Cross-border shopping trips plummet, along with dollar

The latest figures from Canada Border Services Agency show a silver lining for the dropping Canadian dollar, with more Americans travelling to B.C.

The number of Americans crossing into B.C. jumps by 50 per day so far this month

The lineups are getting a little shorter for British Columbians who choose to cross the border to Washington. (Richard Lam/Canadian Press)

The latest figures from Canada Border Services Agency show a silver lining in the falling value of the Canadian dollar, with more Americans travelling to B.C.

CBSA figures show that so far this year, at B.C's busiest border crossing — the Douglas crossing into Blaine, Washington — an additional 50 travellers per day are crossing into Canada with American passports.

The reverse is true for Canadians who choose to cross-border shop. CBSA figures show a 12.5 per cent drop from this time last year.

Last January with the Canadian dollar at 90 cents U.S., nearly 9,000 Canadians travelled through the Douglas border crossing heading into Blaine every day.

Today, with the dollar below 80 cents, CBSA says the number is just 7,865 cars per day.

Canadian businesses happy

Businesses in B.C. welcome the news. Ken Peacock from the Business Council of B.C. says in 2012 cross-border shopping meant a loss of more than $1 billion to the province.

"I have heard anecdotes about Bellis Fair and other retailers down there being concerned and lamenting the drop in the currency."
"Winners will be some of the B.C. retailers in the Lower Mainland and those along the border."


with files from Richard Zussman


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