Rules for Taking Medication Across the Canadian Border

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Do not attempt to bring bulk medications for personal use into Canada.
Do not attempt to bring bulk medications for personal use into Canada. (Image: medicine image by Joyce Wilkes from Fotolia.com)

Crossing the border to Canada can be problematic if you do not take the proper precautions regarding the types and quantities of medications or any other regulated substances that you have with you. Do not assume that a medicine for which you do not need a prescription in the United States also does not need one in Canada. Familiarize yourself with the regulations before attempting to cross the border with your medications (see Resources).

Medication Must Be Permissable

According to Health Canada, as of 2011, visitors to Canada can bring a single course of treatment or a 90-day supply based on the directions for use, whichever is less, of a health product. Visitors must bring the medication on their person. The medication must be for their own personal use, or for another person or animal in their care with whom they are traveling. Health Canada states that it will take actions to prevent the importation of health products that are "known to pose a risk to health or for which enforcement actions have been taken domestically."

Packaging Must Conform

Any medication you take into Canada must be in either hospital- or pharmacy-dispensed packaging, in the original retail packaging or have the original label affixed to it indicating the medication's name and contents.

Additional Medications May Be Acquired

If your stay in Canada exceeds the supply of medication imported at the time of your arrival, you may import an additional single unit, single course of treatment or a 90-day supply of the medicine, whichever is less, according to Health Canada. If the medication is mailed to you, it must be accompanied by documentation indicating that it is destined to a visitor in the country. Be prepared to provide documentation or written evidence, such as a stamped passport or letter from an employer or university, that you are a visitor to Canada.

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