Canadian Export Reporting System

Have you heard? There are big changes for commercial goods being exported from Canada! Since June 30, 2020, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) eliminated the paper option or B13A for submitting your export declarations. Now exporters can only submit electronically using the following two options:

  • The Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS)
  • The G7 Electronic Data Interchange Export Reporting. 

Unsure of which is the right method for you? The CBSA recommends that you use the CERS.

What Is CERS?

The Canadian Export Reporting System, known as CERS, is a free online self-service portal that allows the exporter to declare their goods electronically. No extra software is required. The CBSA and Statistics Canada mutually agreed on replacing the Canadian Automated Export Declaration System (CAED) due to its aging technology, which was retired June 30, 2020. CERS includes many of the same data requirements as the previous system and is designed to accept the Summary Reporting Program (SRP) as well as the functionality allowing businesses to submit a large set of declaration data via the “bulk upload” feature. CERS was designed by CBSA to meet the current export program requirements while also remaining flexible for future enhancements. 

Before you register for CERS, exporters should review and verify their Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) issued business number (BN) is activated for export, valid, and not expired. They should also confirm all related information such as contacts and addresses are current. Contact the CRA business enquiries line at 1.800.959.5525 to check your registration or verification. 

Am I Already Registered For CERS?

Any exporter who has submitted export declarations electronically or SRP reports between December 1, 2017 and December 1, 2019 would have received a letter from the CBSA informing them how to activate their CERS business account during the onboarding period between February and June 2020.

But, if you did NOT export in the above mentioned time frame noted (between February and June 2020) or you are considered “new” to exporting goods, and thus you will need to register for CERS. 

How To Register For CERS

Once you, the exporter, have verified your business number is designated to “export” or both “import and export” you must complete a BSF831 form to apply to become a CERS Portal Client. For further clarification on registering, or for help filling out your BSF831 please visit the Government of Canada Forms Page 

Once your BSF831 is completed, you may submit it by email to CBSA here for approval. Take note that the approval process generally takes up to 5 business days and may be extended if there is insufficient or missing data. 

Once approved, CBSA will respond back to you with a temporary access code, which they refer to as a shared secret. This will be sent to the email address indicated on the BSF831 form. This access code must be used to create a portal business account within 90 days of receiving the access code. If for any reason, your “shared secret” expires, a replacement can be issued by the Commercial Registration Unit (contact via email here).

How To Submit Through CERS

Ensuring you have everything you need for your export is vital in getting your goods from Canada. Exporters will have to determine whether they need an export declaration and/or a permit/certificate/license for exporting. Visit the Government of Canada’s page for further information on classifying that. If you are submitting an export declaration through CERS, you will need to enter the 8-digit Canadian Export Classification number that describes your goods. Which you can get by visiting Statistics Canada, Canadian Export Classification.

When Should I Submit My CERS Report?

When to submit your report is determined by what mode of transportation your goods are using. Is it being exported out of Canada by truck? Or by boat? Here is a list to help you determine when to submit your report:

Marine - 48 hours before the goods are loaded onto the vessel

Air - 2 hours before the goods are loaded onto the aircraft

Mail - 2 hours before the goods are delivered to the post office

Rail - 2 hours before the goods are loaded onto the railcar

Highway - Immediately before leaving the country

If you’re exporting goods that do require a permit, you must present a paper copy of your declaration (a print out of your electronic export declaration works!) together with the other applicable permits, certificates, or licenses to CBSA at the location specified in the permit. If not specified, it will be at the export reporting office closest to the port of entry your goods are exiting Canada. 

As you can see, whether you are a seasoned exporter or it’s your first time, new changes can come with confusion. PCB Freight Management can assist you with your export reporting. Speak with one of our trade advisors who will be happy to assist and advise you. 

Need help exporting your goods? We can help!
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About Author
Alexandra Haukaas

Alex Haukaas is a logistics professional who has been in the freight forwarding, NVOCC and brokerage industries for over seventeen years. Alex has worked in all modes of transportation including air, ocean, truck, rail and project cargo. Her successful management style is a hands on approach in identifying the strengths of her team which results in a positive and cohesive work environment.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.