If you've ever been stopped at customs because you had an apple or banana to snack on, then you know very well that some things in your carry-on just aren't meant to cross borders. There's a whole slew of items listed on the Canada Border Service Agency website—ranging from consumable goods to items that could be used as weapons—that travelers are not permitted to bring to the Great White North. Getting caught with any of these items could result in travel delays and potentially serious fines.
Items You Can Bring Into Canada
While you can travel with packaged snacks and even alcohol and tobacco products, you must declare these items at Canadian customs. If a certain food item is declared unsafe, it will be confiscated.
- Food: Dried and packaged food (anything packaged or canned from a grocery store, basically) and cooked food (such as bread, cookies, and sandwiches).
- Alcohol: 1.5 liters (two 750-milliliter bottles) of wine or 8.5 liters (approximately 24 cans or bottles) of beer or 40 ounces (one large standard bottle) of liquor.
- Tobacco: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars. Cuban cigars are not banned in Canada as they are in the U.S.
- Pets: To bring your dog or cat to Canada, you must have a signed, dated certificate from your veterinarian stating that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies within the last three years. If your dog or cat is less than three months old, you do not need a certificate of rabies vaccination.
Items You Cannot Bring Into Canada
Some people think because cannabis products are legal in both Washington and Canada that you can travel with them, but that would be a grave mistake. Some things are just not supposed to cross the border.
- Food: Fresh fruits and vegetables and animal and fish products.
- Live bait: Don't bring minnows, leeches, smelts, or leeches on your fishing trips. Night crawlers are permitted but must be contained with artificial tissue bedding (no soil).
- Weapons: Guns and firearms, ammunition, fireworks, and mace and pepper spray are not allowed. If you are bringing a firearm into Canada for an official hunting or sporting event, then you must report your firearms to customs at the border. You'll have to complete a non-resident firearms declaration form and speak to a border official.
- Cannabis: Even if you have a prescription for medical cannabis (from the U.S., Canada, or another country), you cannot bring marijuana into Canada. And even though marijuana is legal in Washington state (across the border from Vancouver) and across all of Canada (since October 17, 2018), you cannot bring cannabis from Washington into Canada. Even CBD oil and other cannabis products are not allowed.
- Illegal drugs: It might go without saying, but you absolutely may not bring any illegal drugs across the border into Canada.