Duty-free purchases as carry-on baggage

As of January 31, 2014, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority will accept, subject to screening, duty-free liquids, aerosols and gels purchased from any airline or airport retailer that are properly sealed in official security bags and accompanied by a receipt.

These do not count as part of your carry-on allowance.

Screening officers may open your security bag to screen its contents, then re-seal it after inspection.

You may be asked to surrender your duty-free purchases if:

  • either the bag or the product within does not pass required security screening 
  • the retailer did not use an official security bag 
  • the clerk improperly packaged your purchases at the point of sale or did not include the receipt 
  • you opened the bag yourself after making the purchase and before screening, or
  • more than 48 hours have passed since you made the purchase (official security bags are only valid for two calendar days).

Please note that duty-free liquids, aerosols and gels may be intercepted if you pass through pre-board screening at a connecting airport in another country.

If your duty-free purchases do not clear security, you can:

  • surrender them to the screening officer 
  • transfer them to your checked baggage, if possible and time permits 
  • ship them via mail, cargo or courier. Please keep in mind that shipping options vary at airports.

Transporting alcohol

You can pack bottles of alcohol (including homemade wine and beer, and commercial products) in your checked baggage if:

  • The percentage of alcohol by volume is 70% (140 proof) or less 
  • The quantity does not exceed five litres per person for alcoholic beverages between 24% and 70% alcohol by volume 

Alcoholic beverages containing 24% alcohol or less are not subject to limitations on quantities.

Official security bags

These are sealed clear plastic bags with special security features that hold goods purchased from airline or airport retailers after security screening. They are designed to make it easier for you to carry liquids, aerosols and gels through screening.

Official security bags are used in several – but not all– countries around the world. Wherever you travel, check first to make sure your bag has the security features described above when you make your purchase. If it doesn’t, it will be rejected.

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