What is CERS?
The Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS) is a self-service web portal that Canadian exporters use to report their exported goods to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
CERS replaced the Canadian Automated Export Declaration System (CAED) on September 30, 2020. As a result, exporters (or their Customs Service Provider) must declare all exports electronically through CERS.
What CERS Means for Exporters
CERS offers exporters and their service providers a secure, web-based portal to submit export documents electronically to the CBSA. It includes the same data elements as CAED but offers enhanced features, including:
Online Accessibility & Exporting Efficiencies
Unlike CAED, CERS is web-based with no software to download. It is accessible 24/7 from any computer with an internet connection (CERS Technical Requirements).
The move to a fully electronic system and 24/7 availability means a more efficient export reporting process. As a result, businesses can free up time and resources spent on export documentation and focus on their core operations.
Data Validation and Submission History
CERS allows exporters to validate their export declarations prior to transmitting them to the CBSA. It also provides access to your submission history (back to December 1, 2017) and offers easy access to online help and reference materials.
Electronic Summary Reporting
Before CERS, Summary Reporting Program (SRP) participants had to create and transmit summary reports to Statistics Canada using electronic file transfer.
You may now create and submit Summary Reports electronically by using the CERS Portal online form or uploading an Excel Spreadsheet.
CERS offers a bulk upload feature allowing businesses to upload, review, and submit multiple export declarations to the CBSA.
How to Register for CERS
There are three ways exporters can register to CERS:
1. Register through PF Collins
Exporters who use a Customs Service Provider (like PF Collins) to manage their export transactions can complete form BSF831 and then forward it to PF Collins at email@example.com for submission to CBSA.
Upon successful submission, CBSA will link us to your Business Account. Your will receive notification of the linked account and we will then be able to manage your export activity on your behalf.
2. Current CAED and SRP Users
CBSA has developed an onboarding schedule to help current CAED and SRP participants transition to CERS.
A CERS Portal Business Account is automatically issued to businesses that have used CAED or SRP from December 1, 2017 to December 1, 2019. You should receive a letter from the CBSA with instructions to activate your CERS account during the onboarding event.
If you have not received your activation instructions, email CBSA CERS Inquiries.
Note: Exporters using the G7 EDI to submit export declarations (and only plan on using this system) do not need to use the CERS portal.
3. New Exporters
Businesses who have not previously exported or have not used the CAED or SRP systems from December 1, 2017 to December 1, 2019 must register for CERS by completing form BSF831 and emailing it to the CBSA Export Program.
CBSA will then send you a letter with instructions to activate your CERS Business Account.
Visit CBSA’s Get Started with Electronic Export Declarations for more information on registration.
Getting Started with CERS
To complete activation of your CERS Business Account, you will need to ensure you have an active Canadian exporter account. You will also need to decide who will manage your account and export activity on your behalf, and what features they will be able to access.
1. Confirm your Export Account is Active
Before activating your CERS Business Account, we recommend ensuring your Export Account with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is active. To do this, contact the CRA’s Business Window at 1-800-959-5525.
If you are a new exporter, you will need an Import/Export account. Import/Export accounts are identified by a company’s unique 15-digit Business Number, followed by a two-letter business account ‘RM’ (e.g. 123456789RM0001). Import/Export account numbers are entered on documents submitted to CBSA for customs clearance and are only used when importing or exporting.
To register for a Business Number or add an import/export account to an existing Business Number:
- Contact the CRA’s Business Window at 1-800-959-5525, or;
- Register online using the Business Registration Online (BRO)
2. Designate a Portal Account Owner
Once your Import/Export account is active, you will need to designate an Account Owner. The Account Owner is an individual within your company who is responsible for activating your CERS Business account. They will also assign additional users within your company.
If your business has multiple Import/Export RM accounts, then each RM account will require a business account owner and activation.
Note: Exporters using a Customs Service Provider (like PF Collins) only need to contact CRA to confirm their export account is active. We can then assist in registering and managing your export activity on your behalf.
3. Obtain GCKeys for Designated Users
Once you have identified your Portal Account Owner and other key users within your organization, they will require login credentials. To login to the CERS Portal, each user must obtain their own GCKey or login through a Sign-In Partner:
- A GCKey is a unique, electronic credential issued by the Government of Canada that allows you to securely access online government services, called Enabled Services.
- Sign-In Partners are private sector financial institutions that allow you to login to Government of Canada online services using your existing online credentials (e.g. bank card numbers or usernames/passwords).
Information & Resources
To further clarify and assist with registration and use of the CERS portal, CBSA has provided several resources:
- Get Started with Electronic Export Declarations
- Quick Reference Guide to the Canadian Export Reporting System
- CERS Client Support and Contact Information
- Electronic Commerce Client Requirements Document (ECCRD)
We’re Here to Help!
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-763-2255 if you have any questions regarding the Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS). We can assist in registering your account and managing your export reporting on your behalf.