When you return to Canada from abroad, you may qualify for a personal exemption. Personal exemptions allow you to bring goods of a certain value into the country without paying duties. Except for restricted items, you can bring back any amount of goods, as long as you are willing to pay the duties and any provincial or territorial assessments that apply. This rule applies even if you do not qualify for any kind of personal exemption. To find out whether or not the goods you are bringing back exceed your personal exemption, make sure to convert all foreign currency amounts into Canadian dollars at the appropriate rate of exchange.
You are eligible for a personal exemption if you are one of the following:
a Canadian resident returning from a trip outside Canada;
a former resident of Canada returning to live in this country; or
a temporary resident of Canada returning from a trip outside Canada.
Young children and infants are entitled to a personal exemption. As a parent or guardian, you can make the customs declaration for the child, as long as the goods you are declaring are for the child’s use. Note: you cannot combine your personal exemptions with another person’s or transfer them to someone else.
If you are returning to Canada by commercial aircraft, you will receive a traveller declaration card to complete before you arrive. This will help speed up the customs process. Children and people with disabilities can have family members or fellow passengers complete their cards for them. These cards are also used at some locations for travellers arriving by rail, vessel, or bus. If you have any questions about the card or Canadian regulations, please ask the customs officer when you arrive. If you are arriving in Canada in a private vehicle such as automobile, an aircraft, or (in some cases) a bus, you can make an oral declaration unless you are claiming the $750 exemption.
The information above was provided from the Canada Border Services Agency. publication entitled “I Declare”, available at various customs points in Canada, or from Canada Customs directly, click here. Contact the regional office nearest you for more information toll free at 1.800.461.9999.