Items Permitted and Prohibited at the Canadian Border

Find out which items are and aren't allowed into Canada

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If you plan on driving across the border from the United States into Canada, it's important to know which items you are prohibited from transporting and which items are allowed. Before your next visit to Canada, make sure to check with the Canada Border Services Agency for a comprehensive and up-to-date list of items you can and can't bring with you on your family vacation.

Although the punishment for attempting to bring illegal goods across the border are typically rather limited, you can be turned away from crossing into Canada by the Border Service Agency if the offending items are not removed from your vehicle and left in the United States.

Popular yet contentious items that aren't allowed into Canada include fresh produce and even certain types of pet foods, firewood, and most forms of firearm and self-defense while items that are strangely allowed include up to 200 cigarettes but only up to 40 ounces of liquor. Read on to discover more about the current guidelines for crossing the border.

Items That Are Permitted From Entering Canada

Food, alcohol, tobacco, and pets are the four major types of items that may cause travelers some confusion when deciding whether or not they're allowed when crossing the border into our northern neighbor.

Canned potatoes, a few eggs, and dried and packaged food of all varieties are allowed when crossing the border but keep in mind fresh, unpackaged fruit is not permitted. However, you can cross the border with up to 11 pounds of fresh beef per person in the vehicle, so if you have friends in Canada who wants some Grade-A American Beef, you can load up the car and head on up.

In terms of traveling with alcoholic beverages, you can only bring one of the following: one and a half liters of wine, 24 12-ounce cans or bottles of beer, or 40 ounces of liquor. For tobacco, you can either bring 200 cigarettes (10 packs) or 50 cigars—including Cuban cigars, which are not banned in Canada like they are in the States.

You're in luck if you're traveling with a four-legged friend, too. Bringing your dogs and cats to Canada is perfectly fine as long as they are accompanied by a veterinarian-signed document that indicates the animal's breed and physical description as well as proof they are up-to-date with their rabies shots.

Items That Are Prohibited From Entering Canada

Punishment for trying to bring illegal substances across the border is mainly limited to throwing out the contraband or turning visitors away, but this can be a major inconvenience for travelers, so make sure you are aware of the following food, firearms, and other miscellaneous items that are not currently permitted into Canada.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, including bananas and banana peels, as well as dog or cat food containing beef or lamb byproducts, are prohibited at the Canadian border. Agents will likely simply throw these items out if they are discovered. The main reason these items are prohibited is that Canadian farmers fear cross-contamination and bug infestations from species potentially brought in from the United States.

Almost all major forms of self-defense and firearms are prohibited at the Canadian border including but not limited to handguns, automatic weapons, stun guns, mace, and pepper spray; firewood, live bait, and radar detectors are also banned.