What you can and can’t bring into Canada

If you’re planning your international moving to Canada, there will be restrictions on what you can, and can’t bring into the country.
All international removals can be complicated, but they’re made even tougher when it comes to bringing stuff into the country. Canada, works hard to welcome new people and its laws are a little less strict than elsewhere. Even so, the rules can be complicated.

The most common restrictions centre around plants, food and animals as they try to prevent the spread of disease or invasive species. As you arrive, you’ll be asked to declare all food, plants and animals you’re bringing into the country.

Some of these items are restricted and some you can’t bring in at all. Rules may also vary from Province to province and depending on where you come from. For example, it’s easier to bring pets from a place such as the UK which is free of rabies, than from elsewhere.

If you have baked goods, including candies, you can bring in up to 20KGs per person but can’t bring any which include meat. Cheese is limited to 20Kgs per person and you’re not allowed to bring in milk, or milk produced such as cream or whey.

Most fish is permitted apart from Pufferfish and Chinese Mitten crab. Any food on list of susceptible aquatic animal species may need an import license if you bring in more than a certain amount. These maximums are:
• 10 dead finfish that are not eviscerated
• 4 crustaceans with head on shell on
• 3 kilograms of molluscs

Fresh fruit and vegetables may come under severe restrictions depending on where it’s coming from and the province you’re looking to enter. Sometimes you’ll need a Plant Protection Import Permit from your country of origin. It must also be free of any soil material. Root vegetables are particularly restricted and must be 1.5cm or less in thickness.

All animals are strictly regulated. You must have travel documents for any animals you’re bringing in and there may be restrictions on some species. The importation of birds, for example, is to the control of the Canadian Wildlife Service, so you should check well in advance. Equally, exotic or rare animals listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna.

Other items
You can bring cut non-coniferous flowers into the country but these must not be for propagation. Wooden souvenirs must be free from bark and insects. Souvenirs made from sea shells can also come in as well as small quantities of sand, as long as they don’t have any living matter with them.

If you’re travelling with a baby you can bring in infant formula as long as it is commercially packaged, sterile and is only for personal use. The rules for bringing items into the country can be quite complicated, and they change all the time depending on any diseases or alerts in your country of origin. Some travellers decide to avoid the fuss and take a ‘what they don’t know won’t hurt them’ approach, while others go safety first and declare everything. However, it’s important to know what you can and can’t bring in to avoid any trouble at the airport.

For a full overview of the regulations of what can be imported into Canada please click here.

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