Regulations for Canadians Bringing Alcohol into Canada

Customs Regulations for Canadian Residents Bringing Alcohol into Canada

500 Bottles Of Whiskey To Be Auctioned

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

There are some very specific rules and regulations about bringing duty-free alcohol back into Canada from another country. Not only will you need to be aware of the type and quantity of alcohol, but you also need to know when the alcohol was purchased during your trip.

Personal Exemptions Based on How Long You Have Been Outside the Country

  • If you’ve been gone less than 24 hours there are no personal exemptions.
  • If you’ve been gone 24 hours or more you can claim goods up to CAN$200 without paying duty and taxes. Unfortunately, alcoholic beverages are not included in this amount.
  • If you’ve been gone for 48 hours or more, you can claim goods up to CAN$800 without paying duty and taxes. Some alcoholic beverages are included in this exemption. You must have the goods with you when you enter Canada.

Returning Canadian Residents Duty-Free Allowance for Alcohol

If you are a Canadian resident or a temporary resident of Canada returning from a trip outside Canada, or a former Canadian resident returning to live in Canada, you are allowed to bring a small quantity of alcohol (wine, liquor, beer or coolers) into the country without having to pay duty or taxes as long as:

  • the alcohol accompanies you
  • you meet the minimum legal drinking age for the province or territory in which you enter Canada
  • you have been outside Canada for more than 48 hours.

You may bring in one of the following:

  • 1.5 liters (50.7 US ounces) of wine, including wine coolers over 0.5 percent alcohol, or
  • 1.14 liters (38.5 US ounces) of liquor, or
  • a total of 1.14 liters (38.5 US ounces) of wine and liquor, or
  • 24 x 355 milliliter (12 ounce) cans or bottles of beer or ale, including beer coolers over 0.5 percent alcohol (a maximum of 8.5 liters or 287.4 US ounces).

Bringing More Than the Duty-Free Allowance of Alcohol Into Canada

Except in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, returning Canadian residents may bring in more than the personal allowances of liquor listed above as long as you pay customs and province/territory assessments. The amounts you are allowed to bring into Canada are also limited by the province or territory in which you enter Canada. For details on specific amounts and rates, contact the liquor control authority for the appropriate province or territory before you come to Canada.

Shipping Alcohol When You Move Back to Canada

If you are a former Canadian resident moving back to Canada and you want to ship alcohol to Canada (the contents of your wine cellar for example), contact the liquor control authority for the appropriate province or territory to pay the provincial or territorial fees and assessments in advance. To have your shipment released when you arrive in Canada, you will need to show the receipt for the provincial or territory fees and assessments and you will also need to pay the applicable federal customs assessments.

Customs Contact Information

If you have questions or require more information on bringing alcohol into Canada, please contact the Canada Borders Services Agency.