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Brochure - Be Aware and Declare!

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Every traveller entering Canada plays a key role in protecting Canadians, animals and plants from foreign diseases, viruses and pests.

PROTECTING our Plants and Animals at the Border

What are the risks to Canada?

Food, plants, animals and related products from other countries can introduce diseases, pests, viruses and micro-organisms that threaten Canadian animals, plants and natural habitats.

For example, seemingly harmless products such as wood carvings or fruits may carry insects capable of causing significant damage to Canada’s forests. Similarly, feathers, meats and other animal products could spread avian influenza (“bird flu”) or other animal diseases. In addition to affecting Canadian agriculture, many animal diseases may harm human health and food safety.

Because of these risks, there are restrictions limiting the types of products that travellers can bring into Canada. All food, plants, animals and related products must be declared at Canadian points of entry.

The Traveller’s Role

Before Leaving Canada

  • Be informed about what products you can bring back from the country you will be visiting.
  • Request an Import Permit if you would like to bring restricted items back into Canada.

When Returning to Canada

  • Declare all food, plants, animals and related products.
  • Avoid contact with farmed animals (including poultry), zoo animals or wildlife for five days after you return if you were exposed to similar animals while you were abroad.
  • Do not visit Canadian farms for 14 days if you visited a farm or had contact with wild birds while abroad. Be sure the footwear you wore to the farm or when you had contact with wild birds is disinfected and your clothing is washed thoroughly and dried at a high temperature. Complete the appropriate areas of your Customs Declaration Card regarding farm visits.

Declaring is the Law

Travellers are required by law to declare all food, plants, animals and related products when entering Canada. Specially trained detector dogs and a variety of other tools are present at Canadian points of entry to detect specific products. Failure to declare could lead to:

  • Confiscation of products
  • Fines of up to $400 per undeclared item
  • Prosecution

What products can you bring into Canada?

The worldwide situation is constantly changing. Before travelling, it is your responsibility to find out about the most current restrictions.

If you are unsure about an item, it is better to declare it or ask a Border Services Officer to be certain that what you are bringing into Canada is allowed. Some airports also have prohibited product bins available before you reach Canadian customs where you can throw away restricted items without penalty.

items commonly carried by travellers must be declared:[D]

For a complete list of product restrictions and instructions on applying for import permits, visit www.BeAware.gc.ca or call 1 800 O-Canada (1 800 622-6232) / TTY: 1 800 926-9105.

To order Be Aware and Declare! publications, please contact 1-800 O-Canada

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