The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reminds travellers of what to expect when crossing the border over the Easter long weekend.
Across the country, close to 6,600 border services officers are keeping harmful goods out of Canada, while ensuring legitimate travel and trade can continue efficiently and safely. In 2022, we facilitated the arrival of over 60 million travellers while keeping more than 1,100 firearms and 24,400 prohibited weapons off our streets and seized over 41,000 kg of illegal drugs.
The CBSA invests significant effort annually to plan and prepare for peak periods, such as holiday long weekends and summer months. The Agency monitors traveller volumes and wait times and adjusts staffing levels to minimize your processing times at our land ports of entry and in international airports, where we work with airport authorities in planning for arrivals.
Travellers are encouraged to take advantage of the many tools and tips available to them to help ensure a smoother trip:
- Plan ahead and check border wait times and alternate ports of entry. Travellers crossing the border by land are encouraged to cross during non-peak hours such as early morning. The Monday of holiday long weekends tend to be the busiest, with longer border wait times.
- Have your travel documents handy. Whether travelling by land, air or water, you can help speed up processing times by coming prepared with your travel documents.
- Save time with Advance Declaration. Travellers arriving at the Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Billy Bishop, Calgary and Edmonton international airports can make their customs and immigration declaration to the CBSA prior to their arrival using Advance Declaration. Travellers who use this option have access to express lanes to get to an airport kiosk or eGate faster.
- When travelling with children, it is recommended that the accompanying adult have a consent letter authorizing them to travel with the child if they share custody or are not the parent or legal guardian. Border services officers are always watching for missing children, and in the absence of the letter, officers may ask additional questions.
- Know your exemption limits. Residents returning to Canada who make purchases or pick up online purchases outside of Canada should be aware of their personal exemption limits. Use the CBSA duty and taxes estimator to help calculate your monies owed. You can certainly bring in your Easter chocolate as long as it’s for personal use and doesn’t exceed a certain weight!
- Be prepared to declare. All travellers must declare their goods upon entry into Canada. Have your receipts readily available for goods purchased or received while outside of Canada. If travelling with firearms, consult the CBSA’s website for the rules on firearms and other restricted and prohibited goods.
- Bringing in a food product for a religious tradition? The CBSA strongly recommends that you consult the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website before bringing any food, plant, and animal products into Canada.
- Know what poultry products or by-products you can import. Currently, conditions and restrictions may apply to imports of live birds, bird products and by-products from U.S. states affected by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Familiarize yourself with the poultry products you can bring into Canada and which ones are restricted, and be prepared to prove the origin of your poultry product at the border.
- Not sure? Ask a CBSA officer. The best thing you can do to save time is to be open and honest with the CBSA officer. If you are not sure about what to declare, don’t hesitate to ask. Our officers are here to help!
For more information, visit the CBSA Web site or call us at 1-800-461-9999