An officer with the Canada Border Services Agency will ask you questions about items that you have declared, such as the country of origin or intended use of the product. Items may also be subject to inspection.
You will be able to keep items that are allowed into the country. If the item cannot be brought into Canada, it may be seized and disposed of or ordered removed from Canada.
Some items may have to be treated before they are allowed into the country. All costs related to disposal, quarantine or treatment would be your responsibility. It is therefore important to check the rules for approved, regulated or prohibited products before you leave Canada.
If the item is prohibited, it will be seized and destroyed or returned to the country of origin at your expense. If it meets import requirements, the item will be returned to you.
If you don't think that your items should have been seized, you can request to speak to a supervisor or a manager to verify the decision, either at the time of the seizure or after the fact.
You must declare all food, plants, animals and related products on your customs declaration form.
They are bins where travellers can drop any prohibited food, plant, and animal commodities for disposal—without penalty.
Under the National Animal Health Program, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency establishes requirements for all animals and animal products entering Canada, including domestic pets.
Information on the import requirements for animals and animal products can also be found using the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) website.
Invasive pests that are not visible to the naked eye could accidentally hitchhike in items you bring back from other countries. They could then be introduced or spread throughout Canada. These invasive alien species could be harmful to Canada's environment and agricultural industry.
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 travellers have further questions, they should contact the CBSA BIS line.
In addition, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) sets controls on the international trade and movement of animal and plant species that have been, or may be, threatened due to excessive commercial exploitation.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) offers information for businesses that import commercial goods into Canada.
In addition, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has three regional import service centres (ISC):
Import service centres process import request documentation/data sent electronically or by fax by importers across Canada. Staff review the information and return the decision:
More information on the import requirements for animals and animal products can also be found on the CFIA website and the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) website.
Consult the I Declare pamphlet. This pamphlet is an overview of the laws, restrictions, entitlements, rights, and obligations of Canadian residents returning from travel outside Canada.
There are a variety of conditions under which firearms and weapons may or may not be imported. For more information please consult the document Importing a Firearm or Weapon into Canada.
It is the responsibility of the importer to ensure the import requirements for food, plant and animal products are met. Items that are couriered may be subject to inspection and could be seized if they are not allowed into Canada. The CBSA Postal, Courier and Casual Refund Program covers the operations of three different national programs:
Some products are prohibited in Canada and subject to being detained at the
Canadian border. Others may need to meet Canadian safety requirements to be
allowed into Canada. Many of these safety requirements are stricter in Canada
than in other countries.
More information and a partial list of products that may be subject to
being detained at the Canadian border.