Exporters or Support Agencies – OLD

Ready To Export 

On this page you will find Assessing Your Export Readiness, Guide to Exporting, Export Planning, Participating in Trade Event and Further Resources.

Having determined that you are ready to export (through the Export Readiness Quiz), the next step is to begin your export planning. When your company decides to look towards foreign markets for selling your product(s) you need to make an Export.

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Selling goods and services to another country is about more than just knowing who the buyers are. Successful exporting requires time, resources and knowledge to prepare your products and your staff for a foreign marketplace, to identify specific opportunities, and to maximize the potential of a successful venture.

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When your company decides to look towards foreign markets for selling your product(s) you need to make an Export Plan. The Export Plan is basically a Business Plan with an international market focus (specifically, the target market(s) you have selected). The Exporter Plan describes the company’s target market(s) in detail, clarifies your export goals, activities and objectives, and determines the resources necessary to achieve your anticipated positive results.

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As a key tool for export success an export plan needs to include clear set of directions to identify every step of the process. In this section you will find a suggested format for an export plan.

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Market Entry

Labelling and Language Requirements

The Competition Bureau’s Guide to the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations outlines Canadian requirements for labelling of all products sold in Canada. All labels are prohibited from making false or misleading representations of a product. Mandatory label requirements include: product identity, product net quantity and dealer’s name and principal place of business. This mandatory information must be provided in both English and French for products sold anywhere in Canada. Some information may not need to be listed in both languages, such as the dealer’s name and address.


Food Labelling

Food products are subject to additional labelling requirements in Canada. CFIA offers a Food Labelling Tool for Industry and Labelling Requirements Checklist to better understand these requirements. Core Labelling Requirements must be provided in French and English and include: common name, country of origin, date markings and storage instructions, identity and principal place of business, irradiated foods, legibility and locations, list of ingredients and allergens, net quantity, nutrition labelling and sweeteners. CFIA also offers guidance on claims and statements (e.g., allergens, gluten-free, health claims, organic) as well as food-specific requirements for certain products (e.g., alcohol, chocolate/cocoa, fats and oils, fish/seafood, fresh produce, honey, meat/poultry, processed foods). For example, all packaged foods must include a Nutrition Facts Table.


Exporting Directly or Indirectly

Exporters to Canada must decide whether to export directly to an importer, distributor or retailer in Canada, or indirectly through intermediaries such as distributors, brokers and agents or trading houses. Each option has pros and cons. In general, if you are new to the Canadian market you will probably want to form a partnership with intermediaries at home or in Canada. These intermediaries are familiar with the Canadian market and for a fee will work with you to represent and sell your products to buyers in Canada. If you have more experience, you may choose to export directly to buyers, including retailers and consumers.

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Main Entry Doors to Canada

Given the large size of Canada, it is common practice for exporters to consolidate shipments to the country’s three primary consumer markets. For most new exporters, the main entry doors to Canada are Ontario and Quebec, while exporters from Asia may wish to target Vancouver in British Columbia due to its geographic proximity (although increasingly Asian goods are shipped to an eastern Atlantic port). Major distribution hubs for intra-Canadian trade are Toronto (covering Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada), Montréal (covering Quebec, Atlantic Canada and Ontario) and Vancouver (covering British Colombia, Alberta, the Prairies and the Territories).

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Packaging Requirements

The Competition Bureau’s Guide to the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations outlines requirements for packaging of all products sold in Canada. Packages must be filled, displayed and designed in a way that does not mislead consumers about the quality or quantity of the products inside. Certain products must also be shipped in standardized container sizes, including: wine, peanut butter, glucose syrup and refined sugar syrup. Good quality packaging facilitates handling, transportation and disposal. Before making any large shipments, you should send samples of your packaging to your buyer to ensure the design, size and materials conform to Canadian laws and regulations, and to the requirements of your buyer.. It is cheaper and easier to change a packaging design in your country than in Canada.

Packaging Trends

Offering an attractive design or innovative packaging is one way to increase the interest of potential buyers in carrying your product. One of the major trends in recent years is eco-friendly packaging, including materials that are renewably sourced, biodegradable and recyclable. Manufacturers are also reducing the amount and size of packaging to reduce the environmental footprint of their products. Convenient, single-serve food packaging is a hot trend in the Canadian market. The packaging of new or unfamiliar food products should also include a description of how consumers can prepare or use the item, as well as recipes and conversion rates for substitutions. More information on trends is available through Canadian Packaging magazine.

Standards for practices, technical requirements and product specifications are increasingly important in global trade. In Canada, importers are legally liable for defective products.

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Tariff Determination Importers must provide CBSA with a detailed description of goods (based on information from the supplier), including the ten-digit HS code, value and origin. CBSA will help determine the rates of duty based on the appropriate valuation method, classification and tariff treatment.

Canadian Tariffs

Exports into Canada

International Trade Agreements


Market Research

The goal of market research is to identify the market best suited to your export endeavours (the target market) and to increase your understanding of this market in order to enable you to enter it most effectively for long-term success. Market research allows you to determine that an opportunity exists and minimizes the risk of going after it by uncovering and identifying potential problems. It helps you to gauge the market characteristics in relation to your products and plans, and to learn how a new market can be developed.

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