Declaring is the Law

Be sure . . . declare everything.

Canadian law requires that you declare all food, plants and animals and related products that you bring into Canada. Failure to declare could lead to

  • confiscation of products
  • fines of up to $1300 per undeclared item
  • prosecution

Get information on a specific item

Around the world, threats related to diseases, pests, and the environment are constantly changing. These changes impact what food, plants and animals and related products are restricted and prohibited in Canada. To be sure whether you can bring a specific product into Canada, seek advice before travelling

Travellers and importers should use the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) as a first step to help determine import requirements. AIRS is an extensive database designed for commercial importers but it does include helpful import information for individuals who are familiar with product classification systems.

If you have further questions, you should contact the CBSA Border Information Service line.

Common mistakes

Many travellers fail to declare things like meat, animal hides, live birds, plants and fruit. In general, this happens because most travellers are unaware of the hazards - but the risks to Canada's food supply, economy, environment and human health are very real.

Protecting our borders

Trained detector dogs and a variety of other tools are present at Canadian points of entry. They can detect specific products. Canada Border Services Agency officers are ready to answer any questions you may have as you leave for your trip or when you return. To be sure, become aware of our import requirements before you leave the country, so you don't buy something on your trip that you will be unable to bring back into Canada.

Penalty-free confiscation

When undeclared restricted or prohibited items are found in checked luggage or carry-on bags, the penalties can be severe.

There are alternatives, however, if you find yourself in possession of restricted or prohibited goods. Many Canadian airports have disposal bins for prohibited products. You can dispose of these products before meeting with a border officer.

If you are unsure about an item, ask a border officer. If you seek clarification and then declare a restricted or prohibited item, it may be confiscated without penalty.

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