Monday,  January 30, 2023  6:51 pm

CBSA updates dog transportation policy

CBSA updates dog transportation policy
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch:

WestJet has issued a special statement regarding changes in the way that the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) handles dogs arriving in Canada.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know if you're flying with your pets

Currently, all dogs classified as commercial imports (dogs for sale, rescue and adoption, breeding, show or exhibition) must be shipped as cargo and upon arrival into Canada be received at the CBSA’s Commercial Operations District (cargo) for inspection. 

They may not be shipped as a pet in the baggage hold or in the cabin. If the dog is younger than eight months, an import permit is also required.

This requirement affects anyone travelling into Canada with dogs destined for animal welfare organizations or adoption by someone else. Dogs can still continue to be rescued – with the proper documentation and respecting any heat embargos – but must be sent as cargo as per CBSA.

Any travellers falsely claiming that an animal belongs to them may be subject to fines being issued and delays when passing through customs in Canada. Additionally, there is also a serious risk of the dog being sent back to its origin.

The CBSA's current policy on dogs

The Canada Border Services Agency currently has several policies in place that should be noted by travellers wishing to travel with a dog that falls under the classification of a "commercial import."

Travellers must be sure they understand the difference between a service dog, an assistive service dog, and a commercial import.

An assistive service dog is exempted from all import requirements if:

  • it is accompanied by the person to whom the dog is assigned and
  • documentation is presented to support that the animal is certified as a service animal by a recognized organization

Your assigned assistive service dog is considered a commercial import if:

  • it is travelling with another person or
  • it is in special “training status”

The CBSA currently says that dogs under eight months of age imported under the commercial category (dogs for retail sale, breeding purposes, show or exhibition, scientific research, dogs in 'special training status', and dogs destined for adoption and/or animal welfare organization) must be identified by an electronic microchip, and do require a permit.

To determine if your dog falls under an assistive “service dog”, a “personal” or “commercial” import, refer to Importing or Travelling with Domestic Dogs.

WestJet's policy on dogs

WestJet says that the CBSA policy on commercial dogs is not indicative of WestJet's own policy on travelling with dogs, but the airline must comply with it.

WestJet currently has the following policy in affect for travelling with dogs:

  • Pets are not permitted on flights operated by WestJet’s code-share and interline partners. WestJet is also unable to accept pets on flights booked through one of its partners.
  • Pets that are younger than eight weeks old will not be accepted for transport.
  • Your pet always has to be stored in its container under the seat ; if you take him/her out for some mid-air pets, you could be banned from travelling on WestJet ever again!
  • Unaccompanied minors can’t travel with pets
  • Pets younger than eight weeks will not be accepted

Select destinations that WestJet flies to do not allow pets in the cabin or the checked cargo department.

Dogs and cats are not accepted on flights to, from or through Barbados, Hawaii, Ireland, Jamaica or the United Kingdom in carry-on or checked kennel.

At this time, WestJet also states that it’s not accepting any checked pets on the new 787 Dreamliner, but this could change once animal safety assets have been completed.

For travellers wishing to bring their pet in the cabin, the following fees apply:

  • Travel within/between Canada and the U.S. ($50 - $59 CAD/USD)
  • Travel between Canada/U.S. and all destinations outside the U.S. ($100 - $118 CAD/USD)

For travellers wishing to check their pet, the following fees apply:

  • Travel within/between Canada and the U.S. ($100 – $118 CAD/USD)
  • Travel between Canada/U.S. and all destinations outside the U.S. ($200 - $236 CAD/USD)

It’s also worth mentioning that not all hotels booked under a WestJet Vacations package will accept pets, so if you plan on bringing your pet on vacation, it’s a good idea to call the hotel first.

For more information, click here

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