ARCHIVED - The Harper Government Announced New Measures to Benefit Canadian Consumers

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June 1, 2012

Toronto - The Harper Government today announced that increased personal exemption limits for Canadian consumers are now in effect. The new limits, announced in Economic Action Plan 2012, will benefit Canadians by streamlining the processing of Canadian consumers returning to Canada. The Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, made the announcement today at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

“Our Government understands how important an efficient border is to Canadians and our economy. Every year, Canadians take some 30 million overnight trips outside of Canada,” said Minister Oliver. “This measure will expedite customs clearance for returning Canadian consumers, making cross-border business and personal travel more convenient for Canadians. This change is long overdue.”

Effective today, residents returning to Canada after being out of the country for at least 24 hours will be exempt from paying duties and taxes on up to $200 of goods purchased abroad. The exemption limit for those returning after at least 48 hours abroad is now $800. These new limits are now harmonized with those in the United States. 

There continues to be no duty and tax exemptions for out-of-country trips of less than 24 hours. Volume and quantity limits on alcohol and tobacco products also remain unchanged.

“The Consumers’ Association of Canada welcomes the changes to the travellers’ exemptions introduced by the Government of Canada. These exemptions have not been reviewed or adjusted in many years, affecting Canadian travellers and families returning from vacation. By bringing the exemptions in line with those in the United States, the Government is taking a positive step to support Canadian consumers who are outside of Canada for at least 24 hours,” said Bruce Cran, President of the Consumers’ Association of Canada.

Whether you are returning home or visiting, an informed and prepared traveller crosses the border with fewer delays. For more information specific to personal exemptions, consult the Questions and Answers: Personal Exemptions webpage on the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website. For general tips to help you make the most of your travels, visit the CBSA website at and select Travel Tips.

Media may contact: 

Mary Ann Dewey-Plante
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

Jack Aubry
Media Relations
Department of Finance

Canada Border Services Agency
Media Line