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What Are the Regulations for Shipping Out of Canada?

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Moving items out of the country is not a simple task. Whether you are moving internationally and need to ship your household, or you are just mailing some things overseas, you need to be familiar with Canada's shipping regulations. This guide will give you a few tips, but be sure to head to Canada's Border Services' website to get updated, detailed information.

Shipping vs. exporting

Shipping and exporting are two different things, and it is important to know the difference when you are trying to ship personal items out of Canada. If you are exporting something, it is to be sold in an overseas market. If you are shipping your personal items, it is just moving them overseas, and they will be reclaimed by you or a loved one in a new location.

This matters because all commercial exports need to be listed and claimed while personal effects do not. Much of the regulations that do come with personal shipments are to limit their size to discourage foreign sale of the items. That means you want to keep your shipments small and personal. If you do want to sell things overseas, then you are now an exporter and have to declare everything with the Canadian government before it can leave the country.

Despite the notion that personal items do not have to be declared, certain items in your shipment still need additional authorization to be shipped overseas. These items are usually either highly valuable or dangerous. 

There are three categories your items can fall into when being shipped overseas: things that need no declaration, things that need to be declared and/or taxed, and things that are prohibited.

Canada's specific export/ outbound shipping regulations

Anything determined non-mailable by Canada Post is not able to be shipped. If absolutely necessary, you could attempt to get clearance from the TDGR, (Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations) but for personal shipments it is best to avoid the following items:
  • Explosives
  • Compressed gases
  • Flammable liquids
  • Flammable solids/ spontaneously combustible items/ things that are dangerous when exposed to water
  • Oxidizers/organic peroxides
  • Poisons
  • Radioactive items
  • Corrosive chemicals
  • Anything that makes noise and/or could expand
  • Anything determined dangerous by the destination country
You also need to be mindful of shipping expensive items, even if they aren't for sale. All forms of currency also fall under the valuable item categorization. Here are a few valuable items that need to be declared before they can leave Canada:
  • Banknotes
  • Coins
  • Traveller's Cheques
  • Securities that are payable to the bearer
  • Platinum, gold and silver
  • Jewels and any precious stones
  • Anything determined valuable by the destination country
  • Any currency that equals or exceeds $10,000 CDN
Rough diamonds get oddly specific attention when being shipped from Canada. Each rough diamond shipment requires a distinct Canadian Kimberly Process Certificate. 

Other general shipping regulations

If you keep your shipment cheap and safe, Canada will generally let you ship it to another country--but import restrictions tend to be stiffer. There is no way to know what a specific country prohibits, so you will need to contact that consulate specifically to find out. It doesn't matter if Canada allows you to ship items if they can't be imported into your destination country.

Here is a very general list of things you probably can't import into most other countries:
  • Weapons
  • Explosives
  • Perishable foods
  • Propaganda
  • Pornography
  • Old cars
  • Most animals
  • Anything diseased
  • Poisons
  • Extremely expensive items
  • A commercial amount of anything
Remember that customs regulations change over time. You will need to do some research before you know that your shipment will make it out of Canada and to its destination. Contact Canada Post and/or the Canada Border Services Agency if you have lingering questions about shipping items overseas.

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on November 10, 2014 - Moving Expert
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