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$500 or $2500 Fine at the Canadian/US Niagara Falls Border

Travel Forums North America $500 or $2500 Fine at the Canadian/US Niagara Falls Border

1. Posted by torontoboy (Budding Member 2 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!


A few years ago (~2006) my son and his friends were given fines crossing the border into Canada. One of them received a $500 fine, another received a $2500 fine. To this day, I don't know what it is they were caught with/doing.

The fines have led them to basically stop travelling outside of the country, as they are now "flagged" and will be delayed at every Canadian entry point for the rest of their lives.

Can anyone comment on what type of activity would lead to these fines? Alcohol? Cigarettes? Anything else? I don't even know if they were travelling by car or plane. (although likely by car through Niagara Falls customs)

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

2. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3579 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Did you ask your son what he did to incur the fine? Since you are in the dark, I am assuming he was not forthcoming about this incident. He should have a written record of this offense. Canadian officials are not going to levy a fine and not give you something to explain what you did wrong. I will guess he did not show it to you and now cannot find it.

Since you use 'torontoboy' as your user name, can I assume you live in Canada? Why not get in touch with Canadian officials and ask them what offenses can trigger a $500 & $2,500 fine at the Niagara Falls border. If the fines have been paid, your son can still travel whenever he chooses. He maybe in the computer, but more scrutiny from Immigration should not deter him from traveling.

3. Posted by CheersT (Inactive 2578 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Impossible to answer your question when you have absolutely no info regarding the situation.

Without cooperation from your son or his friends you're going to find it very difficult to investigate further.


4. Posted by torontoboy (Budding Member 2 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for your replies. I've searched the net for this type of thing but have always come up empty.

I'm sorry I didn't give more details. In both cases they returned from short stays - primarily vacationing/shopping. So I'm imagining it's undeclared goods at the border.

I guess that's what I'm asking. If you're in a car, and you cross from the US into Canada at Niagara Falls customs, what must be in your possession and undeclared to acquire these fines?

I'm thinking alcohol and cigarettes for the $500 fine, but for $2500?

Thanks again in advance.

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Dec-2010, at 19:45 by torontoboy ]

5. Posted by Peter (Admin 6249 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

From the customs site:

"If you do not declare goods, or if you falsely declare them, the CBSA can seize the goods. This means that you may lose the goods permanently or that you may have to pay a penalty to get them back. Depending on the type of goods and the circumstances involved, the CBSA may impose a penalty that ranges from 25% to 80% of the value of the seized goods.

In addition, the Customs Act provides border services officers with the authority to seize all vehicles that were used to import goods unlawfully. When this happens, the CBSA imposes a penalty that you must pay before the vehicle is returned to you."

My guess would simply be "lots of alcohol". I guess the owner of the car had the heftier fine and the other one probably had some on his person. But it's all guesswork.

I think it's up to your son if he wants to tell you exactly what happened. If not, then why the need to pursue him and the friends he's protecting?