Vehicles on the Ambassador Bridge on April 16, 2017 (Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News)Vehicles on the Ambassador Bridge on April 16, 2017 (Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News)

CBSA offers tips for American Thanksgiving week commuters

While shopping locally is always the better option, if you're planning to do some holiday shopping this week south of the border, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has tips for a smooth crossing.

For the first time in three years, cross-border commuters will enjoy an open border for the American Thanksgiving weekend, after the last two holiday weekends were hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the high volume of traffic expected, the CBSA has offered suggestions to make the commute as hassle-free as possible.

The border agency has suggested travelling during non-peak hours, such as the early morning or late evening. The CBSA expects longer wait times at crossings such as the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge on Thursday, due to America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit, and the football game at Ford Field between the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills.

For Black Friday, traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year, traffic may be slow at both Detroit crossings, as well as at the Blue Water Bridge to Port Huron.

Canadian residents going to the U.S. to shop or pick up online purchases should be aware of their personal exemption limits. Travellers must also be ready to declare all goods upon return to Canada. One good rule of thumb is, if you did not have it when you crossed into the U.S., you should declare it when returning home.

Cannabis products may not be brought over the border under most circumstances, including oils containing THC or CBD, except with a permit or exemption authorized by Health Canada. A prescription from a doctor does not count. Despite the legalization of cannabis across Canada and in the state of Michigan, it is a serious federal offence to bring it over the border and can result in severe criminal penalties.

If you were thinking of bringing back a Thanksgiving turkey, don't. The CBSA has restricted the importation of live birds, poultry, or by-poultry products. This includes turkeys, eggs, chickens, or similar items.

The use of the ArriveCAN app is no longer required to reenter Canada but is still available for optional use.

Complete guidelines on crossing the border can be found on the CBSA's official website.

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