What not to bring back to Canada
A Canadian Customs agent. (Ernest Doroszuk/QMI Agency)
With the changing identification rules, recently there has been a lot of attention paid to what you need to travel to other countries.
However, something that is easy to forget when you're returning from your vacation is what are you allowed to bring home.
Some things are absolutely prohibited to bring into Canada such as handguns, mace and pepper spray. Also, some fruits, vegetables, meats and plants from other countries cannot be brought into Canada.
When you return to Canada, duties and taxes are applicable on all purchases unless you qualify for a personal exemption.
It is this "personal exemption" that allows you to bring goods of a certain value into the country without paying the regular duties. The important word here is "exemptions" and that reminds us that these allowances are not simply guaranteed.
If you have been outside Canada for 24 hours or more, you can bring in $50 worth of goods free of duty and tax. However, if your purchases are worth more than $50, you cannot claim this exemption. Instead you have to pay the full applicable duties and taxes on everything you brought home.
Canadians now have an allowance of $400 after a trip of 48 hours. And, if you have been outside of Canada for seven days or more, you can bring in $750 worth of goods free of duty and tax.
There are also restrictions to the amount of alcohol and tobacco you can bring into Canada under your exemption.
If you have been outside Canada for at least 48 hours and are of legal age, you can bring in the following amounts of alcohol and tobacco products as part of your personal exemption.
Alcoholic beverages: 1.14 L (40 oz.) of liquor; or 1.5 L of wine; or
24 X 355 ml (12 oz.) containers of beer.
Tobacco products (all of the following):
50 cigars or cigarillos;
200 tobacco sticks; and 200 g (7 oz.) of manufactured tobacco.
If you bring in more alcohol or tobacco, you will be required to pay the applicable duties and taxes.
Finally, if you don't qualify for a personal exemption, you can still bring back any amount of allowable goods as long as you are willing to pay the duties and any taxes that may apply.
Julia Bryan manages the communications and public relations for DeNure Tours in Lindsay, Ont.