Low Canadian dollar dulls cross-border shopping in B.C.

The number of people from Metro Vancouver travelling to the US to shop has declined from a year ago, when the Canadian and American dollars were at par

B.C. retailers are asking Ottawa to drop tariffs and level the playing field

Canadians made 55 million trips to the U.S. in 2012 -- 33 million of those completed on the same day. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch )

Fewer British Columbians are crossing the border to shop since the Canadian dollar began its decline.

The polling company Insights West says only 61 per cent of people in Metro Vancouver are shopping in the United States now, compared to 74 per cent a year ago when the currencies were at par.

Despite the drop, about $2 billion Canadian dollars are still being spent outside the country.

Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman says retailers here cannot compete. 

"We have an 18 to 21 per cent increase in our costs of doing business in Canada because of these tariff rates," said Huberman.

She is calling on Ottawa drop the tariffs and level the playing field. 

The Canadian dollar was at 0.91 cents U.S. at 5:30 a.m. PT Tuesday.