CBSA’s travel tips for the BC Day long weekend

THE Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) advises travellers to prepare for a busy BC Day long weekend at the border.

The CBSA anticipates higher than normal traffic volumes; therefore, here are a few things you can do to make your cross-border trip a little easier: 

·         Plan ahead: Please check border wait times on the CBSA website before leaving for your trip to pick the best route. It will be busy at the border this weekend. 

·         Be prepared: Have your travel documents, proper identification for all persons in the vehicle, and receipts from purchases outside of Canada ready to present to the border services officer. Be ready to declare all goods purchased and/or received while outside the country. 

·         Know your exemption limits: If you plan to make purchases or pick up online purchases across the border, be aware of your exemption limits. Be sure to check the CBSA duty and taxes estimator to calculate taxes on goods purchased in the United States and to help you make informed decisions when shopping abroad. 

·         New surtaxes – Certain goods originating from the U.S. are subject to a surtax that apply to commercial shipments as well as goods being imported by travellers above their personal exemptions. The list of goods is available on the Department of Finance website. 

·         Cannabis. Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out. – Despite the fact that cannabis (marijuana) will become legal and regulated in Canada in the near future, it will remain illegal to take cannabis across Canada’s national borders, whether you are entering or leaving Canada. For more information, consult cannabis (marijuana) legalization. 

·         Travelling with children: Border services officers watch for missing children, and may ask detailed questions about any minors travelling with you. For more information on requirements when travelling with children, please consult the travel tips section on the CBSA website or visit 

·         Ask the CBSA officer: The single best thing you can do is simply to be open and honest with the CBSA officer. If you are not sure about what to declare, don’t hesitate to ask. The officers are there to help you. 

To expedite the border clearance process, apply to become a NEXUS member. For information on the NEXUS enrollment process and hours of operation, please visit the CBSA website. 

The Douglas port of entry (POE) is the busiest land border crossing in British Columbia. Travellers are strongly encouraged to use alternate POEs that are easily accessible and may have shorter wait times. Lower Mainland POEs include:  

·         Pacific HighwayOne kilometre east of Douglas POE – take exit 275 off Interstate Five.

·         Aldergrove: 20 kilometres east (approximately 20 minutes) of Douglas POE – turn east on H Street Road in Blaine, WA.

·         Abbotsford-Huntingdon: 41 kilometres east (approximately 40 minutes) of Douglas POE – turn east on H street in Blaine, south on WA-539, east on WA-546 and north on WA-9. 

To avoid delays, travellers should also ensure they check border wait times. Here are ways to find out border wait times: 

·         Download the CanBorder app (CBSA’s free border wait time app);

·         Visit the CBSA website for border wait times;

·         As you approach Canada, pay attention to Washington Department of Transportation signage as it lists border crossings and estimated wait times; and

·         The Government of British Columbia also has a page that lists border wait times.


Quick Facts:

·         Last year, approximately 87,198 vehicles entered Canada through the five Lower Mainland border crossings during the BC Day long weekend (August 4-7, 2017). 

·         The busiest crossings were the Douglas and Pacific Highway POEs, which processed approximately 30, 294 and 25,395 vehicles, respectively.


For more information, visit the travel tips section on the CBSA website or contact Border Information Service.