A while ago, we got an email from an American reader who wanted to know where he could clear Canada Customs in Nova Scotia. He had searched Canada Customs’ (Canada Border Services Agency—CBSA) website and couldn’t find an answer.
So, thinking he must have just missed the relevant page, I spent a long time searching through the CBSA site, only to find that he was right—there was no place where the Customs clearance ports are listed.
So, as would any civic-minded citizen of a democratic country, I wrote the CBSA:
I was asked by an American acquaintance where he could clear Canada Customs on arrival in Nova Scotia by recreational boat. I gave him the link to your site but there is no place that I could find where Customs Clearance Ports are listed.
I would suggest that a link from this page to a page containing a list of Customs Clearance Ports (with waypoints – latitudes and longitudes) would make it much easier for a visitor to figure out where to make their landfall.
We need to encourage visitors to our province and country and make it as easy for them as possible!
And what did they come back with?
All recreational boaters are required to present themselves upon their arrival in Canada as per the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. This includes all foreign boaters entering Canada, as well as private boaters who depart Canada, enter foreign waters, and subsequently return to Canada. This obligation exists regardless of their activities while outside of Canada or their planned activities while in Canada. Arrival in Canada occurs when the pleasure craft crosses the international boundary into Canadian waters.
Yup, that’s right! They came back with a boiler plate spanking! Here I wrote in saying someone wanted to clear in and do the right thing and they came back wagging their finger and telling me the rules, which I clearly indicated I already knew. Get a grip, you guys! We’re Canadians—we’re supposed to be nice!
[Edit 10:45 ADT: Thanks to Viv who pointed out that there is in fact a list of clearance ports. Not sure how we missed it, but the real point is that two people were not able to find it easily and when queried the head office of CBSA were singularly unhelpful.]
John will soon be writing on the disasters the law, through CBSA, is inflicting on both foreign sailors and local boatyards here in Nova Scotia.
By the way, the CBSA officers on the front lines who have cleared us into Canada scores of times when we were arriving by boat, car and plane, have, with one exception, always been polite, professional and nice.