Why Was I Stopped at The Border When Returning to Canada?

At Argo Customs, our job is to help you move goods through the Canadian border with a minimum of hassle.  We make sure your shipments arrive safely, even during times of crisis like the continuing COVID-19 outbreak.

However, just about anyone crossing the border might be stopped by the Canadian border police – not just people transporting goods.  So, in this article, we wanted to briefly talk about some of the various reasons anyone might have to stop for an inspection, and what that inspection entails.

Common Reasons People Returning to Canada Might Be Stopped at The Border

  1. Random inspection

Some stops are truly random, and there’s nothing you could have done to prevent them.  The border patrol will periodically stop a vehicle just to make sure everything is in order.

  1. Looking for goods in the vehicle

If you declare any goods when crossing the border, there’s always a chance you’ll be stopped to verify your declaration was accurate.  This would involve showing the goods declared, and possibly undergoing a vehicle search.

  1. Reporting large amounts of money

If you’re declaring more than CA$10,000 in cash or equivalent monetary instruments (like bonds or cashier’s cheques) you can probably expect to be stopped for a discussion of why.

  1. Verification of paperwork

Even if you’re a legal citizen of Canada, you may still be asked to stop so that your paperwork can be examined more closely, before you’re allowed to enter.

  1. Paying duties or taxes

If you are carrying taxable goods into the country, you’ll be asked to pay.  Be prepared with a means of payment if you know this is likely to happen.

What happens if you’re stopped for an inspection or questioning?

If you are stopped for questioning, the best thing to do is remain calm, and politely answer the questions as briefly and truthfully as you can.  Some things which may be discussed include:

  • Your activities while outside the country
  • Proof of guardianship of any children traveling with you
  • Verifying payment of any taxes or duties
  • Inspection of pets or other animals for signs of infection
  • Proofs for purchases made outside the country, particularly high-value purchases.  (Keep your receipts!)
  • Counting/verifying declared money being brought into the country
  • Running background or criminal checks

For most people, these processes will only be a brief inconvenience.  However, if you’re moving goods into Canada, it’s much better to work with a broker to avoid these hassles!  Contact Argo Customs to learn more.