Project Description

Exporting from Canada: How to Navigate CERS and Canadian Export Declarations

Streamline your Canadian exports with our expert guidance on CERS and export declarations.

Unless you are exporting Canadian products to the US or your products are less than $2000, Canadian exporters must file an export declaration with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) through their online portal called the Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS).

While the CERS Portal eliminates paperwork, many exporters choose to outsource this requirement to a Customs Broker. Here’s why.

8 Challenges of the Export Declaration Process


The process is time-consuming

While the online CERS Portal is an improvement over the old paper process, it still takes time. The system can be slow to respond during high-volume periods, putting stress on the filer’s busy day.


It requires a unique skill set

The work itself demands above-average attention to detail. It requires consistent discipline to cross-check and ensure accuracy. And it requires stamina and focus because complicated shipments can take 1-2 hours to complete. It also requires a working knowledge of Canadian Customs regulations and Canadian Export policy. Given the demands of the process and a background in Customs, many exporters find that employees with the right qualities are better tasked with more mission-critical responsibilities.


The learning curve can be long and slow

Overcoming any learning curve demands consistent and frequent interactions. The CERS Portal is no different. If your export cadence is irregular or infrequent (less than 2 or 3 per week), completing the Canadian Export Declaration will always take more time than it should and be more prone to errors.


The learning curve can be costly

Errors cost money, and there are no second chances to correct a mistake. Canada Customs charges an Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP) for not filing or misfiling export declarations. Penalties for non-compliance start at $500 for the first error, increasing to $750 for the second and $1500 for the third and subsequent errors. In addition, because the retention period is only 30 days, penalties can add up fast.


The learning curve doesn’t end

Employees who become proficient at CERS are always at risk of leaving (or being promoted). During the re-training period, there is an increased risk of non-compliance and penalties.


Limited organizational bandwidth

Exporters with significant filing requirements (more than 5-7 per week) typically assign the responsibility to submit export declarations to an employee’s existing portfolio of responsibilities. This increases the risk of export declarations being submitted late and/or with mistakes, as the employee juggles tasks, striving to complete declarations while rushed and distracted by other duties.


Compliance is not part of the company’s DNA

Successful exporters thrive because they embrace speed, agility, innovative thinking, and have a high tolerance for risk – virtues that run counter to a compliance culture. As a result, in-house compliance departments become square pegs in round holes. Under-appreciated and overlooked by senior leadership, they end up understaffed, undertrained, and under-resourced. Outsourcing time-consuming export declarations is one way to support an overburdened compliance team.


Better risk management

International trade continually evolves as do the regulations that support them. Customs Brokers stay current in a way most exporters can’t. Outsourcing export declarations mitigates risk because a Customs Broker performs an audit function that would otherwise be missing with in-house submissions. An experienced customs broker will identify missing or mis-applied information that might otherwise go unnoticed.

If You:

Are frustrated with managing your CERS submissions.

Have incurred AMPS penalties in the past.

Are unsure of your Canada export obligation for an upcoming shipment.

Need guidance on Canadian export regulation.

Have been told by your carrier that they won’t file CERS on your behalf.

Book a Meeting


with our CERS Specialist today to streamline your export process and ensure compliance.


What is CERS?

The Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS) is an online portal managed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). It is used by Canadian exporters to submit export declarations electronically. CERS replaces the former paper-based reporting system, streamlining the process and ensuring compliance with Canadian export regulations.

Who can file a CERS?

A CERS can be filed by:

  • The exporter or their authorized agent.
  • A Customs Broker acting on behalf of the exporter [recommended].
  • Any person who is responsible for the goods leaving Canada, such as a freight forwarder.

What are the requirements for Canadian export declarations?

Canadian export declarations must be filed for goods exported from Canada, except in specific cases such as goods exported to the United States or goods with a value less than $2,000 CAD. The requirements include:

  • Completing the export declaration using the Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS).
  • Providing detailed information about the goods, including the description, quantity, value, destination and much more.
  • Ensuring the declaration is submitted before the goods leave Canada.
  • Ensuring the date of export is accurate to what is specified in the CERS portal.

What forms are needed for Canadian export of goods valued > $2000 to a country other than the USA?

The primary form needed for Canadian export is the export declaration, which is submitted through the CERS Portal. Additionally, exporters may need:

These forms ensure that the export complies with both Canadian regulations and the requirements of the destination country.

Do I need a license to export from Canada?

Whether you need an export license depends on the type of goods you are exporting. Certain goods, such as military equipment, controlled goods, and technology, require an export permit or license. Exporters must check the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) and consult the Export Controls Division of Global Affairs Canada to determine if their goods require a license.

Is there an export tax in Canada?

Canada does not impose a general export tax on goods leaving the country. However, specific goods may be subject to export duties or fees, particularly if they are regulated or controlled items. Exporters should verify any applicable charges based on the type of goods they are exporting.

How to Export from Canada?

To export goods out of Canada, follow these steps:


Determine Export Requirements

Verify if your goods require an export permit or are restricted.


Classify Your Goods:

Use the Harmonized System (HS) codes to classify your goods.


File Export Declarations

Submit an export declaration using the CERS Portal. Pro-Tip: Contact to your Customs Broker to do this.


Ensure Compliance

Follow Canadian export regulations and ensure all necessary documentation is in order.


Arrange Transportation:

Choose a reliable shipping method and ensure your goods are properly packaged and labelled.


Pay Applicable Duties and Fees

Ensure all exporting fees, including any exporting duties, are paid.

Let us handle your export declarations while ensuring CERS compliance.


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