Pax Global Media
With March Break right around the corner, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is reminding travellers of what to expect if they choose to cross the border.
The annual break, happening this year from March 13-17, typically sees a sharp increase in traveller volumes and the agency is reminding people to plan accordingly.
The CBSA, on Wednesday (March 1), shared the following tips:
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 CBSA Declaration. Travellers arriving at the Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Billy Bishop and Calgary international airports can make their customs and immigration declaration to the CBSA prior to their arrival using the Advance CBSA Declaration feature in ArriveCAN. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Avoid importing raw poultry products or by-products. There are currently restrictions on imports of live birds, bird products and by-products from U.S. states affected by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. It is not recommended to bring poultry products into Canada. Otherwise, be prepared to prove the origin of your poultry product at the border.
If you are travelling with a pet or want to import an animal into Canada, you will need the right paperwork at the border to meet Canada's import requirements.
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,” the agency says. “If you are not sure about what to declare, don't hesitate to ask. Our officers are here to help!”
The advice comes on the heels of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which operates Toronto Pearson airport (YYZ), announcing a plan to limit the number of flights arriving or departing during peak times at YYZ ahead of March Break and this summer’s travel season.
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