nexussmOn July 19, 2016, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) issued a Notice to NEXUS Member (sent by email) in which indicated that they were consulting on proposed changes and clarifications to the NEXUS Regulations.  Hidden in the Notice is some useful information about new bases for confiscation of NEXUS passes.  New NEXUS Program rules will be codified in the Presentation of Persons (2003) Regulations. It is important to note that the new rules will be applied as of July 19, 2016 and the CBSA does not intend to wait until the amendments to the Presentation of Persons (2003) Regulations are promulgated.  In other word, the new rules are now in effect administratively.

In particular, NEXUS Cardholders CANNOT/ARE NOT PERMITTED TO use the NEXUS lane in the following circumstances:

  1. When the NEXUS Member has in his/her possession commercial goods (exceptions to be provided at a later date);
  2. When the NEXUS member has in his/her possession any goods that are controlled, restricted, prohibited and/or require additional documents/permits to be seen by an officer on importation (excluding pets when accompanied by proper paperwork); and
  3. When the NEXUS Member has in his/her possession more than $10,000 in Canadian currency, monetary instruments, or equivalent (even if it is properly declared).

The CBSA also does not permit a NEXUS Member to use the NEXUS lane when anyone in the vehicle does not have a valid NEXUS Membership.  This includes a person with a valid U.S. GOES/Global Entry membership, which is different than NEXUS.

With respect to “commercial goods”, this term is defined in the Accounting for Goods and Payment of Duties Regulations to mean “goods imported into Canada for sale or for any commercial, industrial, occupational, institutional or other like use”.  The term “casual goods” is defined to mean “goods that are not commercial goods”.  Technically, all goods used in a business, including your office laptop, office cell phone, briefcase, etc. are commercial goods.  Any promotional materials or samples are considered to be commercial goods.  Any goods to be sold by a business are considered to be commercial goods.  Even goods that are used by a service provider are considered to be commercial goods.  For example, a doctor who travels with a medical bag or a stethoscope would have commercial goods.

With respect to “controlled, restricted or prohibited goods” or goods that require “additional paperwork”, this is a broad category.  If you are travelling with any food, additional paperwork may be required and you would not be entitled to use the NEXUS lane.  If you are traveling with alcohol or tobacco that exceeds personal exemption limits, there could be additional paperwork.  If you must pay duties and taxes because you exceed your personal exemption limit, the CBSA completes a Casual Goods Accounting Document, which is additional paperwork.  If you are importing a purchased vehicle, there is additional paperwork.  It is impossible for Canadians to know all the CBSA forms and when additional paperwork is required.  There needs to be further clarification on when the NEXUS lane may be used and when the NEXUS lane may not be used.  The “additional paperwork” restriction essentially guts the NEXUS membership and places too high of a burden on travelers to know CBSA procedures.

Many prescription medications are restricted and technically you cannot use the NEXUS lane.  If you have any good that requires an import permit or that is on the Import Control List, you cannot use the NEXUS lane.  If you have any form of weapon, you cannot use the NEXUS lane.  More clarification is needed as to which restricted and controlled goods result in the NEXUS lane being off-limits. Canadian travelers cannot know the rules unless they are clearly stated in writing.

With respect to having more than $CDN 10,000, this is a new requirement and will catch many people off guard.  Persons who import $CDN 10,000 in currency or financial instruments must complete additional paperwork (the E677 Form).  For this reason, they are not allowed to use the NEXUS lane even though the automated NEXUS kiosk asks questions about currency.

The new rules mean NEXUS Members should not use the NEXUS lane until clarifications are provided.  There is a serious risk that your NEXUS pass will be revoked.  This is no longer a trusted traveler program. The new rules turn the NEXUS Program into an expedited processing program and you can only be processed on an expedited basis if you did not acquire goods outside Canada that exceed your personal exemption limit, do not have alcohol or tobacco, do not have agricultural products, do not have currency or monetary instruments exceeding $CDN 10,000 and do not require any additional paperwork to be completed by the CBSA.  When in doubt, use the slow lane.

For more information, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or at