Travelling For Victoria Day Or U.S. Memorial Day? The CBSA Gives Tips For A Smoother Trip

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reminds travellers of what to expect when crossing the border over the upcoming Victoria Day and the U.S. Memorial Day long weekends.

Every day, the CBSA works hard to protect Canadians, support the economy and ensure the safe and efficient movement of people and goods across our borders. In 2023, we welcomed over 86M travellers and intercepted more than 72,200 kg of prohibited drugs, cannabis, narcotics, and chemicals, representing an increase of close to 30% from 2022.

The CBSA dedicates significant efforts to planning and preparing for peak periods, including long weekends and summer months. CBSA monitors traveller volumes and plan to minimize border wait times at land ports of entry and at international airports, without compromising safety and security.

Here are some tips to help you plan for your trip:

  • Plan ahead, expect delays and check border wait times. Travellers crossing the border by land are encouraged to cross during non-peak hours such as early mornings. The Monday of a holiday long weekend tends to be the busiest, with longer border wait times.
  • Looking for a port of entry’s hours of operation? Always best to check the official CBSA Directory of Offices and Services. If you are using a GPS application (such as Google Maps, Apple Maps or Waze) to direct you to a port of entry, consider checking different navigation options (such as fastest and shortest routes) to determine the preferred route of travel. In many instances, there are alternative ports of entry within close proximity.
  • Have your travel documents handy. Whether travelling by land, air or water, you can help speed up processing times by always coming prepared with your travel documents.
  • Save time with Advance DeclarationYou can make your customs and immigration declaration up to 72 hours in advance of your arrival into Canada at the TorontoVancouverMontrealWinnipegHalifax, Québec City, OttawaBilly BishopCalgary, and Edmonton international airports. Data shows that using this tool can reduce time at a kiosk or eGate by up to 50%.
  • 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. Returning residents who make purchases or pick up online purchases across the border should be aware of their personal exemption limits, including alcohol and tobacco. You are encouraged to use the CBSA duty and taxes estimator to help calculate your monies owed on goods purchased abroad.
  • Cannabis: Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out. Bringing cannabis across the border in any form, including oils containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), without a permit or exemption authorized by Health Canada is a serious criminal offence subject to arrest and prosecution, despite the legalization of cannabis in Canada. A medical prescription from a doctor does not count as Health Canada authorization.
  • Be prepared to declare. All travellers must declare their goods upon entry into Canada. For returning residents, have your receipts readily available for goods purchased or received while outside of Canada. Travellers should be aware of everything that is inside their vehicle and are responsible for its contents. You are encouraged not to travel with firearms, but if you choose to do so, be sure to check the rules on importing firearms and other restricted and prohibited goods, which includes pepper spray and certain knives.
  • Boaters planning to travel in or near Canadian waters, or enter Canada by boat should review Reporting requirements for private boaters before making travel plans. All travellers entering Canada by boat must report to the CBSA without delay.
  • Bringing fireworks into CanadaConsult Importing, exporting and transporting fireworks to ensure that the ones you are bringing in are authorized.
  • Declare any food, plant, and animal productsConsult the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website before bringing any food, plant, and animal products into Canada.
  • Bringing poultry across the border? Poultry products must be for human consumption, retail packaged and labelled as a “Product of the USA.” Homemade food or leftovers containing poultry cannot be brought into Canada. Check the latest Information for travellers: Restrictions on poultry and birds from the United States before bringing these products across the border.
  • Travelling with medication? Make sure you understand your responsibilities.
  • Coming to Canada to go camping? Bringing firewood from outside of Canada is not permitted as invasive insects and diseases could exist in it. Help protect our forests. Buy local and burn local.

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. CBSA officers are here to help and keep everyone safe.

For more information, visit the CBSA Website or call them at 1-800-461-9999.


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