Federal Appeal

Customs and Excise

Traveller did not have documentation that justified importation of fried chicken

On entering Canada via air from El Salvador, traveller completed Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) declaration card on which he indicated he was not importing food, plant, animal or plant products into country. Upon secondary inspection, $18 worth of fried chicken was found in traveller’s luggage. Traveller received $800 penalty with option of reducing it to $400 by paying within 15 days. At hearing before Canadian Agricultural Review Tribunal, traveller admitted he owned luggage, but denied knowing about chicken. Traveller claimed his mother packed it without his knowledge. Parties agreed CBSA officer was not satisfied on reasonable grounds that chicken was processed in way that would prevent disease from coming into Canada and that no exemptions from Part IV of Health of Animals Regulations (Can.), assisted traveller. However, tribunal found that since traveller had not been given opportunity to justify importation of chicken after it had been discovered, he was not liable for penalty. CBSA brought application for judicial review of tribunal’s decision. Application granted. Clear intention of Parliament in Regulations was to provide for absolute liability regime for violations. Traveller did not have documentation that justified importation of chicken pursuant to exemptions in Part IV of Regulations. Therefore, decision by tribunal that traveller was to have been provided with reasonable opportunity to justify his importation of animal products beyond provisions of Part IV after they were discovered was error of law. Matter was remitted to tribunal for fresh determination.

Canada (Border Services Agency) v. Castillo (Nov. 20, 2013, F.C.A., K. Sharlow J.A., Robert M. Mainville J.A., and David G. Near J.A., File No. A-55-13) 235 A.C.W.S. (3d) 696.

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