The reporting MUST take place before the goods are shipped (the attempt to export).  The minimum time frames for reporting exports to the CBSA are as follows:

  • For goods exported by mail: not less than two hours before the goods are delivered to the post office in Canada that accepts mail for export;
  • For goods exported by marine vessel: not less than 48 hours before the goods are loaded onto the vessel;
  • For goods exported by aircraft: not less than two hours before the goods are loaded on board the aircraft;
  • For goods exported by rail: not less than two hours before the railcar on which the goods have been loaded is assembled to form part of a train to be exported. Railcars are loaded at different places and then moved to a rail yard where the cars are assembled into a train to begin its journey from Canada;
  • For goods exported by any other mode of transportation: immediately before the exportation of the goods. In the case of goods being exported by highway or any other mode not previously mentioned, they must be reported immediately before being exported, which means before the conveyance that is transporting the goods crosses the border or leaves Canada.

If the CBSA randomly detains your goods (or is informed about the export by a competitor or disgruntled employee or another person and selects the goods for inspection), you will be asked to provide information about the goods.  This could delay the export weeks, months or years.  It is possible that the detained goods will be seized as forfeit and destroyed.

For more information, on August 19, 2016, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) posted on its web-site a “Checklist for Exporting Commercial Goods from Canada”.  On January 25, 2016 (updated August 19, 2016), the CBSA also published a “Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting Commercial Goods from Canada“.  In June 2017, the CBSA made further updates to its web-page “Exporting Goods From Canada: A Handy Guide“.

For more information, contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or at