COVID – 19 : CBSA reminds recreational boaters that now is not the time to be crossing the border for discretionary reasons

News release

June 5, 2020      Ottawa, Ontario                   

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reminds all boaters that crossing the border for recreation or tourism is currently prohibited.

The Government of Canada has introduced border measures to limit the spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Canada, including the restriction of all discretionary travel into Canada.

With the onset of warmer weather, boat and pleasure craft owners may be inclined to take their boats across the border on inland or coastal waterways, or to come to their cottages in Canada. These activities are considered discretionary (non-essential) travel according to temporary travel restrictions currently in place, and are, therefore, prohibited. Boaters are still permitted to navigate across international waters if needed, but are not allowed to enter Canadian territorial or boundary waters for discretionary, leisure (non-essential) reasons, including entry for touring, sightseeing and pleasure fishing.

Boaters who enter Canada without reporting to the CBSA (including for the purpose of refuelling) may face severe penalties, including monetary penalties, seizure of their vessels and/or criminal charges. The minimum fine for failing to report to the CBSA upon entry to Canada is $1,000. Furthermore, non-compliance by foreign nationals may affect their immigration admissibility and ability to re-enter Canada in the future.

In addition, failure to comply with the current border entry restrictions is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines. Further, a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening this act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment of up to 3 years or both.

The CBSA and its law enforcement partners are actively monitoring Canadian waterways and will address any identified discretionary cross-border activities.

The CBSA remains committed to ensuring that Indigenous people continue to be able to move within and between their communities, and are able to provide and access essential goods and services.

Quick Facts

For information on crossing the border, the CBSA has an information line in place: 1-800-461-9999.

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