Before you start packing your bags for your trip to Nova Scotia, there are a number of things to keep in mind when it comes to Canada’s customs regulations and duty rates.
Bringing Gifts, Alcohol & Other Goods into Canada
Can you Bring Gifts into Canada?
Gifts with a value of up to $60 Canadian (CDN) each may be brought into Canada duty free and tax free.
If you bring in gifts worth more than $60 CDN, you will be required to pay duty on the excess amount. Alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and advertising materials do not qualify as gifts.
Can you Bring Alcohol and Tobacco into Canada
You can bring in limited quantities of alcohol if you meet the minimum age requirements of the province or territory where you enter Canada. In Nova Scotia, the legal drinking age is 19. All alcohol and tobacco products must accompany you on arrival – they cannot be sent separately.
Importing Alcohol into Canada
You can import only one of the following amounts of alcohol, free of duty and taxes:
53 oz (1.56 L) of wine or 40 oz (1.18 L) of liquor, up to a total of 40 oz (1.18 L) of wine and liquor; or 24 x 12 oz (355 ml) cans or bottles of beer or ale.
Importing Tobacco into Canada
You are allowed to bring into Canada duty free: 200 cigarettes; 50 cigars or cigarillos; 7 oz (198 grams) of manufactured tobacco; or 200 tobacco sticks.
For more information on bringing in alcohol and tobacco to Canada, please visit the Canada Border Services Agency.
Traveling with Pets in Canada
All animals may be subject to veterinary inspection on arrival in Canada. You can find more information about this procedure at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website. If evidence or suspicion of disease is found, the animals may be refused entry.
U.S. Visitors – Pets
All pets must be accompanied by their owners when entering Canada. You must bring a certificate issued by a licensed American or Canadian veterinarian clearly identifying the pet and certifying that it has been vaccinated against rabies, the vaccine used and its expiry date. Kittens and puppies younger than three months are exempt from rabies certification but may still be examined by a CFIA-authorized veterinarian if they appear unhealthy. Seeing-eye dogs or other guide dogs face no restrictions as long as they accompany you.
International Visitors – Pets
Visit Canadian Food Inspection Agency for information on regulations and requirements.
Bringing Firearms into Canada
Canada has strict laws governing the cross-border movement, possession and use of firearms. However, you may bring a non-restricted firearm such as a hunting rifle or shotgun if it is being used for in-season hunting, competition purposes, in-transit movement or as protection against wildlife in remote areas of Canada. Visitors cannot, under any circumstances, bring in prohibited firearms such as handguns and weapons, including mace and pepper spray.
U.S. Visitors to Canada – Firearms
Visit the Canadian Firearms Program website for more details about the import of firearms and ammunition from the United States.
International Visitors to Canada (not US residents) - Firearms
Contact your nearest Canadian embassy or consulate for complete information. Contact information for Canadian embassies around the world can be found at the Foreign Affairs Canada website.
For more information on bringing firearms into Canada, visit the Canada Border Services Agency website.
Prohibited and Restricted Items by Canada Customs
Many agricultural items are restricted or prohibited entry to Canada. Canadian law requires that you declare all agricultural products you bring into Canada to customs officers when you arrive. Permission is required to import plants to Canada, with the exception of houseplants from the United States. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides more information.
In addition, some fruits, vegetables, honey, eggs, meats, dairy products and plants from other countries cannot be brought into Canada. For more information, please consult the Canada Border Services Agency website.
Canada Customs Duty Free Limits
US visitors - Duty-Free Limits for Returning US Residents
US residents returning to the United States after 48 hours can take back $800 US worth of merchandise, duty free, once a month. This may include 33.8 oz (1 L) of alcohol (provided the resident is 21 years or over), 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars, not of Cuban origin. If traveling as a family, you may combine personal exemptions for visits over 48 hours.
If your stay is less than 48 hours, or if the $800 US allowance or part of it has been used within the previous 30 days, an exemption of $200 is allowed, including 5 oz (147 ml) of alcohol, 4 oz (118 ml) of perfume and no more than 50 cigarettes or 10 cigars, not of Cuban origin.
If you plan to bring back items as part of an exemption, they must be for personal or household use. These articles must be carried with you and declared. Duty charged varies according to the country the article was made in and the type of article. No prohibited or restricted items are permitted across the border.
For more information on US border crossing and duty requirements and limits, visit the US Customs website.
International Visitors (not US residents) - Duty-Free Limits for all Other Visitors
International visitors outside the United States should consult with customs officials in their home countries to determine their duty-free limits.
Customs Offices in Canada
You can locate the nearest customs office by visiting Canada Border Services Agency, or calling the Border Information Service (BIS). Call toll free in Canada: English: 1-800-461-9999 or French: 1-800-959-2036. Outside Canada, for English call 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064; for French: 204-983-3700 or 506-636-5067 (long-distance charges apply).