OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 21, 2011) - Black Friday, November 25 this year, kick-starts the holiday shopping season, bringing with it an expected increase in traveller volumes as Canadians cross the border in search of deals. If you cross the border, plan your travels with the following tips:

Bring the correct travel documents.

  • A valid Canadian passport, while not mandatory, is the preferred piece of identification for Canadians entering Canada and the United States. Other acceptable identification includes an enhanced driver's license, a Secure Certificate of Indian Status, a NEXUS card, or a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card when travelling by land or boat.
  • For more information about U.S. entry requirements, visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Web site at

Are you a frequent cross-border traveller? Save yourself time at the border with your NEXUS card!

Not a member? Join NEXUS to take advantage of simplified and expedited border clearance for low-risk, pre-approved members!

Declaring your goods.

As a Canadian resident, you may qualify for a personal exemption, depending on the length of time you were away. Keep all of your receipts close at hand and have the total of your combined receipts readily available. For personal exemption limits and more, visit

Avoid travelling with any valuables, but if you must…

Available at all CBSA offices is a free identification service for items that have serial numbers or other unique markings, making them identifiable for customs purposes as goods that are legally in Canada.
For more information visit

Plan ahead!

Plan your border crossing to avoid peak times and check Canada-bound border wait times at and on Twitter.

And don't forget!

Visit for more information, including entry requirements into Canada for non-Canadians, and to download a copy of I Declare, a detailed publication describing what to expect when bringing goods into Canada.


The CBSA wants to make your return to Canada easier during the holiday season

Your personal exemption limits are as follows:

  • After each absence of 24 hours or more – You can claim up to CAN$50 worth of goods without paying any duty and taxes. You must have the goods with you when you arrive in Canada, and you cannot include tobacco products or alcoholic beverages in this exemption. If the goods you bring in are worth more than CAN$50 in total, you cannot claim this exemption. Instead, you have to pay full duty and taxes on all goods you bring in.
  • After each absence of 48 hours or more – You can claim up to CAN$400 worth of goods without paying any duty and taxes. You must have the goods with you when you arrive in Canada. Although you can include some tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, a partial exemption may apply to cigarettes, tobacco products and manufactured tobacco.
  • After each absence of 7 days or more – You can claim up to CAN$750 worth of goods without paying any duty and taxes. Although you can include some tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, a partial exemption may apply to cigarettes, tobacco products and manufactured tobacco. With the exception of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, you do not need to have the goods with you when you arrive.

1. What is duty?

Duty is a tax on the import and export of specific goods, imposed to generate revenue and/or to protect Canadian industries.

2. Where does the money go?

All duties collected are submitted to the Crown.

3. What can I expect to pay duty on?

Duty rates vary depending on the commodity and country of origin. In general, there is no duty under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for goods manufactured in North America.

4. How can I pay my duties and taxes owed?

You can pay by cash, traveller's cheque, Visa, American Express or MasterCard. The CBSA also accepts debit cards at most offices. If an amount is no more than CAN$2,500, you can sometimes pay by personal cheque. A border services officer will give you a receipt showing the calculations and amount you paid.

5. What is a special duty rate?

After each trip outside Canada of 48 hours or longer, you are entitled to a special duty rate of 7% in addition to your personal exemption. The rate applies only to goods that accompany you, that do not qualify for duty-free entry under the NAFTA and that are worth up to CAN$300 more than your personal exemption of CAN$400 or CAN$750. The rate does not apply to tobacco products or alcoholic beverages. You still have to pay any goods and services tax (GST) or harmonized sales tax (HST) that applies. In some provinces, the CBSA also collects the provincial sales tax (PST).

6. What is a regular duty rate?
If you do not qualify for a personal exemption, or if you exceed your exemption limit, you will have to pay the GST/HST, as well as any duty or other tax or assessment that applies on the excess amount. Duty rates vary according to the goods you are importing and the country where the goods were made. You may also have to pay the PST if you live in a province where the CBSA has an agreement to collect the tax and you return to Canada through that province.

Some commonly imported goods and their duty rates are as follows:

  • Clothing: 16-18%
  • Toys, gaming consoles and games: duty free
  • Wheeled toys (tricycles, pedal cars): 8%
  • Footwear: 16-20%
  • Tires (vehicles): 7% (Note: only new tires are permitted entry into Canada.)
  • Tires (bicycles, motorcycles): duty free
  • Car parts: 6-8%
  • Televisions: 6%
  • Books: duty free
  • Furniture (wood, plastic, upholstered): 9.5%
  • Computers and peripherals: duty free
  • iPads and tablets: duty free
  • Digital cameras and camcorders: duty free
  • Stereos: duty free
  • Blackberries, iPhones, cell phones: duty free
  • Jewelry: 8.5%
  • Christmas decorations: duty free
  • Linens (bed and table): 17-18%
  • Linens (quilts and comforters): 14%
  • DVDs: 6%
  • Large appliances (e.g. washers, dryers, dishwashers, fridges, freezers, stoves, ranges): 8%

Note: These rates are valid as of November 21, 2011 and are subject to change.

Contact Information:

Media line

Greater Toronto Area Region:
Antonella DiGirolamo

Pacific Region:
Faith St. John

Southern Ontario Region:
Jean D'Amelio Swyer
905-933-5463 or 519-967-4330

Prairie Region:
Lisa White

Quebec Region:
Media Line

Northern Ontario Region:
Chris Kealey