June 21, 2024

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Canadian border services give tips on holiday weekend travel

4 min read

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) – Two very important holiday weekends are coming up and that means cross-border travel.

The Canada Border Services Agency recently sent out tips on what travelers can expect when crossing the border over the upcoming Victoria Day and the U.S. Memorial Day long weekends.

The agency is making significant efforts in planning and preparing for peak periods. This includes the long weekends and summer months. The CBSA monitors traveler volumes and plans to minimize wait times at land ports of entry and at international airports, without compromising safety and security.

Here are some tips about cross-border travel:

  • Plan ahead, expect delays and check border wait times. Travelers 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 the longest 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 using a GPS application (such as Google Maps, Apple Maps or Waze) it will direct a person 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 traveling by land, air or water, a person can help speed up processing times by always coming prepared with their travel documents.
  • Save time with Advance DeclarationPeople can make customs and immigration declaration up to 72 hours in advance of arrival into Canada at the Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Billy Bishop, Calgary, 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 the 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. People are encouraged to use the CBSA duty and taxes estimator to help calculate monies owed on goods purchased abroad.
  • Don’t bring Cannabis in or 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 travelers must declare their goods upon entry into Canada. For returning residents, have receipts readily available for goods purchased or received while outside of Canada. Travelers should be aware of everything that is inside their vehicle and are responsible for its contents. People are encouraged not to travel with firearms, but if one chooses 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 Canada? Consult Importing, exporting and transporting fireworks to ensure that the ones are being brought in are authorized.
  • Declare any food, plants, or animalsConsult 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? People are asked to make sure they understand 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.

According to the CBSA, the agency welcomed over 86M travllers and intercepted more than 72,200 kg of prohibited drugs, cannabis, narcotics, and chemicals in 2023. This was an increase of close to 30-percent from 2022.

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